Judith Collins has zero tolerance for zero tolerance campaigns

Flat Bike after accident with Truck

Flat Bike after accident with Truck

Apparently our Police minister wants more criminals caught, and fewer people fined for going 1 km/h over the speed limit.

Judith Collins said today that she’s not a big fan of zero tolerance speeding campaigns.

“never been a big fan of the absolute restrictions on speed and I think you’ll find there will be fewer police officers on the road.”

In 2013 more than 250 were killed and in 2014 the figure increased to nearly 300, while last year 321 people died in road accidents.

This year 135 people have been killed, three higher than the same time last year.

Ms Collins said a funding shakeup will mean less money to spend on road safety and 100 fewer officers on patrol.

“Police will still have funding but not for as much road policing as they had. So they’ll put that into burglaries and other things.”

I appreciate that police have targets to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads, but there is a rate of diminishing returns.  More amusingly, the numbers have been going up during the low tolerance periods.  Amusingly in the sense that catching people speeding by a small margin clearly isn’t a factor in road fatalities.

The fact it needs the Minister to pull the police’s heads out of their arses to state what we’ve all seen is a bit surprising.


– One News


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  • Vutekno

    Well the sweet voice of reason at last! But my question to the Minister is”Why did it take you so long?”

    We will see, in time, whether she is simply shaking a stick at Police or she means business. Will the rate level of road fatalities change? Will the rate of Burglary in communities change. Many will be watching I think.

    The fact that Police funding is to be redirected is a very positive move, let’s hope it is enough to wake up Police to act accordingly and not just keep on doing the same old thing that gives the same old result. She will need a sharp stick to prod the plods!

  • Really?

    Good Job.
    No-one wants road deaths, but statistically there will always be some.
    And (not sure if anyone in Auckland has noticed) but there is an ever growing number of cars on the road.
    So comparing to prior years (without factor number of cars and number of car trips) may not be a fair comparison.

  • CD

    What annoys me more than anything in this is public servants (ie Paula Rose and other Police hierarchy) continually LYING to us about the efficacy of zero and low tolerance campaigns.
    There are now plenty of fools on the road regularly (ie this is their “normal”) driving 10 and even 15km below the limit. Increasingly this happens in 50km zones. I’m utterly sick and tired of following morons at 35km around the city. This never gets addressed by the cops.

    • ex-JAFA

      Police never seem to enforce the minimum speeds, which are there to ensure drivers aren’t frustrated into doing something careless.

      If they’d just enforce the 70km/h minimum permissible speed on motorways, we’d have no more rush hour traffic jams. (That’s how it works, right?)

    • kereru

      Around our way they are timid little drivers in enormous 4WDs driving at around 47.5k in a 60k zone when the road is, for once, reasonably clear. Ensuing frustration levels are not good for the blood pressure, especially when they put their brakes on when approaching a green light.

    • kiwisnab

      People that drive down motorway onramps at 50 kays then wait for a break in the traffic to join the traffic. Terribly frustrating and dangerous – the onramp is there for you to get up to speed before joining the traffic.

  • shykiwibloke

    All road rules are important. Driving in super heavy rain 5pm last night there were numerous vehicles without headlights on, including a grey car immediately behind me. I could hardly see him. Flashed my brake and hazard lights to get his attention, no luck, he just backed right off. Which was just as well when two mins later a car turned in right behind me. If he had not backed off a bit there would have been a nasty nasty accident.

  • Seriously?

    Next thing she can work on is the positioning of speed cameras in places that are designed to catch speeders (revenue), rather than in areas known to be a safety risk.

    I like the model that has a road sign saying there are two speed cameras within the next 10km (for example), and then have the cameras well hidden and moved regularly. Do that on stretches of road where speed actually causes accidents. I’d slow down for all 10km, and if I could rely on their risk based choice of locatoins I would not be unhappy about it.

    • Rupert

      I think there should be more average speed cameras – like they have in parts of Australia – as long as you travel on average at 110kph (for example) you can go faster for bits – like when overtaking.

    • Not Clinically Insane

      The Irish model is like that. Cameras are used in known blackspots, and road safety campaigners operate them in partnership with Police

  • Jman

    Bravo Judith Collins! So good to have Crusher back on the job bringing some common sense where it is sorely needed.

  • axeman

    Amen to that. So in an area that has shortage of actual Police on the beat, i.e 4 officers on duty for a Friday & Saturday night excluding traffic this is great news. Yet last Saturday night after taking my wife out for dinner on returning home around 7.30pm we came across a check point that had at least six officers in attendance.
    To me it was clear that the resources are thrown at areas that generate income not service and protect. Although in saying that I have no beef with checkpoints.

  • Whitey

    Good on ya Crusher. It’s about time someone in parliament brought some common sense to this debate.

  • Superman

    I have never been able to work out how raising the budget for policing road safety will reduce the number of road deaths. Better roads and driver education will but not more money for traffic police. The statistics show that all the money thrown at the problem in the past has made no difference while other crimes have been neglected and allowed to escalate. Judith Collins has always been able to see the wood from the trees and speak sense even if it was not politically correct. She has got a lot of flack in the past but probably has the support of most right thinking New Zealanders. A little like Donald Trump in America.

  • R&BAvenger

    A sensible approach. An obsession with travel at the exact posted speed on the dot is nonsense. All instruments need calibration and testing and the accuracy of a vehicle’s speedometer and the speed cameras both need to have some level of tolerance.

    I don’t believe that all speedos are 100% accurate. The equipment used to measure speed by enforcement agencies do need to be accurate though and I believe they are calibrated regularly, as they should be.

