The Government's road safety priorities are being called into question, after revelations it has earmarked close to $15 million on its road to zero public awareness advertising campaign.
Newstalk ZB can reveal the money's been put aside for a three-year strategy – focused on TV, print and radio ads.
National's transport spokesman Simeon Brown said so far, the ads do little more than tell people the Government's embarking on a goal to reduce deaths and serious injuries on the road.
"New Zealanders want their taxpayer money actually put towards things which are actually going to make a difference… such as increased road safety measures."
He said the $15 million price tag was "extraordinary," adding the money should be spent on fixing up unsafe roads and installing more road safety barriers, instead of on ads telling Kiwis about the zero road toll campaign.
But Transport Minister Michael Wood says the campaign was about "changing long-held attitudes to road safety".
"[It's] aimed at building public awareness and demand for the changes needed to drive deaths and serious injuries down towards zero."
The Government launched the campaign in February, which aims to see road deaths and serious injuries drop by 40 per cent by 2030.
The total cost of the wider campaign – which will include measures to make roads safer – is not yet clear.
But answers to written questions from National reveal $14.7 million – from 2021-2024 – has been specifically earmarked for a "public awareness campaign".
Some $4.7 million was for the 2021/22 financial year alone.
Wood said the budget includes all of the production and media costs for two TV advertisements as well as the costs for radio, digital, social media and print media.
"The campaign is supporting a much larger Government investment of $2.9 billion in road safety activities over the next three years, including $1.2 billion for road policing."
The ads which have been released so far all have the same "It takes everyone to get to no one" theme.
In one ad, a family crashes into a road barrier, and emerges from the car relatively unscathed.
The ad is focused on showing viewers the safety measures the family had in place which prevented further injuries, such as well-maintained tires and Police enforcing the speed rules, before revealing the road to zero tagline.
Brown was not impressed.
"I'm not sure what the safety message actually is… it's just talking up the Government's policy, rather than sending a clear message about what drivers should be doing to take practical steps to keep them safe on the road."
He said the money would have been far better off being spent on actual safety measures, such as road maintenance and driver education.
"[The advertising campaign] is not going to make a single bit of difference to make the roads safer."