Rotorua Daily Post health and business reporter

Speed cameras aren't working, literally

Te Ngae Rd speed camera. Photo / Stephen Parker
Te Ngae Rd speed camera. Photo / Stephen Parker

None of the fixed speed cameras in Rotorua, and much of the rest of the country, are working.

Police have confirmed, as a result of a Rotorua Daily Post inquiry, fixed speed camera boxes at 45 sites around the country have not had working cameras inside, some for more than a year.

Police announced in 2013 plans to replace the speed cameras with digital fixed cameras but so far, only 12 of the new cameras have been installed - in Wellington and Auckland.

In Rotorua, the Sunset Rd camera, which once issued more than 3000 tickets a year, hasn't issued a ticket since the end of 2014 because of the "outdated technology".

The Sunset Rd camera - the only fixed camera to have operated in Rotorua in the past five years - issued 6589 tickets between 2011 and 2014 but hasn't worked since.

Road policing national operations manager Inspector Peter McKennie said police were transitioning to the new fixed cameras at selected sites around New Zealand as the old cameras had reached the end of their working life.

Mr McKennie said 12 new cameras had been installed at sites in Auckland and Wellington that were deemed a high risk of speed-related crashes, but police were still working on identifying appropriate sites for cameras in other parts of the country.

"For many years there have been 12 fixed speed cameras using wet film technology in operation around New Zealand, and these were rotated around 45 different camera sites according to risk. However, due to their age, these are now no longer operating and new digital cameras are being rolled out."

Mr McKennie said removing the old cameras and their infrastructure was considered a "lower priority" and the focus was on installing new technology at selected sites.

"A decision was therefore made to leave the old cameras in place in the interim, until a decommissioning plan could be finalised. That work is ongoing."

He said in areas where the old cameras were still in place police were enforcing speed limits through additional measures such as officer enforcement and the use of mobile speed cameras, with 43 currently in operation nationally.

None of these cameras  have issued tickets in the past five years.
None of these cameras have issued tickets in the past five years.

Bay of Plenty road policing manager Brent Crowe said police and road safety partners were working to identify sites where the new technology could be best placed, based on crash risk.

"This process is ongoing, and includes an assessment of Rotorua's roading network.

"The purpose of the project is to encourage motorists to drive at safe speeds, which will further prevent death and injury on Bay of Plenty roads."

He said as old cameras were removed and new technology was installed the police would continue to monitor speed in those areas using mobile speed cameras and police patrols.

Sunset Primary School Neils Rasmussen wasn't aware the Sunset Rd camera had been non-operational for so long, and said the majority of people probably assumed it was working.

He said the camera was installed to encourage motorists to slow down in front of the school.

Mr Rasmussen said speeds outside the school varied but it was quite easy for people to pick up speed heading down the hill. He said he found it reassuring to know the camera was there.

"Of course I would really like to see it working."

It was unclear from the police response when the fixed speed cameras at Old Taupo Rd, Malfroy Rd and Te Ngae Rd stopped working, but none have issued tickets in the past five years.

- Additional reporting Kelly Makiha

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