Holidaymakers have hit the roads in their thousands for Queen's Birthday weekend. But Whanganui MP Chester Borrows fears many will bypass his beloved central North Island city because of poor signage.

Borrows, Deputy Speaker of the House, wants better signs to his city, saying it's a slap in the face that motorists leaving Wellington travel nearly two hours before they are alerted to Whanganui's existence.

"New Zealand Transport Agency [NZTA] has a national responsibility to Whanganui and needs to step up," he told the Herald on Sunday.

"Tourists who experience New Zealand in camper vans or rental cars need road signs to encourage them to take a random stop-off and visit the smaller, less publicised places in the country."


Borrows has asked NZTA to look at including more centres and distances on signs north of Porirua, Waikanae, Otaki and Himatangi.

"We have a lot to offer in Whanganui -- a sign doesn't cost that much, neither does adding letters on to pre-existing signs."

Borrows' pleas coincided with Air New Zealand's announcement that it would suspend direct flights from Auckland to Whanganui. The closest airport offering flights to Auckland is Palmerston North, 73km away.

"I would like to think that when Olga and Klaus from Austria or Jamie and Stacey from the UK head north from the capital, our regional tourism efforts are reinforced with some basic information about the places they could visit," Borrows said.

An NZTA spokeswoman confirmed Borrows' request but was unable to comment further.