The government is being accused by the Opposition of failing to deliver on its road safety targets.
National’s transport spokesperson says the government hasn’t delivered. Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas
The government committed $1.4 billion at the end of 2018 towards a three-year programme to make roads safer – the goal of which was to stop 160 deaths and serious injuries each year.
But so far, according to written parliamentary questions, only $474 million had been spent on the Safe Network Programme by the end of March.
Progress is going well on rumble strips with almost 3,000km being installed out of its 3,500km target by mid-2021.
RNZ reported in July last year that just 16km of median barriers had been installed in a year.
But as of the end of May this year, 18km has been installed out of its 198km target.
Only 151km of side barriers had been built so far out of a target of 322km.
National’s transport spokesperson Chris Bishop said those figures weren’t good enough.
“When you go through all the numbers the government has talked a big game on road safety measures but has simply failed to deliver,” he said.
Spokesperson for road safety charity, Brake, Caroline Perry said the progress was disappointing.
“We’d obviously like to see these measures rolled out as quickly as we can, they are measures that are proven to reduce deaths and injuries on roads and so in order to save lives and improve road safety we need to see more of them in place,” she said.
Perry said Covid-19 would have had an impact on work, but what she really wanted to see now is more barriers being installed and more speed limit changes.
Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter said work will now start to speed up.
“Up until our government put the big focus on road safety and median barriers, it was incredibly difficult for the New Zealand Transport Agency to implement them, but that process has been streamlined and I expect it to really start to ramp up in the next few years,” she said.
Safer speed limits are a key element of the safe network programme, but only 35km of roads have had their limits changed so far.
Genter said that’s because the speed limit changes has been subject to a lot of consultation.
“I expect that with community input those decisions will be made soon,” she said.
When asked if NZTA will meet its targets in 2021, Julie-Anne Genter said saving lives is the most important target and she was confident that will be met.