New figures released by Justice Minister Andrew Little show north Auckland drivers get more traffic convictions than anywhere else in New Zealand.

The figures were released after a request by National MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, and look at the rate of traffic convictions, broken down by region, in 2016 and 2017.

The figures show 18 per cent of all convictions were in the north Auckland justice area, followed by South Auckland on 13 per cent, and Canterbury, which had 11 per cent in 2016 and 9 per cent in 2017.

Wellington had the fewest over the two years, with only 2 per cent, despite being the second largest city in New Zealand. It was followed closely by Otago which had 3 per cent.

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Each region is dictated by the justice service area, or court region, where the crime goes to trial.

The traffic offences in the data include driving causing death, dangerous and negligent operation of a vehicle, and traffic and vehicle regulatory offences.

Individuals are counted once a year for their most serious traffic offence.

The information also shows 33,466 people were convicted of traffic offences last year, slightly up from the 33,357 in 2016.

Bakshi, National's associate justice spokesperson, said it was not surprising the highest number of people convicted of traffic offences were in parts of the country with the highest number of people driving.

Police are working in this space to try and reduce re-offending and focus on positive outcomes. Photo / File
Police are working in this space to try and reduce re-offending and focus on positive outcomes. Photo / File

"In saying that, in areas where there are more cars on the road, it becomes even more important that our roads are safe and that people drive responsibly.

"That's why it's important to keep investing into major roading projects, such as four-laning busy highways and roads and improving the links between our cities and regions," he said.

"It's very disappointing that projects National had in the pipeline, including in Auckland and in Canterbury, have been placed under threat by the new Government.

"The Government should reconsider its decision to review these roading projects. It should also ensure that we have the right numbers of roading police in areas like North Auckland, South Auckland and Canterbury."

Waitemata Road Policing Manager Inspector Trevor Beggs said it's disappointing the region has the highest number of convicted traffic offences, but it's not surprising given the population make-up in Auckland.

"The north Auckland justice service area covers the North Shore, West Auckland and Central Auckland area, which covers the majority of the more than 1.5 million people living in Auckland and is the area with the highest population in the country.

He said the 31 per cent of traffic convictions in the combined north and South Auckland areas reflected the fact that about a third of the country's population lived there.

He said police are always looking at different ways to deal with lower-level traffic and driving offences.
"This includes referring individuals to iwi/community justice panels for lower-level offending instead of going through the courts.

The recently launched community-led Te Pae Oranga also aims to "create different pathways" for vulnerable young people, Beggs said.

Police awere trying to reduce re-offending and focus on positive outcomes, Beggs said.

"This has involved working with people who are caught driving without driver's licenses to assist them in getting their licence.

"Our staff don't want to spend their day issuing traffic and driving-related infringements, however we are committed to keeping our roads safe and reducing our rising road toll, and therefore we will continue to target those individuals driving in an unsafe or dangerous manner on our roads."

Number of people convicted of traffic offences by Justice Service Area in 2017

• Taitokerau - 1880- 6 per cent
• North Auckland - 5952 - 18 per cent
• South Auckland - 4206 - 13 per cent
• Waikato - 3085 - 9 per cent
• Bay of Plenty - 2533 - 8 per cent
• Waiariki - 1467 - 4 per cent
• East Coast - 1974 - 6 per cent
• Taranaki/Whanganui - 1496 - 4 per cent
• Manawatu/Wairarapa - 1668 - 5 per cent
• Northern Wellington - 1680 - 5 per cent
• Wellington - 760 - 2 per cent
• Nelson/Marlborough/West Coast - 1318 - 4 per cent
• Canterbury - 3089 - 9 per cent
• Otago - 1128 - 3 per cent
• Southland - 1230 - 4 per cent