While reduced speed limits on Hastings roads have caused a backlash from road users, John McNally is concerned about a speed limit increase on a difficult road he travels on.

Mr McNally was confused to see the speed limit of Richmond Rd raised from 70km/h to 80km/h as part of the introduction of a "safer speed area".

Mr McNally, who lives in Napier and commutes to Hastings to run a backpackers, noticed the change occurred directly before a "tight bend".

Only 50m from the new 80km/h speed limit sign, another sign indicated a suggested speed of 45km/h to navigate the bend. After the bend there was a median strip for traffic turning right into the Wattie's Factory and the remainder of Richmond Rd had two other bends not suited to an 80km/h limit, Mr McNally said.


"It's ironic that the raised speed limit was part of incorporating that stretch of the road into a safer speed area. I don't know what a safer speed area constitutes."

Hastings District Council transportation manager Jag Pannu said the 10km/h speed limit rise along this "short piece of road" was "required to provide better consistency with the overall Safer Speed Area which was set at 80km/h".

There has also been much debate about the reduction of many Hastings roads' speed limits from 100km/h to 80km/h.

Hawke's Bay Today readers have expressed anger at the speed-limit reductions.

"It took me so long to get home doing this goofy new 80km/h that the missus threw my dinner out to the dog," said one reader.

"Good one HDC [Hastings District Council]," said another, "now we can expect bad drivers to travel at 65-75km/h and really slow things up, like productivity."

From March 17, the Hastings District Council oversaw the reduction of 31 roads' speed limits, introducing a new Safe Speed Area covering about 58km of the Hastings roading network in the Heretaunga Plains area.

The area represented about 3 per cent of the district's total roading network but was the scene of 32 per cent of the fatal crashes in the past five years.


The increase in the speed limit of Richmond Rd was one of four cases in which speed limits were raised in order to accommodate the introduction of the safer speed areas. The other roads with raised speed limits were Pakowhai Rd, Evenden Rd and Blackburn Rd.

Pakowhai Rd had seen an increase of 70km/h to 80km/h from a point 230m northeast of its intersection with Evenden Rd to a point 195m northeast of its intersection with Richmond Rd.

Mr McNally said in this instance the raise was justified, because before March 17, road users had experienced a speed limit change of 50km/h to 70km/h before the Evenden Rd turnoff and of 70km/h to 100km/h after the turnoff. Now, the limit was 50km/h before Evenden Rd and 80km/h after.

Senior Sergeant Greg Brown said the majority of the changes were from 100km/h down to 80km/h.

"This raise in the case of Richmond and Pakowhai roads was about consistency of travel. It is inconsistent for a road user to go from 100km/h, to 70km/h and back to 100km/h."

A list of the roads included in the Hastings Safe Speed Area is available at myvoicemychoice.co.nz/new-lower-speed-limits