The Government has proposed an "audacious" target of zero deaths on New Zealand roads.

Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter announced plans for a new road safety strategy this morning, which will include the "Vision Zero" target.

"A target of zero deaths is audacious, and it's also been successful," Genter told an audience of mayors, councillors and officials in Wellington.

"Countries like Canada, Sweden, and Norway all aim for zero road deaths and have considerably lower fatality rates than New Zealand."


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She said Sweden successfully cut its road death rate by investing in safety infrastructure and setting safer speed limits.

"Today they are one of the safest countries in the world.

"If New Zealand had the same rate of road deaths per head of population as Sweden, 255 New Zealanders who died last year on our roads would still be alive today."

New Zealand's national road toll began rising in 2013, reversing the trend of the previous decade.

"Over the past 20 years we have witnessed remarkable road safety improvements, but the trend now is undeniably going in the opposite direction," Genter said.

"Every year since 2013 things have gotten worse. Every year more people have died on our roads.

"In 2016, there were over 2500 serious injuries on our roads. This is not only shocking, it's unacceptable."

The road safety strategy would consider new safety infrastructure, speed management and improved safety for walkers and cyclists.

While the strategy is being developed, Genter said the Government would also pursue a series of short-term initiatives.


These included:

• Rolling out alcohol interlocks for repeat drunk drivers
• Reviewing speed limits around schools
• Accelerating plans to make speed limits safer on local roads
• Investigate greater use of speed cameras and red light cameras
• Investigate ways to protect walkers, cyclists and vulnerable people such as elderly and disabled
• Consider minimum standards for vehicles which take into account new technologies
• Review graduated driver licensing system