Govt to reverse speed limit reductions, propose 120km/h limits

In News4 MinutesBy Gavin MyersJune 13, 2024

The Coalition Government says it will reverse Labour’s blanket speed limit reductions by 1 July 2025, through a new Land Transport Rule released for public consultation this week.

Transport Minister Simeon Brown said the draft speed limit rule will deliver on the National-ACT coalition commitment to reverse the previous government’s blanket speed limit reductions. It will ensure that when speed limits are set, economic impacts – including travel times – and the views of road users and local communities are taken into account, alongside safety.

The draft speed limit rule will impose a speed limit of 110km/h on new and existing roads of national significance, if they are built to a high standard.

It will also allow for limits of up to 120km/h on roads of national significance that are built to accommodate that speed.

“With the delivery of Roads of National Significance, New Zealand roads are safer than they have ever been before. Safe road infrastructure should be enabling higher speed limits, not slower ones,” said Brown.

The rule will require speed limits that have been reduced since 1 January 2020 to be reversed on local streets, arterial roads, and state highways. It will also require variable speed limits outside schools during pick up and drop off times.

National Road Carriers has welcomed the announcement, saying raised speed limits will make goods delivery faster.

“Setting speed limits for Roads of National Significance of up to 120km/h and reversing speed limits for local streets, arterial roads and state highways will help to reduce travel times and therefore labour costs for freight operators and speed up the delivery of goods to stores and consumers,” said NRC chief executive Justin Tighe-Umbers.

“In some cases it will mean operators will be able to extend the length of trips before having to make compulsory rest stops – which will be a game-changer,” he said.

Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand has also welcomed the decision to reverse the speed limit reductions, saying a one-size fits all approach to speed limits makes no sense.

“While speed limit changes won’t directly affect trucks, which are limited to 90kph maximum throughout New Zealand, more free-moving traffic will benefit all road users,” said Transporting New Zealand interim CEO Dom Kalasih.

He says Transporting New Zealand still supports lower speed limits in areas of high crash histories, and maintaining variable speed limits outside schools during pick up and drop off times.

“But where roads are built to a high standard, such as Transmission Gully in Wellington and the Waikato Expressway, 110 kph for cars seems absolutely sensible.”

Kalasih said there’s no great interest within the freight industry to lift the maximum speed for heavy trucks.

“One reason is the safety factor for our drivers and other road users, and the other is that fuel use really starts going up over that 90 kph mark.”

He says the move to drop road speeds, often against the advice of roading engineers, has been frustrating to a lot of people, and caused confusion to drivers.

The speed limit changes are out for public consultation. Feedback can be provided on the rule at