No need for blanket approach for speed limits, Transport Minister says

The transport minister is defending the government’s plans to reverse blanket speed reductions, saying the government is taking a “balanced approach”.

The government wants to scrap blanket reductions – introduced under Labour at the start of 2020 – on suburban streets, arterial roads and state highways by July 2025.

The proposal will also allow limits of up to 120 kilometres per hour on new roads of national significance built to accommodate that speed.

The new legislation was set to be introduced by the end of September, with public consultation closing this Thursday.

The government argued that the change would boost productivity and economic growth.

Former chief science adviser for the Ministry of Transport, Simon Kingham, has criticised the proposal, saying it will increase the number of road casualties and injuries, deaths by air pollution, as well as increase greenhouse gas emissions.

Simeon Brown told RNZ the government had taken a balanced approach to the issue after a cost-benefit analysis, and that there would be safety measures in place.

“We’re ensuring that there are going to be slower speed limits around schools, we’ll be mandating slower speed limits during pick up and drop off times to ensure young New Zealanders are kept safe… but it makes absolutely no sense to make a shift worker going to work at 4am in the morning, have to crawl around the streets at 30 kilometres per hour in their car when there’s no one else walking along the road,” he said.

“We need a balanced approach to this issue rather than slowing people down.”

Brown said there was strong evidence to show that New Zealand did not need a blanket approach on speed limits.

Rather it needed a policy that allowed for rigorous cost benefit analysis, and a targeted approach to where there were safety risks, he said.

Meanwhile, some councils have voiced concerns over the government’s proposal.

Councils in Marlborough and Tauranga were pushing ahead with speed reductions, but Christchurch City councillors have expressed concern.

Just last week, Auckland Council’s transport and infrastructure committee voted overwhelmingly – 18 votes to three – to oppose the government’s directive.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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