Speed Review

We’re reviewing our speed limits. We want to make Masterton’s roads safer for all users and improve the roading network.

What is the purpose of the speed limit review?

This review is about ensuring that our speed limits are appropriate for the type of roads across our roading network. It’s also about making our roads safer for all users.

The national speed limit rule allows councils to review, propose and set speed limits for its local roads – not state highways. This includes permanent, holiday and variable speed limits.

The 2017 Speed Management Rule is about:

• giving effect to a nationally consistent and evidence-based approach to speed management
• providing a mechanism for councils to set speed limits for roads in their jurisdictions
• requiring councils, when reviewing speed limits, to decide which speed limit is safe and appropriate for a road
• encouraging councils to prioritise the review of roads where achieving travel speeds that are safe and appropriate is likely to deliver the highest benefits.

We are taking a staged approach for the speed limit review. Stage 1 focuses on the following areas:

• speed around schools
• speed in areas with high numbers of vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.
• speed limit changes relating to growth and changes in land use.

This work will be followed by a 2020-21 stage 2 regional speed limit review, to be jointly undertaken by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), the three Wairarapa District Councils, and the Wairarapa Road Safety Council.

Submissions close Monday, 20 April 2020.

Have your say

Submissions are welcome from any person or organisation who wishes to give feedback. Submissions close at 4:40pm on Monday 20, April 2020.

Written Submissions

Written submissions can be made using either our submission form, sending us an email or writing a letter. Hard copy submission forms are available at our council office, 161 Queen Street, Masterton or from the the Masterton District Library.

You can submit them in the following ways:

  • Email: send to [email protected] with ‘Speed Limits Review 2019-20’ in the subject line.
  • Post: Speed Limits Review 2019-20, Masterton District Council, Attn Anna Gilliland, Freepost 112477, PO Box 444, Masterton.
  • Hand Deliver: Speed Limits Review 2019-20, Masterton District Council, 161 Queen Street, Masterton, Attn Anna Gilliland.

Online Submissions

Complete your submission online or download a hardcopy from the related resources sidebar.

Have Your Say Hub

The hub will be open from 10 – 4 on the following days at 161 Queen Street, Masterton:

  • Friday 20 March
  • Friday 27 March
  • Friday 3 April
  • Saturday 18 April

You are welcome to come along and speak with a staff member and complete your survey either online or in hard copy.


For those wanting to formally present their views in person, a hearing will be held on Wednesday, 22 April 2020.

Want More Information?

Further information on the speed limit review is available in hardcopy from Anna Gilliland on 06 370 6300.

Summary of Proposed Changes

As a result of the review process, on 25 September 2019, MDC approved the following speed limit changes for public engagement and consultation:


