Almost half of all tickets from speeding cameras are given out in Auckland, prompting the Automobile Association to urge the police to ease up on targeting low-level speedsters on Auckland motorways and instead focus on higher-risk roads around the country.
The cameras and a decision to lower, over holiday breaks, the usual 4km/h tolerance - and this season even to scrap it - have resulted in a boom in tickets. Twenty-six thousand more were issued each month last year on average than in 2009. That is despite police saying average speeds have dropped.
Last year, an average of 82,000 speeding tickets were issued each month, compared to 56,000 five years before. Much of the increase is down to the crackdown on low-level speeding over holiday periods.
Lower speeds and fewer drink-driving offences have also resulted in a drop in traffic-fine revenue. Last year, the figure was $71 million - the lowest in 15 years and down from a high of $105 million in 2004. Most of that was from speeding fines.
Road policing chief Assistant Commissioner Dave Cliff denied staff were using speed cameras to gather revenue, saying they did not benefit from the money raised; it went into the Government's coffers. It also cost the police to process fines - money they did not recoup from the proceeds.
"Police don't measure success by fines, but by fewer road deaths, fewer injuries and fewer victims, and in 2013 we saw the lowest road toll for 60 years," Mr Cliff said.
AA spokesman Mike Noon questioned whether focusing on drivers doing just over the limit on relatively safe urban motorways was the best strategy.
"Focusing on low-level speeding on the motorways, we think, is maybe not very beneficial. We'd prefer more focus on higher-risk areas, such as people speeding on State Highway 27 or between Turangi and Taupo.
"We get a bit concerned if there's too much focus on low-speed tolerances on motorways, particularly since some of those motorways, we think, may move to 110km/h, to reflect the safety of them."
The impact of speed cameras on New Zealand roads is stark. The number of speeding offences detected by camera has almost doubled since 2009, from 330,000 to 615,000 last year. In 2009, about half of all speeding tickets were from cameras; the rest were issued by officers.
In 2014, the cameras accounted for 70 per cent of all speeding tickets - and almost half of them were in Auckland. By comparison, Auckland accounted for only about 27 per cent of tickets issued by police nationwide.
Mr Cliff said while more people were being caught speeding, they were not speeding by as much. Open-road mean speeds had dropped from 102.3km/h in 1996 to 95.7km/h in 2013. Urban speeds had also dropped, from 56.5km/h in 1996 to 51.7km/h in 2013.
The lower threshold for speeding over holiday periods compared to normal times had resulted in a 36 per cent reduction in those speeding up to 10km/h above the limit and a 45 per cent reduction above 10km/h.