Last updated 20 February 2024

Why are you changing speed limits?

As a road controlling authority, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has a responsibility to set safe and appropriate speed limits to maintain the state highway network.

What are the new approved speed limits?

The Director of Land Transport has approved speed limits on short sections of the following state highways:

  • SH1 Pukenui to Kaitaia (effective from 4 March 2024)
  • SH15 Kaikohe to Otaika (effective from 13 May 2024, excluding Maungatapere which we will implement alongside SH14 changes later this year)
  • SH14 Dargaville to Whangārei
  • SH1 Kawakawa to Whangārei
  • SH11 Kawakawa to Paihia
  • SH1 Whangārei to Te Hana
  • SH12 Ōmāpere to Kaikohe
  • SH12 Brynderwyn to Ōmāpere
  • SH16 Wellsford to Waimauku
  • SH1 Te Hana to Warkworth
  • SH10 Pakaraka to Taipa.

In total, the approved changes include 54 new permanent speed limit changes and new electronic (variable speed limit) signs across 34 schools. The changes affect speed limits alongside 7 marae.

More detailed information on this page:

Approved speed limit changes

Will there be speed limit changes along the entire state highway corridor?

Speed limit changes will be targeted to short sections through townships and close to schools and marae, and will not affect the entire stretch of state highway.

What is a variable speed limit (VSL) and how does it work outside schools?

Variable speed limits (VSL) outside schools help to slow traffic down when people are travelling to and from school. Electronic VSL signs can be activated during school travel periods to display a lower, enforceable speed limit.

When the electronic sign is active the legal speed limit of 30 or 60 km/h will be displayed when children are going to and from school at the start and end of the school day. When activities (e.g. early finish times, school functions) may create additional risk to children, the signs can be active for a duration agreed by the school.  At all other times, the electronic sign is blank, and the permanent speed limit applies.  We will work with each school to confirm VSL operating times and conditions.

When will the new speed limits apply?

We are using a phased approach to implement speed limit changes starting with SH1 Pukenui to Kaitaia which was implemented on 4 March 2024. In the second phase, speed limit changes along SH15 between Kaikohe and Otaika (excluding Maungatapere) take effect from 13 May 2024.  

We intend to deliver the remaining speed limit changes by early to mid-2025 and will let people know once we have confirmed the implementation dates. Keep an eye on our website for updated information. 

Implementing the new speed limits

What about the speed limit changes through Maungatapere?

We will implement the new speed limits through Maungatapere, on both State Highway 15 and State Highway 14, and including the variable speed limit outside Maungatapere School, later this year. We know safe speeds are important to the Maungatapere community and will update people once we can confirm our timeframe.

How are you notifying people about the speed limit changes? 

We let people know about the changes via a targeted communications campaign including letters and emails, social media posts, flyers, and updates to our project webpage. Keep an eye on our website for updated information.

Did you consult with the public on these changes?

In May and June 2022, we consulted with stakeholders and the public on the safe and appropriate speed for new proposed speed limits at schools and townships on 11 corridors of state highway in Northland and north Auckland. This included collaborating with iwi and hapū on signage for marae. 

We received 653 submissions.

How were these speed limits decided?

To change a speed limit, we must follow a legal process that involves a number of steps.

Ongoing engagement

While technical advice is an important part of speed reviews, local knowledge and experience of using our roads is also vital to this process. We want all communities to have a chance to give their feedback on how safety interventions can be managed in their area, and on any proposed changes to speed limits.;

We actively seek input and feedback from our Māori and local government partners, key stakeholders and the community. It’s these conversations that help us get valuable insights and local knowledge on how people use the road, and their concerns around road safety.

We consider people’s feedback alongside the technical information that our road safety specialists have collated to help us decide how we are best to manage safety on our roads and ensure speed limits are safe and appropriate for all road users.  

Formal consultation on proposed speed limit changes

The formal consultation step is where we show people how we plan to manage speeds on our roads, including proposed speed limit changes. These changes have been developed and refined using the technical information as well as feedback gathered from our engagement with people.

