The NZ Transport Agency was prepared to call in police to stop Wellington's Rainbow Crossing being painted, documents reveal.

The crossing was painted on the first weekend of October, after Wellington City Council signed off on the idea in a quest for the capital to be "more deliberately LGBTQI-friendly".

But documents released under the Official Information Act show months of to-ing and fro-ing between NZTA and the council over the legality and safety of the crossing.

In a draft letter never sent to the council, NZTA gave formal notification it prohibited the installation of the crossing and that should it proceed, the agency would ask police to prevent the installation and remove the markings.


"The agency supports the celebration of LGBT diversity, but not at the expense of road safety."

The draft letter and related emails show NZTA found the crossing to be in breach of Land Transport Rules.

The location of the crossing is at the intersection of Cuba and Dixon Sts, where there are already traffic control signals.

The letter outlined how the Rainbow Crossing could be confusing for motorists and pedestrians determining right of way because it looked like a pedestrian crossing.

"There is a high risk of confusion and a dazzling and distracting effect."

The letter also said marking the road to celebrate LGBTQI diversity conflicted with another one of the rules, which prohibited markings intended to be used for advertising or other purposes not connected with the use of the road.

In an email to NZTA, police also indicated they had safety concerns.

"This proposal poses risks of death and serious injury for road users- pedestrians in particular."


Following this, Wellington City Council told NZTA it had made every effort to address concerns by adding several safety features.

These included shortening the length of the crossing, a speed cushion and extra signs including a "safe selfie spot".

"We are entirely comfortable with the appropriateness of the site from a health and safety perspective."

In a draft letter NZTA said Wellington's Rainbow Crossing created a
In a draft letter NZTA said Wellington's Rainbow Crossing created a "high risk of confusion and a dazzling and distracting effect". photo / @GeorgeKCampbell

Emails between the council and NZTA show the matter remained unresolved days before the crossing was scheduled to be painted.

NZTA regional relationships Wellington director Emma Speight wrote to the council urging it to send a final design and safety assessment as soon as possible in order to consider an exemption to the rules.

NZTA received that information the following week, after the crossing was painted, even though an exemption had not been granted.

In a statement, Speight said the information gave some assurance the council had considered and addressed the risks of the proposed installation.

The council has agreed to monitor the crossing and share those reports with NZTA.

"The Transport Agency will assess the monitoring reports before making a final judgment on the rainbow crossing," Speight said.

Wellington mayor Justin Lester said ultimately, common sense has prevailed.

"I'm glad that we didn't have to get the police involved, I'm glad that I wasn't arrested out there painting the rainbow crossing."