Time for traffic speeds that put New Zealanders’ safety first

NZTA is updating the country’s speed-limit setting rule but is unwilling to put New Zealanders' safety first.

Instead NZTA continues to require that speed limits be a compromise between safety and efficiency1

This has resulted in New Zealand having the highest traffic speeds and worst rates of road deaths amongst OECD nations.2

Patrick Morgan of Cycling Action Network says ‘We have been very impressed by the Government’s recent investment in cycle trails and pathways which is getting more Kiwis active. However traffic speeds are a major concern for us.

’In the last 12 months, 37 pedestrians and 10 cyclists have been killed on NZ roads2, that’s a 60% increase over the previous 12 months which demands our urgent attention.

’Countries such as Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, Norway and Denmark have urban and rural speed limits lower that New Zealand, this is a key reason why their road deaths per capita are half ours. And instead of reducing efficiency, it can be argued their safer speeds improve efficiency due to fewer crashes, intersections flow more smoothly and more people feel safe to choose walking and cycling.’

Andy Smith of Living Streets Aotearoa says ‘We can save lives by reducing traffic speeds, to quote Auckland Transport ‘Speed is the single biggest road safety issue in NZ today.'3

’Hence we’re urging NZTA to amend their draft Setting of Speed Limits rule to require speed limits that are ‘safe as is reasonably practicable given the road function, design, users and the surrounding land use’. This aligns with NZ's Health and Safety in the Workplace legislation, NZTA’s Speed Management Guide, and will help reduce our appalling road toll.


CAN encourages all New Zealanders to make a quick submission for a safety-first approach to Speed Limits by 5pm, Friday June 16.’4



1 Definitions, Part 2 of the proposed Setting of Speed Limits Rule [2017] requirement to optimise “efficiency outcomes”

2 Source:

3 Auckland Transport’s website:


4 Submissions can be made online here: NZTA Consultation page 




Release Date: 
Thursday, 15 June, 2017