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Govt signals backdown on speed camera change

Govt signals backdown on speed camera change

The National Party is predicting a Government backdown on plans to lower speed camera tolerance levels.

National's Police spokesman Tony Ryall says Government ministers and officials have been hinting for months that dropping speed camera tolerance levels from 10km over the limit to 5km would be part of a pre-Christmas road safety package.

"However, in response to my question in Parliament today on this move, Police Minister George Hawkins replied "That is not the Government's policy. It probably won't be the Government's policy," says Mr Ryall.

"This is the clearest indication yet that Labour is under pressure to abandon the speed camera move in face of strong political and public opposition.

"Some estimates suggest such a move would see a 50% increase in speed camera convictions," he says.

"In a June 2003 statement, Transport Minister Paul Swain said, "The most convincing argument supporting the police enforcement of speed limits is the declining rate of death and injury from road crashes".

"In the past year, police issued a record number of speeding tickets - almost a million - but the latest available data from LTSA shows the road toll up, crashes up and injuries up. Information from the Transport Minister shows that 75% of fatal accidents and 85% of all crashes happened under the posted speed limit.

"National says lowering the speed camera tolerance will not improve road safety, it will only convict more hardworking New Zealanders, making them antagonistic towards the police.

"National wants the police to focus on visibility, drink driving, excessive speed and driver fatigue. We also oppose hidden cameras," says Mr Ryall.

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