Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was in the Waipa district on Thursday afternoon to announce details of the Government's $1.4 billion road safety infrastructure programme.

A further 2430km of New Zealand's most dangerous state highways and local roads will be made safer as part of the programme.

The Prime Minister was joined by Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter at SH3 between Ohaupo and Te Awamutu, which is the site of one of seven completed projects in the Waikato as part of the Safe Network Programme.
Phil Twyford said the Government's safety programme is already saving lives.

"The new barriers installed on SH3 have been hit around 40 times, potentially preventing at least that many deaths and serious injuries.


"When we first announced the programme, 870km of state highways were included, and now that has been extended to 3300km of state highways and local roads over the next three years.

"Once fully rolled out across the country, it will help prevent 160 deaths and serious injuries each year.

"Our Government is spending more in total on local roads and state highways through the National Land Transport Programme than the last government," Phil Twyford said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern greets Waipā; mayor Jim Mylchreest. Photo / Colin Thorsen
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern greets Waipā; mayor Jim Mylchreest. Photo / Colin Thorsen

Julie Anne Genter said the Government believes it is unacceptable for anyone to be killed or seriously injured on New Zealand's roads.

"Most roads deaths and serious injuries are preventable and too many New Zealanders have lost their lives or been seriously injured in crashes that could have been prevented by road safety upgrades.

"We are taking a balanced approach to making our roads safer — investing significantly more in safety improvements, increasing safe driving messages and investigating lower speed limits only on the most dangerous roads in the country.

"Our Government is currently seeking feedback on a wider 10-year road safety plan that includes prioritising road policing and enforcement, a new focus on work-related safety and improving the safety of vehicles entering the fleet.

"This plan also proposes greater investment in proven safety upgrades like the ones being rolled out now, such as median barriers, roundabouts and safe cycling infrastructure," she said.