The speed limit on more than 30 rural roads in the Far North is set to drop by 40km/h and a handful of roads will have their limits slashed by 60km/h.
The speed limit reductions are part of the nationwide "Road to Zero" road safety strategy.
Similar changes are underway in the Whangārei and Kaipara districts.
In general, the new limits are 80km/h for sealed rural roads and 60km/h for unsealed roads, down from the existing 100km/h open road limit, with lower limits on narrow or windy roads and around schools.
Residents who made submissions about the plan have generally welcomed the new speed limits, though some say they don't go far enough and others want the council to upgrade roads instead.
State highways aren't included in the review — the NZ Transport Authority has been carrying out its own review of highway speeds — and the standard urban limit will remain at 50km/h.
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With so many roads to be considered, the Far North District Council is focussing on one area at a time, starting with almost 70 roads in the Ōkaihau-Kaeo-Waimate area.
That includes important routes such as Wiroa Rd, where the limit will drop to 60km/h in the increasingly built-up stretch between SH10 and Kerikeri airport and 80km/h thereafter, instead of the current 80km/h and 100km/h. The limit on Waimate North Rd will drop from 100km/h to a mix of 60km/h and 80km/h while Te Ahu Ahu Rd will go from 100km/h to 80km/h.
The plan drew 175 submissions when it went out for consultation in October.
Residents who spoke at the hearings included Keith Hawkins, who called for a lower limit on Waimate North Rd.
Hawkins said the road was gravel when he moved to the area in 2007 but since it was sealed about 10 years ago people had started using it as a route between Kerikeri and Kaikohe.
''Now they've found it's sealed they race right through. If the limit is 100 people will try to go 100 ... It's a shame, it's a very pretty road and very historic.''
Hawkins said several sections of the road were uncomfortable even at 80km/h so he welcomed the decision to set a split 80/60km/h limit.
The road, which was one of New Zealand's oldest, was also used by pedestrians but had no footpaths and in places not even a shoulder, he said.
Wiremu Tane, a kaumatua at Oromahoe Marae, is calling for an even greater reduction on Porotu Rd, a no-exit road off SH10 where the limit will drop from 100km/h to 60km/h.
The road is due to be sealed, news which Tane welcomed, but that could bring its own problems.
''We have hoons speeding up and down our road at times. If we have people speeding now, with the corrugations and dust, imagine what they'll do with seal.''
His chief concern was for the safety of children who walked along the road to Oromahoe School, as they had done for generations.
Tane called for a 50km/h limit with 30km/h outside the marae.
''I think 60 is still too fast. It's human nature that 60 is actually 70,'' he said.
The new limits were agreed at a council meeting on Thursday, which was held via Microsoft Teams and live-streamed to the public for the first time in the council's history.
It is not yet clear when the new limits will come into force. Contractors need to be engaged to install the new signs and Covid-19 restrictions may add delays.
The cost of replacing speed limit signs is estimated to be $190,000 to $300,000.
According to a council report, several submitters said the new limits would work only if they were properly enforced. Others worried that speeding fines had a disproportionate effect on low-income people.
Some called on the council to widen and improve roads instead of reducing speed limits. One submitter called for German-style autobahns which had no speed limit.
In response, council staff said better roads would be desirable but came at a significant cost. Even with government subsidies, the council's roading budget was limited.
Staff also noted that while the council set speed limits, police were responsible for enforcement. Fines did not go to the council or to police, but ended up in a general-purpose government fund.
The next areas in line for review are Kaitaia-Awaroa and Kohukohu-Broadwood because, according to the report, they have some of the highest-risk roads in the Far North.
That will followed by Kerikeri-Waipapa which includes the contentious Kapiro Rd, where residents have been campaigning for an 80km/h limit for years.
Councillor David Clendon said carrying out the speed review one area at a time would lead to anomalies.
The new speed limit on the Kerikeri end of Wiroa Rd would be 60km/h yet the more urbanised Kerikeri Rd would for now remain 80km/h, which could catch out unsuspecting drivers, he said.
Footpaths and other improvements will be added to Wiroa Rd at some point to make the 60km/h speed limit more self-explanatory.
Deputy mayor Ann Court successfully moved an amendment to have funding for those improvements considered in the next Regional Land Transport Plan.
The Whangārei District Council is also reviewing its speed limits one area at a time. It consulted on changes in the Marsden Pt-Waipu-Vinegar Hill areas last November. Whangārei Heads will be next.
Kaipara District Council's plans to start speed limit reviews in the Mangawhai-Kaiwaka area have been delayed by Covid-19.
