Local Government New Zealand is casting doubt on the legal powers of councils to impose speed restrictions on beaches.
Twelve people were killed and 180 injured by vehicles on beaches in the 10 years to 2009, prompting many councils to impose speed restrictions as low as 30km/h.
But Local Government New Zealand says the foreshore, where people mainly drive, is owned by the Crown and not councils.
The agency says that if anybody is ticketed for breaking the law on the beaches, they could challenge it in court and possibly get off.
Police say they do not have to operate on such a narrow definition and will enforce traffic law wherever vehicles are found.