New NZTA CEO just what NZ needs

The appointment of Nicole Rosie as NZTA CEO is exactly what New Zealand needs to reduce our dreadful road toll and improve transport choice, says MOVEMENT Spokesperson and Transport Planner Bevan Woodward.

"Her experience of leading Worksafe NZ should greatly assist NZTA adopt the Safety First approach to transport management. This is long overdue and is highlighted not only by our appalling road fatalities and serious injuries, but our fear of walking and cycling in New Zealand.

We look forward to NZTA adopting the Safety First approach, just as every other industry sector within NZ has. By making our roads safer, our road toll will reduce and more New Zealanders will be able to walk and cycle. The benefits are widespread and hugely significant; including reduced traffic congestion, a healthier population, more liveable communities, less pollution and lower carbon emissions".

NZTA adopting "safety first" approach, just like every other industry sector?

We welcome the findings of the Martin Jenkins report into the failings of NZTA to deliver a safe roading environment, says MOVEMENT Spokesperson and Transport Planner Bevan Woodward.

“It’s hard to believe but NZTA don’t even have a Road Safety Audit procedure.  In 2013 they released a guideline which was “an interim release to operate for a trial period”.   Since then nothing has been released by NZTA.

Despite an independent MoT review advising that NZTA needed to be more proactive on safer speed limits, NZTA’s subsequent Speed Management Guide takes the approach that there is “no quick fix to our road safety challenges” and it is “not calling for sweeping changes”.

Since then NZTA has constantly pushed back against community demands for safer speed limits.

We look forward to NZTA adopting the “safety first” approach, just as every other industry sector within NZ has.  By making our roads safer, more people will be able to walk and cycle.  The benefits from this are well known and hugely significant.”

Wheelie bin stickers for safe streets

We love 30 km/h!  Spread the word with our wheelie bin stickers.  Just $3 each plus $4 postage. 

Stickers are long lasting for outdoor application. Designed and printed in NZ.   Please order & pay online here:

Sticker size is aprox 235mm x 205mm

Pedestrian Crossing confusion!

Why are New Zealand Traffic Engineers so reluctant to provide safe pedestrian crossing facilities?

MOVEMENT's Bevan Woodward gave this presentation to the NZ Walking & Cycling Conference in August in which he addresses:

  • What’s happening overseas in countries with far better road safer and higher active transport mode share?
  • Why is so hard to get pedestrian crossings installed in NZ?
  • What can we do in NZ to improve the situation?

He recommends:

  1. Engineers mustn’t lead the design process."If you plan cities for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic. If you plan for people and places, you get people and places." Fred Kent, from the Project for Public Spaces
  2. Replace the Benefit-Cost Ratio approach used by NZTA - it is an arbitrary, selective and corrupted adaptation of the corporate world's BCR model to maximise profit
  3. Adopt international best practice
    • Adopt a “Safety-first” approach per Vision Zero. In particular… embrace safer speed environments with liberal application of pedestrian crossings
    • Improve the signage for crossings
    • Raised table zebra crossings (Wombat crossings) are safe and low cost

Time for NZTA to get on with safer speed limits

All around the country we’re seeing communities demand safer speed limits,  as people realise that 100 km/h for an undivided rural road just isn’t safe and urban speed limits must come down – but NZTA is unwilling to get on with safer speed limits.

Here is a selection on recent media reports:

Delays to reducing Atawhai speed limit upset councillors: The speed limit on a dangerous stretch of Nelson’s State Highway 6 through Atawhai is still potentially years away frustrating councillors who say the delay is “ridiculous”.

Frustration with NZTA over delayed speed limit review for Marlborough roads

“Another crash, another frustrated response” over the lack of action to make one of State Highway 2’s crash-prone intersections in the Wairarapa safer.  Carterton Mayor John Booth  says “Thankfully we haven’t had a fatal, but that is a high speed area through there. It’s still 100kmh and I’m desperately concerned about the NZTA not addressing this.”

Residents renew demands for lower speed limit along State Highway 1 at Rangitata.following crash.

The mayors of Waimate District and  Mackenzie District Councils are fed up and embarrassed by NZTA’s lack of action on safer speed limits.

More than 2000 people sign petition to have NZTA lower the speed limit at Kawakawa’s notorious Three Bridges.  Residents of Waitati  in Otago have petitioned NZTA for a safer speed limit of 70 km/h.  Waitahanui on Lake Taupo is petitioning NZTA for a safer speed limit.