During this consultation stage, we ask people if they have any additional information we should consider, that might have an impact on our final decision. We consider people’s feedback alongside our technical information to finalise our proposed speed limit changes.

Approval of speed limit changes

We submit our proposed speed limit changes to the Director of Land Transport for approval, and publish the approval on our website.

New speed limits implemented

We let people know the date speed limits will change, we install the new speed limit signs on the road, then implement the new speed limits.

There is more information on our speed review process on our website.

How speed reviews work

How does the revised government approach to speed limit rules affect this work?

Upcoming speed limit changes in Northland and north Auckland were approved before the formalisation of any new rules. However, they are consistent with the government’s approach to focus on changes to short sections of state highway through townships, schools and marae.

What speed management activity are you progressing/pausing, and why?

As a road controlling authority, we have a responsibility to set speed limits to maintain the state highway network. As a government agency, we also follow the direction set by government, via the Government Policy Statement on land transport, and any other relevant policies.

We expect a new Setting of Speed Limits Rule to come into force by the end of this year.

We have begun considering how the new Rule may apply, where we have already received information on the proposed direction. As we receive further details on the new Rule, we will work through what it means for our current and future speed management activity.

Until the new Rule comes into force, we will continue to set and review speed limits as required under the current Setting of Speed Limits 2022 Rule, such as for changes to infrastructure, temporary speed limits expiring or new roads opening. This includes increases to speed limits on existing Roads of National Significance, where it is safe to do so.

What has happened to the Interim State Highway Speed Management Plan?

In anticipation of the new Rule, we have paused work on our speed management plans. As we receive more information on the Rule, we will work through what it means for our speed management activity, including the proposals within the Interim State Highway Speed Management Plan.

We will provide updates later this year, after decisions are made. Until the new Rule comes into force, we will continue to set and review speed limits as required under the current Setting of Speed Limits 2022 Rule, such as for changes to infrastructure, temporary speed limits expiring or new roads opening.

Legally, what can/can’t NZTA progress under the current Rule?

As a road controlling authority, we have a responsibility to set speed limits to maintain the state highway network. We also follow the direction set by government, via the Government Policy Statement on land transport, and any other relevant policies. The Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2022 sets out current processes and regulations for setting speed limits. Until the new Rule comes into force, we will continue to set and review speed limits as required under the current Setting of Speed Limits 2022 Rule, such as for changes to infrastructure, temporary speed limits expiring or new roads opening. This includes increases to speed limits on existing Roads of National Significance, where it is safe to do so.

Will you increase any speed limits to 110km/h? Where and when will you do this?

As a road controlling authority, we have commenced work to assess the suitability of 110km/h speed limits on selected roads. This is part of our standard monitoring and evaluation process we undertake after opening new roads that have been engineered to high safety standards.

The Minister of Transport has indicated that enabling 110km/h speed limits on new and existing Roads of National Significance will be part of the new Rule. Setting speed limits is a legal process and involves several steps. Under the current Setting of Speed Limits Rule, to increase the speed limit on a selected road to 110km/h, NZTA must undertake consultation, consider any feedback and provide evidence to the Director of Land Transport (the Director) that the road can safely support 110km/h speed limits. 

We will begin consultation on a proposed 110km/h speed limit for the Kāpiti Expressway in late April 2024, and expect to share more information on other proposed 110km/h speed limit reviews later this year.

If you are not planning to change speed limits in high-risk areas soon, how will you address safety where it’s needed?

Road safety activity is subject to funding from the National Land Transport Fund (NLTP) which is informed by the Government Policy Statement on land transport (GPS). 

Investment through the draft GPS 2024 is targeted at boosting economic growth and productivity, increased maintained and resilience, safety, and ensuring value for money. The draft GPS focuses safety investment on road policing and enforcement, increasing road maintenance, cost-effective infrastructure improvements, and educating road users through road safety promotion. The Minister of Transport has noted that NZTA will be able to invest in a range of targeted safety interventions, on high-risk parts of the road network, where they provide strong safety outcomes and achieve value for money.