Two Hawke's Bay MPs say they're not necessarily opposed to speed limit drops on the Napier-Taupō Rd, but the current proposal is "simplistic" and more investment to maintain the road and prevent deaths is needed.
Napier MP Stuart Nash and Tukituki MP Anna Lorck made a joint submission to Waka Kotahi NZTA on the State Highway 5 speed review, which proposes an 80km an hour speed limit on 83km of road between Eskdale and Rangataiki.
The review was extended by four weeks to June 6.
The pair called the SH5 crash statistics "appalling" and said they "completely buy in" to NZTA's vision for zero road deaths.
"The fundamental premise behind this strategy is that drivers do make mistakes. However, if our roads are designed and engineered in a more forgiving way, then the number of fatal road accidents by drivers who make a mistake will drop significantly.
"However, this principle does not seem to have been applied to the maintenance plan as outlined for SH5."
Lorck and Nash wrote in their submission that the probability of a driver dying when they 'get it wrong' increases, and as such they are seeking to advocate for a "much more sustainable and complete maintenance plan for SH5".
"The limit of Waka Kotahi's recommendation for SH5 'improvement' is mainly focused on lowering speeds to 80km for 83km of the road from Eskdale to Rangitaiki. That's it.
"We are not necessarily against this if it is part of an overall plan to reduce road deaths.
"However, we are, as Hawke's Bay's local Members of Parliament, strongly advocating on behalf of our constituents and everyone we have spoken to and who has contacted us, who is rightly against such a simplistic approach as a single measure."
They agreed with feedback received from the community that areas such as Te Pohue, Te Haroto and Tarawera could benefit from a speed reduction.
But they are also "backing" other regional leaders who have voiced disappointment at the proposal and how it had been handled so far.
"We must seek to re-engineer our roads in a way that forgives those who make poor decisions: it might not stop road crashes but it will save people's lives."
Emma Speight, Waka Kotahi director of regional relationships, said in order to reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads, major shifts in speed, road improvement and driver education are all needed.
"It's not a matter of choosing one solution over another. We need to take action in all of these areas.
"That's why $2.5 million has been secured for safety improvements on SH5, which will be implemented over the next four months, including side barriers, road markings and rumble lines. This is on top of a $16 million maintenance programme for Hawke's Bay state highways.
"Even when speed isn't the direct cause of a crash, it is a factor in the severity of every crash. It is most often what determines whether a person is killed, seriously injured or walks away from a crash.
"Lowering speeds doesn't mean we can't make other changes but it is one of the most effective things we can do now to keep people alive and safe on these roads."