Recent crashes in Grovetown, Marlborough have residents asking NZTA what came of their requests for a safer limit?

Western Bay of Plenty District Mayor Garry Webber says it is frustrating to delay council’s review of speed limits but this is due to “so much uncertainty around NZTA’s timing” on its SH 2 speed limit review – which NZTA had previously said would be completed in 2018.

In Pareora, near Timaru, NZTA has dismissed residents’ concerns about a stretch of road which over a 10-year period, has seen three fatal crashes, four serious crashes, five minor injury crashes and 16 non-injury crashes.

In South Canterbury, rural mayors want safer rural road speeds of 80km/h but advise “NZTA has been reluctant to act previously”. A situation that remains unchanged today.

In Southland, NZTA is relunctant to consider the community requests for safer speeds limits, claiming that these roads are outside of New Zealand’s  top 10%  “high benefit” speed management opportunities. What this means is that people must die before NZTA will consider safer speed limits.

In Glenavy, Waimate Mayor Craig Rowley is “sick and tired” of NZTA’s lack of action about a situation he describes as an accident waiting to happen..

In Kerikeri, local residents became so frustrated by lack of action that they reduced the speed limits to 80 km/h themselves.

Tauranga and Katikati, on State Highway 2 – the highest death toll of state highways – the residents want 80 km/h: “It feels like there’s a crash every other day on this road” , “How many people need to die before it becomes a priority?”

Residents are disappointed that NZTA has ruled out safer speed limits in Burkes Pass.

In Port Chalmers a local residents have had to petition and get a Council resolution requesting NZTA to implement a safer speed limit.

Even NZTA’s own research that most New Zealanders agree that our roads would be safer if we all drove a little slower, and they understand lower speed limits reduce road trauma (see NZTA research report 563: Safer speeds: public acceptance and compliance, December 2014)

And back in 2004, NZTA recognised that safer speeds on our rural roads were needed: “80km/h limit likely on dodgy NZ highways” but they failed to act.

Tragically,  NZTA’s nationwide ongoing reluctance to implement safer speed limits is killing us.

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.

Comparison between
Northern Europe and NZ

Northern Europe

New Zealand

Urban street speed limits

30 – 40 km/h

50 km/h

Rural road speed limits (one lane each way, minimal shoulder)

60 – 80 km/h

Mostly 100 km/h

Road deaths per 100,000 population pa:



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.

We encourage all New Zealanders to make a quick submission4 for a safety-first approach to Speed Limits by 5pm, Friday June 16.”


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:

Time for a "safety first" approach to speed limits

We made this submission to the Ministry of Transport for a “safety first” approach to speed limit setting. Please help this campaign by writing a letter of support to our Minister of Transport.

We are excited to see the new direction for road safety by the  Government in this letter from Minister Genter to all Councils.

Police make case for 80 km/h on our rural roads

Great to see in today’s NZ Herald…  NZ Police road policing team operations manager Inspector Peter McKennie putting the case for safer speed limits of 80 km/h on our rural roads:

McKennie says many of the countries our tourists come from have better engineered roads than ours, with more finely tuned speed limits for every portion of road.

For instance, our open roads are typically set to 100km regardless of road type, but in other parts of the world difficult sections of open road, such as winding areas, would be set to 80km instead.

“A lot of people complain because visiting drivers drive slowly and hold up traffic but quite often they are just driving at the safe and appropriate speed for the engineering of the road,” he says.

“New Zealand drivers are used to driving faster on those roads, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that those speeds are safe and appropriate for the engineering of the roads.”

This isn’t just a safer approach but a more logical one, he says. “If you are driving 80 kilometres an hour as opposed to 100 kilometres an hour, on winding roads there is probably a time difference of five minutes for every 100 kilometres you travel.”

Plus, if you drive at a slower, more steady speed you’ll save fuel too.

NZ Herald: Safe or not? The truth about tourist drivers

Media Release: Calling on Councils to implement safer rural speed limits

We’ve written to every Council in New Zealand asking them to consider implementing safer speed limits on the rural roads used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders; in particular those roads used by

Te Araroa Trail
• New Zealand Cycle Trail ‘Great Rides’ (and connecting roads)
• New Zealand Cycle Trail ‘Heartland rides
Tour Aotearoa
Horse trekking routes
• School bus routes

See our media release here.

New direction for Transport spending

The new Government has announced a change in priorities for funding of transport for the next 3 years. Active transport, public transport. safety, health and environment will become more important.

We commend the Government on this new direction, which is reinforced in this letter from Minister Genter to all Councils