The Kawakawa Business and Community Association, Far North District councillor Kelly Stratford, the police, St John and Chief Fire Officer Wayne Martin are united in supporting the call for a reduced speed limit on SH1 over Kawakawa's three bridges.

Northland rescue helicopter ambassador Alice Rule's petition also has the support of Northland MP Matt King, who said that even without the narrow bridges, having the reduction from 100km/h to 50km so close to the township and the entrance to a daycare centre was not ideal.

A motorcyclist died on the bridges earlier this year. Mr King said there was plenty of anecdotal evidence of accidents not included in official statistics.

He supported the petition, which had more than 2000 signatures. His own Facebook poll had attracted about 1700 responses, 66 per cent supporting a speed reduction.


Leigh Knightbridge, St John operations manager Far North territory, supported the petition.

"My staff are having to deal with horrific accidents on that piece of road far too often," she said.

Bay of Islands businessman Peter Heath, who opposes a reduced speed limit, remained to be persuaded.

" I get that 2000 people and all sorts of worthy organisations have expressed 'serious concern'. So show us data I have asked for. If the facts indicate that it would be helpful to reduce the speed limit there, then I will throw my support right behind the campaign," he said.

"But all too often as Northlanders we are subject to the 'serious concerns' of noisy minorities, and the rest of us just get to swallow whatever we're being fed. Matt should know better. National is the party of personal responsibility and light-touch government; it ill-behoves him to swing in behind such an egregious example of fact-free and zero-evidence nanny-statism."

Mr Heath also had serious concerns, including that lowering the speed limit over the bridges would add "yet another frustration" to the 16km of SH1 from Hautapu Rd to Waiomio Rd.

"This stretch is already painfully slow going, and already makes drivers impatient and prone to risk-taking," he said.

"Adding yet another frustration to this deadly mix would be irresponsible, in my view. Especially when no one seems able to prove that accidents there are being caused by people travelling between 80km/h and 100km/h.

"I speak for tens of thousands of conscientious Northland drivers when I say, show us the facts that support your campaign, and explain why my serious concerns are less valid than yours. Otherwise, please just leave our speed limit alone."

Ms Rule said she had launched the petition because she genuinely cared for the Northland community, and wanted to see the region's roads made safer.

"The number of injuries and fatalities on Northland roads is high and undeniable, as is often reported in the media, so I believe anything that can result in safer roads or mitigate risk is a good thing," she said. "I acknowledge that people are entitled to their own opinions around road safety and the petition, and ultimately, if there is an overwhelming majority against the petition, then it will most likely be withdrawn."

■Page 5 — A bigger agenda?