The petition calling for a reduced speed limit on SH1 north of Kawakawa over the famous three bridges is based on "shonky" data, according to Bay of Islands businessman Peter Heath.

Northland rescue helicopter ambassador and Pakaraka dairy farmer Alice Rule launched the online petition on February 5, saying two people had died there, and three had been critically injured within the previous three months.

Mr Heath, however, claimed that Northland MP Matt King, who was "fronting" the petition, had admitted that he had no official statistics to support the argument that an 80km/h speed limit would make the road safer, while Ms Rule was using examples of accidents many kilometres away to make the case for the change.

Mr King's admission that he only had anecdotal evidence from locals about accidents and vehicles crashing off the road that "never make the government statistics" made the campaign sound "a bit shonky".


"All I'm asking is that Matt, Alice, and the other folk involved let us have the data," Mr Heath said.

"If the facts support the call to make our commutes even longer than they already are, then that's fine.

"But if not, then the political push behind this campaign just becomes local vote-seeking at the expense of the rest of us, doesn't it?"

Meanwhile, responses to media coverage about the campaign, and on social media, suggested far from universal support for a reduced speed limit.

'Yay, more yellow paint, orange plastic sticks and 80kph signs, let's solve the inadequate drivers with them,' one post said. 'Reducing the speed limit won't solve anything much. We should have a brand new bridge put in place there. It should be a priority,' said another. Mr Heath agreed.

"I am not opposed to this campaign because I like to speed or because being forced to slow down over that single individual stretch is going to make my life immeasurably more difficult," he said. "I am opposed because I fear it will add yet another frustration to the 16km Hautapu Rd to Waiomio Rd stretch, which is already painfully slow going, and which already makes drivers impatient and prone to taking a chance.

"Adding yet another frustration to this deadly mix would be irresponsible, in my view. Especially when no one seems able to point to any real data that show the need for such a move."

He had asked Mr King and Labour list MP Willow-Jean Prime, who was also reportedly backing the campaign, for data showing the proportion of accidents at the three bridges over recent years caused by people travelling between 80-100km/h while observing the road code.


"My bet is that there won't be many. So where is the sense in clamping down on them? Stick a traffic camera up there to catch the idiots by all means, but once you start cutting our speed limit on less than perfect stretches of road, where are you going to stop, especially in Northland?"