Government announces road safety package, with $10 billion earmarked for safety improvements

The Government will boost road safety investment by 25 per cent, spending roughly £1 billion on road safety improvements each year over the next decade.

The safety spend was unveiled its final road safety strategy, Road to Zero, unveiled by Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter on Thursday.

The strategy aims to reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads by 40 per cent over the next years. 

"Meeting this target would save 750 lives and prevent 5600 serious injuries on New Zealand roads over the next decade," Genter said. 

The increased investment will support new technology like drug testing equipment for police, 1000 kilometres of new median crash barriers, 1700 kilometres of other safety improvements like crash barriers and rumble strips, and 1500 intersection upgrades.

The plan had been out for consultation this year.

It gives a glimpse into the Government's next three-year land transport General Policy Statement on land transport, which sets out what it would like to spend on land transport. 

The next GPS is due in 2021, and will include this increased road safety allocation. 

The National Party has argued against the current GPS's funding allocations, which shifted money away from state highway building to increase funding for improvements of local roads. The Government argued that its strategy would make a more sections of road safer, rather than funnelling the state highway budget into short sections of high value state highway.

National's discussion document on land transport suggests the party wants to pivot back to this strategy, with more spending on highways. 

The party's transport spokesman Chris Bishop said a lot of the document "makes sense". 

"There's just no question that under National our road toll got a lot worse at a time other countries were reducing theirs," Green Party MP Julie Anne Genter said.

ROSA WOODS/STUFF "There's just no question that under National our road toll got a lot worse at a time other countries were reducing theirs," Green Party MP Julie Anne Genter said.

"The best thing the government could do is invest in high quality expressway standard roads," Bishop said.

Nationals RoNS are the safest roads in the country and the government should be investing in all the roads they've cancelled. 

Genter defended her choice to boost spending on road safety improvements.

"There's just no question that under National our road toll got a lot worse at a time other countries were reducing theirs," Genter said.

"They redirected a lot or money from roads and road safety to a few urban motorway projects," she said.

Roadside drug testing will be rolled out from 2021

WARWICK SMITH/STUFF

Roadside drug testing will be rolled out from 2021

Genter announced on Wednesday that the Government would roll out roadside drug testing from 2021, allowing roadside testing stations, which currently test for alcohol impairment to test for drugs too.

Other changes include a review of road safety penalties and a new approach to speeds. 

From 2021 regional transport committees and NZTA will have to produce regional speed management plans that match up road and safety infrastructure improvements with proposed speeds.

 NZTA will be required to produce a National Speed Management Plan every six years setting out proposed speed management reviews and safety infrastructure changes.

The approach will remove bylaw-making requirements and partially centralise speed-setting.

Speeds around schools will also be reduced, although this will not be immediate. Rather it will be phased-in over the decade of the plan. 

The enforcement of speed limits will also change. The Government wants to switch to a "highly visible" speed camera strategy, pivoting away from hidden cameras. 

This had been adopted in Sweden where it had been successful.

The logic is if people know there are speed cameras they are less likely to speed. 

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