The new speed limits by numbers
• The area considered so far by the Far North District Council for speed limit reductions includes 68 mostly rural roads or sections of road. It is bounded by SH10 to the east, SH1 in the south and Puketi Rd and Waiare Rd in the west, and is roughly the area between Ōkaihau, Kaeo and Waimate North.
• The speed limit will drop from 100km/h to 60km/h on 33 roads, from 100km/h to 80km/h on 16 roads and from 100km/h to 40km/h on nine roads. One road will drop from 80km/h to 60km/h and two will go up from 50km/h to 60km/h. Seven roads, mostly in the Waipapa commercial area, will stay at 50km/h.
• Speeds outside Springbank School (Kerikeri) and Te Rangi Aniwaniwa (Awanui) will be reduced to 60km/h from the current 100km/h while the limit on Oromahoe School Rd will drop to 40km/h.
• The next areas up for review are Kaitaia-Awaroa and Kohukohu-Broadwood followed by Kerikeri-Waipapa.
What's my limit?
If you road is part of the review area, you can look up the new speed limit here. The current limit is given first (in km/h), then the new limit. These figures are from a Far North District Council report and are correct to the best of our knowledge.
Amuri Rd: NA (private road)
Bullman Rd: 100 -> 60
Caprine Rd: 100 -> 40
Courthouse Ln: 100 -> 40
Daroux Dr: 100 -> 40
Glendale Hts: NA (private road)
Herbert Rd: 100 -> 40
Ironbark Rd: 100 -> 60
Jennings Rd: 100 -> 60
Jenkins Rd: 100 -> 60
Kahikatearoa Ln: 50 -> 50
Karaka Rd: 100 -> 40
Klinac Ln: 50 -> 50
Koranae Rd: 100 -> 60
Koropewa Rd: 100 -> 60
Lodore Rd: 100 -> 60
Lodore Rd East: 100 -> 60
Mangakaretu Rd (sealed): 100 -> 80
Mangakaretu Rd (unsealed): 100 -> 60
Manuwai Ln: 100 -> 40
Maritime Ln: 50 -> 50
McLeod Rd: 50 -> 60
Montrose Rd: 100 -> 60
Ness Rd: 100 -> 80
Ngapuhi Rd: 100 -> 60
Okokako Rd: 100 -> 60
Old Bay Rd: 100 -> 80
Old Valley Rd: 50 -> 60
Onekura Rd (from Pungaere Rd to Daroux Dr): 100 -> 80
Onekura Rd (from Daroux Dr to end): 100 -> 60
Oromahoe School Rd: 100 -> 40
Otaere Rd: 100 -> 60
Pataka Ln: 50 -> 50
Poplar Lane: 50 -> 50
Porotu Rd: 100 -> 60
Pukepoto Rd: 100 -> 60
Puketi Rd: 100 -> 60
Puketotara Rd (from SH10 to Mangakaretu Rd): 100 -> 80
Puketotara Rd (from Mangakaretu Rd to Waiare Rd): 100 -> 60
Pungaere Rd (from SH10 to Ngapuhi Rd): 100 -> 80
Pungaere Rd (from Ngapuhi Rd to Waiare Rd): 100 -> 60
Riverstream Dr: 100 -> 40
Sandys Rd (SH10 to No 238): 100 -> 80
Sandys Rd (No 238 to end): 100 -> 40
Saward Rd: 100 -> 60
Scott Rd: 100 -> 60
Shirley Rd: 100 -> 60
Signal Rd: 100 -> 60
Skippers Ln: 50 -> 50
Te Ahu Ahu Rd: 100 -> 80
Topps Access Rd: 100 -> 60
Tyree Rd: 100 -> 60
Upokorau Rd: 100 -> 40
Valencia Ln: 100 -> 60
Waiare Rd (from SH10 to Upokorau Rd): 100 -> 80
Waiare Rd (from Upokorau Rd to 50m north of Puketi Rd): 100 -> 60
Waiare Rd (from 50m north of Puketi Rd to SH1): 100 -> 80
Waikaramu Rd: 100 -> 60
Waikopiro Ln: 100 -> 60
Waikuku Rd: 100 -> 60
Waimate North Rd (from SH10 to Valencia Ln): 100 -> 60
Waimate North Rd (from Valencia Ln to No 660): 100 -> 80
Waimate North Rd (from No 660 to Te Ahu Ahu Rd): 100 -> 60
Waipapa Loop Rd: 50 -> 50
Waipapa West Rd: 100 -> 80
Wehirua Rd: 100 -> 80
Whakataha Rd: 100 -> 60
Wiroa Rd (from SH10 to 50m past airport): 80 -> 60
Wiroa Rd (from 50m past airport to Waiare Rd): 100 -> 80