Dangerous driving on Horowhenua's beaches will not be tolerated and people need to remember road rules apply, police say.

All beaches with public vehicle access are considered public roads, which means the road rules still apply, even if there is no signage.

In Horowhenua, driving is allowed on the whole coastline, with a 30km/h speed limit for all areas.

The limit was reduced from the open road speed of 100 km/h after a unanimous vote by the Horowhenua District Council just over a year ago.


Originally a proposal for 60km/h had been made, but this had been altered after the Foxton Beach Volunteer Warden Group, headed by councillor Ross Brannigan, made a submission that reducing the limit to 60km/h did not go far enough, and the default speed should be 30km/h.

Mr Brannigan outlined the group's rationale for the suggested change, saying that whenever someone drove on the beach, it became a road, which allowed the Land Transport Act to become enforceable.

In his prior experience as a police officer, he said people tended to drive at 10km/h above the speed limit anyway, so 30km/h provided a "buffer".

He hoped the change would reduce irresponsible behaviour on the beach, although some Hokio Beach residents have posted on social media recently that they are still seeing dangerous driving on their beach, including vehicles driving on and destroying the sand dunes.

A report by the Coastal Restoration Trust says there is "clear and irrefutable evidence from New Zealand and overseas experience that the use of vehicles on beaches can cause adverse environmental and social effects".

The report stated that many of the activities vehicle owners access beaches for, including fishing, boat launching, recreation and sightseeing, might be benign on their own, but that they contribute to a cumulative negative effect on the environment.

Dunes in particular are vulnerable to destruction by vehicles, yet they are vital to beach ecosystems, the report said.

Anyone who witnesses dangerous driving or vehicles exceeding beach speed limits should call police or dial *555.