The kids will be at school – so let’s check what the speed limit is just now and be sure we know when we can legally quicken the pace

The wellbeing of our young ones is high in considerations in the Beehive today. More bureaucracy comes into it, too, at first glimpse.

The Government is proposing “to make it easier” for local communities to set safe speed limits around schools to help kids get to and from school safely

But much speed-management planning will be required which (we imagine) can only mean more paper work.

Improved wellbeing would be the aim of other new initiatives – 

  • To make our borders even safer, the Government has created a new ‘very high risk country’ category that (it claims) will significantly reduce the number of infected people flying to New Zealand. The new category kicks in from 11.59pm on 28 April. Countries have initially been designated very high risk where there have been more than 50 cases of COVID-19 per 1000 arrivals to New Zealand from those countries in 2021, and where there are more than 15 travellers on average per month. India, Brazil, Papua New Guinea and Pakistan now meet that threshold.
  • Housing Minister Megan Woods has opened a 167 unit apartment in Auckland’s Glen Eden and 83 transitional homes in Ōtahuhu.

Fair to say, the improved wellbeing of Kiwis -all of us or some of us – to some extent is the aim of other statements: 

  • The former Chief Executive of Manukau City Council, Leigh Auton, has been appointed as Independent Chair of the Auckland Light Rail Establishment Unit “to engage with Aucklanders and take the project forward”. Rather than backwards, we are pleased to note.  
  • The Government has refined the Terms of Reference to ensure the Royal Commission into Historical Abuse (established in 2018) delivers its final report in 2023. The changes are – 
    • Allowing the Royal Commission a small extension of up to five months to give it time to complete its final report back by June 2023,
    • Moving the due date forward to October 2021 for its report on redress for survivors of historical abuse and how the redress process can be improved, so Government can move more quickly to make improvements, and
    • Narrowing the Royal Commission’s scope by removing the requirement for it to look at modern-day care policy settings to avoid duplication with other reviews already underway, and so it can focus on the causes, extent and nature of historical abuse in care.

On the road safety issue, Transport Minister Michael Wood said he receives correspondence from teachers, parents, local councils and MPs asking for safer speeds outside schools. 

The changes are proposed in the draft Setting of Speed Limits Rule 2021, intended to improve the way the NZ Transport Agency and regions plan and implement proposed speed management changes with communities. They would be required to produce speed management plans which set out all proposed changes, including the placement of safety cameras on high risk routes and infrastructure upgrades over a 10 year period.

This includes making streets outside schools safer by requiring speed limits around urban schools to be reduced to 30km/h, or to a maximum of 40 km/h where appropriate, and to a maximum of 60 km/h around rural schools.

“There’s flexibility in these proposals and the lower new limits could only apply during school travel periods using variable speed limit signs, depending on what works best for local schools and communities.”

Hmm.  It sounds like “flexibility” means motorists may quicken the pace through a designated area, or slow down, depending on the time of day.  Clever, eh?

But the government isn’t breaking any speed limits on this one: 

“We want these safer speed limits around schools to be implemented at the most dangerous places quickly, so we’re proposing an initial 40 per cent of changes to be completed by mid-2024 and the remaining by 2030.

“The proposed rule changes  will bring together infrastructure investment decision-making with speed management planning and the placement of safety cameras on the highest risk routes. Plans would then be updated and consulted on every three years, giving communities the opportunity to have an ongoing say into what works best for their streets,” Michael Wood said.

We are reminded that tackling unsafe speeds is one of the priority actions in Road to Zero, New Zealand’s road safety strategy which aims to reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads by 40 per cent.

Following public consultation, the Setting of Speed Limits Rule will be finalised and is expected to be in place by the end of 2021. 

Waka Kotahi is responsible for reviewing and setting speed limits on state highways, while local councils review and set speed limits on local roads.

The Setting of Speed Limits Rule 2021, which is now open for public consultation, aims to improve the process for setting speed limits and planning for safety infrastructure on New Zealand roads.

Public consultation ends Friday 25 June, 2021. To find out more about the Setting of Speed Limits Rule and to share your view, go to:

Our readers can find out more about the Tackling Unsafe Speeds programme or New Zealand’s Road to Zero road safety strategy at …

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