AreaRoadSpeed Limit km/hr
Road NameLocation from/toCurrent Proposed
Upper Plain AreaTararua DriveFrom Upper Plain Rd to road end10080
Evans RoadEntire road10080
Skeets RoadEntire road10080
Westbush Road2.5km mark to Road end10080
Totara Park DriveEntire road10080
Upper Waingawa RoadUnsealed section10060
Upper Manaia RoadEntire road10080
Chamberlain RdExtension of 50k/h limit to accommodate future development area approximately 250m8050
CBDQueen StreetFrom North Bruce St to North of Worksop Rd5030
Bruce StreetQueen St to Dixon St5030
King StreetQueen St to SH25030
Park StreetQueen St to Dixon St including Cricket Street5030
Lincoln RoadQueen St to SH25030
Church StreetQueen St to Dixon5030
Perry StreetQueen St to SH25030
Cricket StreetEntire length5030
Bannister StreetQueen St to Dixon St5030
Jackson StreetQueen St to SH25030
Kuripuni CBDQueen StreetCrayne St to High Street (Kuripuni CBD)5030
First Street CBDFirst StreetSH2 to Cooper Street5030
School variable speed zones 40km/hr when activatedMIS, Intermediate Street, Lowes Place and Daniell StreetOn Intermediate Street includes Lowes Place and Daniell Street5040
Fernridge, Upper Plain RoadUpper Plain Road in front of the School8040
Solway, Ngaumutawa Road and Edwin Feist PlaceFrom Edwin Feist Place to just before High Street SH25040
Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Wairarapa, Wairarapa Teen Parent Unit, Makoura College, Johnsons Road and Makora RoadClyde Street to River Road including some of Makora Road5040
Douglas Park, Cole StreetKummer Crescent to Pownall St5040
Masterton Primary, South RoadTaranaki Street to Millard Ave5040
Lakeview, Colombo Rd, Te Ore Ore Rd and Churchill AveTe Ore Ore Road from Churchill Ave to just pass Colombo including some of Colombo Road5040
South Road ExtensionSouth Roadfrom RP1.575 to end of road RP2.5008050
Coastal SettlementsAll settlement roads within the Riverdale urban traffic area including Riversdale TerracesResidential Roads with Adjustment to urban traffic area10040
Riversdale RoadFrom RP 0.2.590 to RP2.230 (360m)10060
All settlement roads within Castlepoint urban traffic areaResidential Roads5040
North LansdowneArdsley LaneFrom RP0.0 to end of road RP 0.45810050
Manuka StreetFrom Milford Downs to Ardsley Lane10050
Milford DownsFrom RP0.0 to end of road RP 0.48810050
Masterton Castlepoint RoadTauweru TownshipFrom route position Mstn Castlepoint Road RP 9.604 km to RP 10.70km10080
Masterton Castlepoint Road and Te Ore Ore Road IntersectionExtend 70km/h past Te Ore Ore Bideford Rd. Align with Speed Rule 2017 and reduce the speed limit from 70km/h to 60 km/h.10060


What are the drivers for a speed limit review?

There are local and national drivers for undertaking the speed limit review. The NZTA’s new Rule and guidelines were released in 2017. This Rule (which replaces the Setting of Speed Limits Rule 2003) and accompanying guidelines, introduced changes that Council needs to follow when reviewing speed limits. The Land Transport Rule: Setting of Speed Limits 2017 (the Rule) details a number of requirements for Road Controlling Authorities in setting speed limits on their network.

The New Zealand Government in the Government Policy Statement (GPS) for Land Transport has indicated a desire to reduce road trauma on New Zealand roads by investing in road safety improvements for all road users. They have tasked all Councils with implementing safety improvements by setting safe and appropriate travel speeds, improving roads, roadsides and intersections and to do this as quickly as possible.

We have received public requests for particular roads to have their speed limits looked at by the council. It aims to reduce speeds where possible to a more safe and appropriate speed. The review is about achieving speed limits that reflect the form and function of the road network and importantly, making it safer for all road users.

How were the speed limits reviewed?

The roads under review were assessed and new limits proposed on the basis of road classification, safety risk, and the road infrastructure/environment risk. This includes things like land use, crashes, speed limits on adjoining roads, and any changes on those roads since the original speed limits were set.

The council also follows national rules, guidelines and online speed management maps for speed limits administered by the NZ Transport Agency.

Who sets speed limits?

Masterton District Council (MDC) is responsible for setting speed limits for all local roads in our district.The New Zealand Transport Agency sets speed limits forstate highways.

MDC’s speed limits are set in accordance with Land Transport Rule: Setting of speed limits 2017 and the  Wairarapa Conslidated Bylaw 2019, Part 11: Speed.


Why are rural roads included in the speed limit review?

Car crashes on rural roads make up a high proportion of serious road crashes in New Zealand. Until recently, the safety of the road environment was not taken into account when setting speed limits on New Zealand’s rural roads. To align with international best practice, the government recently changed the way speed limits were set to better reflect the safety of the environment. This change was undertaken as part of NZ road safety initiatives. For example:

• a road that is narrow and winding, or a rural area with small clusters of housing is to have a 60 km/h speed limit
• a road that is straighter and wider is to have an 80 km/h speed limit.

The speed limits on our rural roads were set under the old requirements and as a result, many need changing to comply with the government’s new requirements. It is important that speed limits on our rural network are set in the same way for consistency – so that a motorist driving across our district finds all rural road speed limits set the same.

