12 Oct 2017

Speed cameras missing in most of NZ

10:16 am on 12 October 2017

Most of the country has been without fixed speed cameras for more than a year, police have confirmed.

It has coincided with one of the deadliest periods in recent years on New Zealand's roads.

Wellington's Ngauranga Gorge.

56 digital speed cameras were due to be installed by the end of 2015. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Eighteen fixed cameras are operational at present but are limited to the urban districts of Waitemata, Auckland City, Counties Manukau and Wellington.

Police celebrated the installation of the new network of second-generation digital speed cameras in 2014, saying switching on the first of the cameras in July that year was an "important milestone in our efforts to reduce deaths and injuries on the country's roads".

At the time police said 56 cameras were planned for the country and would be installed by the end of 2015.

But when the last of the old network of wet-film cameras was decommissioned in March last year only 12 cameras had been installed and much of the country - including the entire South Island - was without fixed speed camera coverage.

"We have 18 cameras operating in total, including four at Waterview [Auckland], covering four districts. The other eight districts do not have static safe speed cameras," police said in response to RNZ questions yesterday.

The police website states the link between speed cameras and reducing speed was well documented.

But despite "research clearly show[ing] that safety cameras change driver behaviour and have a positive road safety impact", most of the country had been without fixed cameras as road tolls rose.

Last year was the deadliest in recent times for many of the districts without fixed cameras.

The Southern district recorded its worst road toll since 2001, Waikato its worst since 2007, Northland since 2009 and Bay of Plenty 2010.

Nationally, it was the deadliest year on New Zealand roads since 2010.

Police Association president Chris Cahill said he was concerned to hear so much of the country was without fixed camera coverage.

"Speed kills and this is definitely another tool for getting the road toll down in New Zealand," he said.

He wanted to see fixed speed cameras in every district.

Work is underway to install cameras in six further districts.

No link between road toll rises and cameras, says AA

As the country waits for those cameras to be turned on, the road toll continues to rise.

This year's toll already stands at 297 - an increase of more than 40 deaths compared to the same time last year.

Automobile Associaton motoring affairs general manager Mike Noon said it would, however, be wrong to link the number of fixed speed cameras with the growing road toll.

Mr Noon said in the past, just a dozen fixed cameras were moved through 45 sites.

"The public has most probably thought in the last 18 months that the camera has been in the box."

Mobile cameras were still being used "flat out" and police were still enforcing speed limits, he said.

Mr Noon said there were almost as many speeding tickets issued via cameras last year as three years earlier; 869,954 in 2016 and 877,000 in 2013.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs