National Party leader Simon Bridges is calling on Auckland Transport to listen to the views of Aucklanders and reject blanket speed limit reductions across the city.
The AT board will tomorrow make a decision on a bylaw to reduce speeds on 700 roads in the Auckland region, including 30km/h limits in the CBD and other high-use suburban centres.
The city centre, including major arterials like Nelson St, Hobson St and Fanshawe St, could have the lower speeds by mid-2020.
High-risk rural roads will drop to 80km/h and high-risk urban roads to 40km/h.
The proposal has been in the works since 2017 and is designed to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on Auckland roads, which increased by 78 per cent between 2014 and 2017.
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"National understands AT will make the decision to lower speed limits – but it's not too late to change its mind.
"There is strong opposition to the proposal, 3317 submissions expressed general opposition compared with just 2503 in support of the proposals. In relation to specific roads, 2063 expressed opposition and just 1562 expressed support," Bridges said.
The Automobile Association also shares Bridges' concerns, saying lower speeds in a lot of CBD streets is a no-brainer where there were many pedestrians and distractions.
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But it has said lower speed limits might not be the answer to multi-lane streets like Hobson, Nelson and Fanshawe Sts that connect to motorways.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said he has asked AT to consider closely all of the many submissions received so that it is aware of and carries our community with it in the decisions that are made, and for decisions in this area to be evidence-driven.
Goff said the big jump in deaths and serious injuries on Auckland roads needs to be addressed.
"The human, social and economic costs are enormous. Speed is one factor in causing that problem, but all factors including the roading infrastructure, drink and drug driving, running red lights and other causes need to be tackled," he said.
Bridges, a former Minister of Transport, said National takes road safety seriously and speed limit reductions on some roads make sense, but blanket reductions like this bylaw will only frustrate motorists and slow Auckland down.
"Compliance will depend on public support, which doesn't exist, so the proposals have the potential to be counterproductive," he said.
Bridges said buried in the papers is the admission that "in 2018, following a deliberate increase in enforcement and heightened awareness of speed management as well as targeted engineering interventions, deaths and serious injuries (DSI) dropped by 22 per cent".
"The papers also show that AT has dramatically increased investment in safety interventions such as the rural delineation programme, red-light cameras, delivery of improvements to high-risk intersections, education programmes to targeted groups, and pedestrian crossing upgrades.
"Aucklanders don't want to be slowed down even further. AT should focus on programmes with proven results, rather than try and ram through speed-limit changes not supported by the public. AT needs to listen to Aucklanders," he said.