Lowering The Road Toll Starts With Better Rural Roads

10 January 2017

After a horrific number of road deaths over Christmas, New Zealand First says provincial New Zealand is sick and tired of being the Cinderella when it comes to safer roads.

“All the $13.6m in revenue that speed cameras raised in the 10-months to 7 November 2016 should be put towards better rural roads,” says New Zealand First Deputy Leader and Police Spokesperson Ron Mark. 

“We can add the $32m that the NZTA spent last year on its ‘award winning’ commercials, because what is needed here, is serious investment into median barriers, road engineering, ensuring that tourist drivers are competent to drive and getting road freight back onto rail.

“Most of the deaths over Christmas and New Year occurred on rural roads and the bureaucratic answer is to blame speed but what about making our roads safer?   

“It is not as if we don’t have the money with the NZTA spending $13.9bn between 2015 and 2018.  Yet Auckland and Wellington, which have less than 10% of New Zealand local roads, get about 40% of the NZTA’s total spending.

“Provincial New Zealand deserves a fair-go because that’s where 90% of New Zealand’s local roads are, that’s where the exports come from and that’s where the tourists go. Yet 31,428 kilometres remain unsealed and there are over 7,000 one-way bridges too. 

“The National Party have made cuts to the Funding Assistance Rates (FARs) to rural roads and the One Road Network proposals which are all about making more money available for their Roads of National Significance by reducing the funding to rural roads through a mix of policy change and outright cuts.

“Since 2010 National has also made it harder for younger Kiwis to get a driver’s license, it has confusingly meddled with blood alcohol levels and it continues to back the failed experiment of low speed tolerances during holiday periods.

“Let’s ditch the P.R. spin make our rural roads better and safer,” says Mr Mark.