12 December 2023
On 12 December the Minister of Transport announced changes to the Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2022 as part of progressing the Coalition Government’s 100-day plan in relation to speed management.
The Minister has provided an update to road controlling authorities outlining the intent of the changes, which are as follows:
- The requirement to develop speed management plans is now discretionary rather than mandatory
- The Minister of Transport, rather than the NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi, now has the authority to set a deadline for any of the steps involved in developing, varying or replacing Speed Management Plans (SMPs)
- Any previous deadlines set out under the Rule are revoked
- Any previous deadlines and targets set out in the Rule for Road Controlling Authorities to change speed limits outside schools are revoked
- Regional Transport Committees (RTCs) and Road Controlling Authorities (RCAs) no longer need to meet the previous deadlines associated with setting speed limits outside schools as set out in the Rule.
These amendments to the Rule do not change the function of the Director of Land Transport to certify Speed Management Plans which RCAs choose to submit, however RTCs and RCAs should note the intention from the Minister to develop a new Rule. The Minister has encouraged RCAs to wait for this new Rule before developing or completing SMPs. I acknowledge the implications of these changes may raise some questions around the progression of speed management plans, including those already submitted for certification. Below is key information on how these changes may affect road controlling authorities. Further information will be provided as it becomes available.
- The Minister intends to replace the Rule and has encouraged RTCs and RCAs to wait until the new Rule is in place before developing or submitting SMPs;
- An RCA can choose to submit a SMP to the Director of Land Transport for certification.
- If a SMP has been submitted, but not yet certified, the RCA can withdraw the SMP prior to certification.
- Implementation of certified SMPs can continue.
- Speed limits which have migrated into the National Speed Limit Register remain valid.
- RTCs and RCAs retain the ability to target harm reduction through safety management responses including SMPs and infrastructure improvements;
- Work on the new Rule has commenced. The expectation is that further information on the scope and process for the new Rule will be available in early 2024.
If you have any concerns, please get in touch with your Waka Kotahi Area Programme Manager or Director of Regional Relationships for guidance and support.