The opportunity to have your say on Waka Kotahi's planned speed review for Northland's State Highway network will be possible from mid-May, the roading agency says.
Waka Kotahi announced late last week that school zones and local townships were now the focus of Northland's speed review which opens for public consultation next month.
Starting on May 17, public consultation will present the next stage of the roading agency's campaign to set safer speeds along 707km of Northland's state highway network.
This will equate to 11 corridors in Te Tai Tokerau Northland and Tāmaki Makaurau north Auckland region, Waka Kotahi said.
In February, the Government officially launched its Road to Zero public awareness campaign promoting its target of zero deaths and serious injuries on New Zealand's roads by 2050.
The controversial speed review has come under fire from many across the region, with the Northland Age reporting last week how the National Party had launched a petition to stop the "blanket speed review" of the state highway network.
Waka Kotahi confirmed in its announcement regarding the review process, however, that proposals would not apply any blanket speed limits to Northland roads.
Instead, each corridor of the network would be divided into sections, and in this first stage, would primarily focus on schools and townships.
According to Waka Kotahi, in the 10 years from 2011-2020, 160 people were killed and 734 suffered serious injuries in crashes across the 11 corridors.
"We're proposing lower speed limits outside schools, where we know our tamariki are vulnerable at busy school drop-off and pick-up times," director of regional relationships Steve Mutton said.
"The feedback we received during the engagement phase last year showed there was community support for keeping students safe, often in areas where there are now increased traffic volumes and development."
Mutton said Waka Kotahi had also received support for reduced speeds through townships where there were varied road users, including pedestrians.
"Everyone should be able to get where they're going safely, whether they're walking, cycling, driving, motorcycling or using public transport," he said.
"Our analysis shows the current range of speed limits in these areas are not safe and appropriate for the road."
The roading agency said it would also be collaborating with iwi and hapū on signage for marae.
"We want to acknowledge the valuable feedback that we've received from our Treaty partners around the need for increased safety at marae," Mutton said.
"These are destinations of huge cultural significance, and we want to ensure that we are doing all we can to look after those who spend time there.
"We've also heard feedback that some people are worried about the economic impact of lowering speeds, particularly on the open roads and freight routes," Mutton said.
"We'll continue working with stakeholders to ensure that we reach the right solution because we know that to improve road safety, we'll need everyone's help."
While Waka Kotahi defends its safer speeds campaign, New Zealand Taxpayers' Union revealed last week how the roading agency had spent $4,737,200 on the first two television advertisements promoting the Government's Road to Zero strategy.
The spending is said to be separate from the $2.4 million recently spent on the Safe Limits television ad.
According to the New Zealand Taxpayers' Union, Waka Kotahi was allocated $14.7m in new funding for the campaign, yet told the union it planned to spend as much as $197m on Road to Zero promotions and educational activities.
Released under the Official Information Act, an update from officials to the Waka Kotahi board confirmed the campaign was about "influencing public opinion to support Government policies".
A union spokesperson said, as a result, the ads had "cynically exploited fear" without providing viewers with any useful information on specific policy changes or consultation processes being advanced by the Government.
"Informing the public about policy changes and promoting road safety messages is sometimes necessary," the spokesperson said.
"But taxpayer-funded adverts intended to soften the public up for lower speed limits are not acceptable.
"Debates around ideal speed limits and acceptable trade-offs of risk on our roads have valid points on both sides – the Government shouldn't be using taxpayer money to tip the scale."
Waka Kotahi will release the detailed speed limit proposals in advance of consultation starting on May 17.
The consultation period will run for one month, during which time the public will be encouraged to make submissions through a variety of channels.
Mutton said feedback would be considered by Waka Kotahi before it made a final decision.
The consultation period will open from May 17 and close at 11pm on Tuesday, June 14.