Thursday, December 7, 2023

National to scrap blanket road speed reductions

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Pakuranga MP and National Party transport spokesperson Simeon Brown. Times file photo Chris Harrowell

A National Government will undo Labour’s blanket speed limit reductions, returning many state highways to a top speed of 100km/h.

The party’s transport spokesperson, Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown, says the change would see many local roads go from 30km/h to 50km/h, while new highways would have a 110km/h speed limit.

“Under the guise of safety, Labour has exposed its anti-car ideology by slowing down New Zealanders going about their daily lives.

“All around the country, Labour has cut speeds on many highways from 100km/h to 80km/h by ignoring economic impacts including travel times, and by giving insufficient weight to road users’ and local communities’ views.

“National will repeal and replace the rules that set speed limits so that economic impacts, including travel times, and the views of road users and local communities count, alongside safety.

“We anticipate this resulting in highways going back to 100km/h speed limits, except where it would be unsafe to do so.

“Similarly, we’ll restore local roads to 50km/h from 30km/h, except where that would be unsafe. 

“It makes no sense to have roads that can safely accommodate higher speed limits, only to require motorists to drive more slowly.

“The reductions which were part of Labour’s expensive ‘Road to Zero’ road safety campaign, have not worked. The road toll was 350 in 2019 when ‘Road to Zero’ was introduced, and it rose to 374 last year.”

Brown says alcohol and drug use is the top contributor to road fatalities.

“National will encourage police to increase the use of breath testing and we will fix roadside drug testing legislation so police can effectively test drivers for drugs.

“We will also reduce the use of road cones and limit temporary speed restrictions where they are not justified.

“Temporary traffic management keeps roadside workers and motorists safe during construction or maintenance activities.

“However, excessive use of road cones and speed limit reductions – sometimes left in force when work is complete – simply slow traffic and frustrate drivers, without improving safety.”

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