29 Nov 2019

Transport Agency to take over speed cameras from police

1:56 pm on 29 November 2019

The Transport Agency is to take over owning and running speed cameras from police.

Wellington's Ngauranga Gorge.

A speed camera in Ngauranga Gorge in Wellington Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

RNZ reported in May that police no longer wanted to manage the camera network because of rising costs and the belief it did not align with core police work.

The government yesterday announced the transfer of the operations as part of a suite of changes.

These include dropping speed limits around schools, boosting the number of speed cameras and introducing speed camera warning signs.

The government said it expected the changes to become law by the middle of next year.

The Transport Agency said the transition would take about two years to enable a smooth change over - with the cost currently not known.

The change would allow the agency to collect data from cameras to better target road safety efforts, it said.

A spokesperson for Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter said the reason the agency was taking over the network was to make sure it had access to everything it needed to improve road safety.

"It means the use and placement of safety cameras will be considered alongside the wide range of other potential safety treatments that could be implemented on a road."

These included things like side and median barriers, rumble strips and intersection upgrades.

The spokesperson said the government expected the speed cameras to be targeted at high-risk roads and well signposted so drivers know to slow down.

Mark Stockdale from the Automobile Association said police struggled to administer the network and it was good the Transport Agency had taken over.

He said he hoped the transfer would also mean a boost in funding to take advantage of fast developing camera technology.

"It doesn't really matter who's responsible for the administration of speed cameras.

"What matters is that whoever is administering our camera regime [is] fully resourced."

Mr Stockdale said the agency should invest in more cameras that could detect people running red lights and bring in ones that could identify drivers using cellphones.

He said while theoretically increasing the number of fixed-speed cameras on the road could lead to more tickets being issued, if they were being clearly marked with warning signs people would be aware they were there and slow down.

Speed cameras snapped nearly a million cars speeding last year - more than 2600 a day.

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