Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Treat all children the same, especially outside schools

The Ministry of Transport has announced that school zones in urban areas can be reduced to 30km/h speed limits and the maximum in rural areas will be 60km/h at peak times. Lucinda Rees from NZ School Speeds has been campaigning for 30km/h outside every school, is delighted that the Government is finally listening to concerns, but more is needed as the discrepancy between urban and rural child road safety remains.

Today’s announcement by the Government has in effect retained responsibility of slowing speed limits outside schools to individual councils across the country. So far councils don’t have a good track record on slowing to safe speed limits for the benefit of children and this is unlikely to change. In essence it will now be possible for the 30km/h speed limit to be set outside any school, but only if communities and campaigners push for safer speeds with their local councils, despite every child having the right to go to school - safely.

The likelihood of a child being killed when hit by a vehicle moving at 30km/h is 10%. With every 1km/h increase the probability of death increases by 4 or 5%.1 At 40km/h the likelihood of death doubles, so why not have a 30km/h speed limit outside every school at peak times, rather than saving a few seconds on a journey? Most drivers would welcome consistency of speed limits outside schools.

Rural children do walk and cycle and more would if roads were safer. Travelling as a vulnerable road user in rural areas is dangerous. It does give them exposure to their locality and perhaps prepares them better for coping with driving at a later stage. For some children that is the only way they can get to school. These children often come from disadvantaged homes. Ms Rees knew of one who walked to school on his own from the age of 5. “This child had to cross a 100km/h road to get to school in Swannanoa, North Canterbury. He survived, but no child should have to dice with death the amount of times this little boy did.”

Ms Rees often walked and biked with her children to school in a rural area in North Canterbury. It was scary, but she wanted her children to learn about their local environment and to have some sort of independence. This experience and her daughter doing a speech in primary school about the dangerous speed limits outside her school, prompted Ms Rees to set up the road safety organisation NZ School Speeds. Her children are now grown up and she has been campaigning ever since.

Ms Rees has suggested to the Ministry of Transport that every school has a maximum 30km/h speed limit as recommended by the World Health Organisation at peak times and that the maximum speed limit outside a school was no more than 60km/h outside these times. She applauds the Government for the rural maximum 60km/h, but would like to see this speed limit permanent, so that children can cross the road to school at all times. She had also suggested that to enable children to walk and bike to school the speed limits of 60km/h were extended at least 3km from each school, so children who were unable to take the school bus could safely make their way independently to school.

As Minister Genter’s announcement today states: “Our kids should have the freedom to walk and cycle to school and feel safe doing so”. Crossing a road outside schools where vehicles are travelling at 60km/h is not a safe speed limit for children who are likely to be distracted at the start and finish of school. Ms Rees says: “There is now some hope for safer roads, but pressure is on the councils. We need some respect from drivers towards children in schools zones and that can only be established with consistent maximum speed limits of 30km/h at peak times and no more than 60km/h at other times of the day throughout New Zealand.”

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Madrid Climate Talks: Decade Ending 2019 Likely To Be Hottest On Record

Exceptional global heat driven by greenhouse gas emissions mean this decade will most likely go down as the warmest on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization...

The agency also finds that 2019 is on track to be the second or third warmest year in history, with the global average temperature during January through October, roughly 1.1 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial era.

“If we do not take urgent climate action now, then we are heading for a temperature increase of more than 3°C by the end of the century, with ever more harmful impacts on human wellbeing.” More>>


NZ First Conflicts Of Interest: New Details Around Timeline

New information has emerged showing it was the New Zealand First chief of staff who identified potential conflicts of interest between a forestry company and two senior government ministers, sparking a series of declarations. More>>



Five New Cancer Meds In Six Months: Pharmac Funds More Cancer Medicines, Faster Assessment

PHARMAC has confirmed that two new medicines – olaparib for ovarian cancer and fulvestrant for breast cancer – have been approved for funding... Rituximab and bortezomib, which are already funded, have also been approved for widened access following successful commercial proposals from new suppliers. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Stoking Fears About Cannabis Law Reform

It was always going to be hard to have a rational debate on cannabis reform. Far easier for politicians to win votes by stoking alarm... More>>


Tūhoronuku Mandate Recognition Ends: "New Opportunity" For Ngāpuhi Treaty Negotiations

The Crown is providing an opportunity for the hapu of Ngāpuhi to rebuild its framework from the ground up for collective negotiations to deal with its historical Treaty claims... More>>


Pike River: Next Phase Of Recovery Underway

“Fresh air will be pumped into the Pike River Mine drift this week, following acceptance of the plan for re-entry beyond the 170m barrier by New Zealand’s independent health and safety regulator WorkSafe." More>>


Peters Stoic: Russia On Afghan Firing Range Deaths

The foreign minister won't be calling in the Russian ambassador concerning comments made about New Zealand soldiers in Afghanistan. In a media briefing late last month, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said New Zealand must investigate crimes against civilians. More>>


Christchurch Call: Online Crisis Response Workshop In Wellington

Governments and tech companies are holding a two-day workshop, hosted by YouTube/Google in Wellington, to test the Christchurch Call Shared Crisis Response Protocol. More>>





InfoPages News Channels