Aren’t bad drivers the problem, not speed? Why aren’t you focusing on them?

Even the most skilled drivers make mistakes, and most drivers understand New Zealand’s roads can be challenging. Good speed management gives drivers the cues they need to judge the safe and appropriate speed for the road they’re on.

How are speed limits set?

The fundamental principle in setting speed limits for a particular length of road is that the speed limit should reflect the road safety risk to the road users while maintaining people’s ability to get to their destination with ease.

Factors taken into consideration include: crash history, road function, road user types, roadside development, road characteristics, adjoining roads, traffic mix, and the presence of vulnerable road users. Vulnerable users include pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicycle riders and horse riders.

Other factors may include the number, type and frequency of driveways and intersections which indicate potential conflict points. These potential conflict points are considered because they allow vehicles to turn across traffic where there is a chance of a severe ‘t-bone’ type of crash occurring.

Why lower a speed limit at all – haven’t we managed fine with the speed limits as they are?

Lower permanent speeds are needed to reduce the number of crashes resulting in deaths and serious injuries. A lower speed means less likelihood of loss of life or serious injury when people make mistakes. The proposed speed limits are recommended by the New Zealand Transport Agency as being safe and appropriate for that type of road. 

Going a few kilometres faster or slower doesn’t make any difference to safety does it?

It does. Speed is the difference between a correctable mistake and a fatal error. Every extra km/h increases the likelihood of someone being killed or injured in a crash. Regardless of what causes a crash, speed always plays a part.

Speed has a major influence on the survivability of crashes for pedestrians:
• at 30km/h, death occurs an average 10 per cent of the time, serious injury 15 per cent, minor injury 75 per cent
• percentages increase to 32 per cent for death at 40km/h, 26 per cent for serious injury, 50 per cent minor/slight injury
• death occurs 95 per cent of the time at 50km/h, slight injury is thus reduced to three per cent, and slight minor injury to two percent.

Slowing down will mean it takes much longer to get anywhere

Not necessarily. Research shows that going faster doesn’t save as much time as we think. Waiting or slowing down for intersections means total travel times don’t vary much, even if you drive 10 km/h faster.

Time delays as a result of the reduced speeds would be minimal:

• In Masterton CBD, Upper Plain, and coastal areas, there would be no delay.
• In Tauweru, the delay would be 3.2 seconds.
• In Te Ore Ore Road the delay would be 11.4 seconds.

Why are 70km/hr speed limits not included?

The legal requirements for speed limits (the Setting of Speed Limits Rule 2017) has changed so that setting a new 70km/h speed limit is no longer an option. This is to reduce the number of speed limits over 50km/h. With a smaller range of speed limits there will be a better understanding about which speed limit applies to the road environment.

Some of the speed limits are to be dropped from 100 km/h to 60 km/h. This seems a big drop?

While this sounds a lot, our data shows the proposed speed limits reflect the average speed traffic travels over the length of roads in question. Indeed, on some roads the travel speeds are a lot lower than the proposed speed limit.

The proposed speeds generally reflect current behaviour.

• In Masterton’s CBD (proposed speed 30km/h), the mean speed is less than 30km/h.
• In Tauweru (proposed speed 80km/h), the mean speed is 80-84km/h.
• In Castlepoint and Riversdale (proposed speed 40km/h), mean speed less than 30km/h.
• In the Upper Plain area (proposed speed 80km/h), the mean speed is 55-76km/h.
• In the Te Ore Ore Road 70km/h area (proposed speed 60km/h), the mean is 70-74km/h – action is needed here to reduce speeds.

How do I request that a speed limit be reviewed?

You can suggest a review of a speed limit at any time. It’s best to put your request in an email with the subject line ‘review speed limits’ to [email protected] or in writing to Speed Limits, Masterton District Council, Attn Anna Gilliland, Freepost 112477, PO Box 444, Masterton.


Monday 16 March 2020: Consultation opens.

Monday 20 April 2020: Consultation closes.

Wednesday 6 May 2020: Hearing – if we receive a high number of submissions an additional hearing day may be scheduled. 

Wednesday 13 May 2020: Final changes submitted to Council for adoption. 

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