    Waiting at the end of passing lanes or bottom of hills to ‘catch’ those speeding is not sensible either. I also contend that allowance for acceleration over the limit to pass slower/eratic drivers should be allowed, within the passing lanes.

    A softly, softly enforcement approach with campaigns, reminders to stop and refresh on long journeys also should continue. Promoting tolerance for being over the speed limit on it’s own has not had the desired result.

  • Graeme

    How many deaths were actually caused by “speeding”. When travelling you find that almost everyone travels at the same speed. You rarely notice anyone actally speeding. There were plenty of crashes on hte au kland motorways this morning bu i doubt if they were the result of speeding.

    • More to the point – how many were actually caused by doing 5km/he over the limit compared to the idiots that want to do 50km/he over the limit and do that regardless of zero tolerance campaigns

    • jimknowsall

      I have a theory/suspicion that many crashes are caused by slow drivers that cause frustration in others, making them attempt stupid overtaking. The police will mark this down as an accident caused by speeding or crossing the centre line etc. when in fact the ultimate cause is some selfish person who refuses to pull over and let others by. It would be interesting if some research was done in this area.

  • Garry Graham

    Good on you Judith! Cut out the revenue gathering that’s nothing to do with accidents.

  • JLS

    Not to mention that the annual road death statistic is meaningless. A much more useful figure would be fatalities per x km travelled which would give a consistent comparison as the economy, fuel prices, and population fluctuates over time. I suspect it wouldn’t suit vested interests however as it would show that the fatalities have steadily diminished as roads, vehicles and driver behaviour have improved over years, but would give us a useful measure to make sound decisions on.

    • jimknowsall

      Indeed. I also find the fascination with holiday road tolls ludicrous. What is so special about deaths in holiday periods? Are they more important than deaths during weekdays?

  • Graeme

    4 kms over the limit is just ridiculous. It is the equivalent of about 2 miles an hour which you can easily exceed on a slight downhill slope, and I mean slight.

    • jimknowsall

      True. It shows a deep ignorance about measurement, error margins and risk. More importantly, it is also dangerous as drivers resort to looking at their speedos at the expense of the road ahead.

  • SFB

    Only recently police made their presence known late at night in the Auckland CBD and trouble from the pubs and bars went down. Redeploy some from traffic and make it permanent.

  • Somnambulist

    I’m not surprised that, despite a seemingly ever increasing number of ‘zero tolerance’ periods, the road toll has gone up.

    During such periods I find myself spending too much attention on constantly looking down at my speedo to ensure I’m not drifting over the limit despite knowing I’m driving well within the weather conditions, traffic volume, numbers of pedestrians and the capabilities of the vehicle I’m driving.

    These campaigns have nothing to do with road safety and everything to do with revenue gather and pandering to the anti-car lobby.

    • Brian Smaller

      No offence but I find the “too much time looking at my speedo” thing to be utter bull dust. If you cannot glance at your speedo while keeping an eye on the road you shouldn’t be driving. It is not an either/or thing to do – look at speedo or the road – you do both at the same time.

      • jimknowsall

        Sorry, but you can only look at one or the other at any particular moment. You might maintain peripheral vision of the road whilst looking at your speedo, but that is a poor substitute. Otherwise, your assertion is a physical impossibility.

      • Dumrse

        I’m guessing your not my age, dont do my mileage and are not up against a company policy of reporting over speeds. I did 4000kms in 4 weeks last oct and I can garuntee you I took my eye OFF the road 4000 times to ensure I didn’t overspeed. You either look up or look down not both at the same time. And, as you age the time taken to refocus on the road ahead increases. Constant monitoring is a PITA.

  • Huia

    I agree with Judith Collins.
    The campaign’s are costly and are not achieving what they are supposed too.
    I wish we had never got rid of the Traffic cops, having them back would free the Police up for the real Police work.
    The real Police work then needs to have sentencing to support the efforts of the Police in bringing someone to Justice, not the wet bus ticket nonsense going on at the moment.
    As more of the softly, softly sentences are passed down ie 5 years for cold blooded torture and murder of a child, the crimes are increasing which in my book shows the softly, softly approach does not work.
    More Police are needed on the flatfoot duty and not chasing cars that are doing 10 kms over the speed limit.
    Too silly for words and the priorities have all gone A about Face.

  • jimknowsall

    It takes a brave person to raise this issue. It is all too easy for opponents to bring forth the grieving widow/mother in order to argue for ever lower or more harshly enforced limits.

  • PersonOfColor:WHITE

    Its ironic that if you are 5k over the limit, you WILL be caught, but if you FLEE at much more than that, you will get away…..let’s clamp down on those who are egregious rather than those eager to get somewhere.

    • old school

      Lets make sure the law breakers are punished. That will go a long way to helping.

  • jimknowsall

    Many of the speed limits in NZ are bizarre. How can it be right that a windy, single lane, unsealed rural residential road has a speed limit of 100, but a well constructed, arrow straight dual carriageway with hard shoulder, and side and centre line crash barriers has a limit of 90 or even 80?

  • RobT

    Got caught at Christmas on holiday in Whangarei just the tad over 50kph. $30.00 fine ho hum ..bugger! Trouble was I was in a rental car, so they hooked me via my credit card another $35 for their bother of passing on my details to the Police…..ouch!! So a minor glitch on my behalf turned into a good smack in face and bank A/c. Nice way to treat tourists…not!

  • kloyd0306

    4 kph over in a 50k area is an 8% transgression while 4 kph over in a 100k area is a 4% transgression.

    It’s past time for a percentage grace area of say 10%.

    Someone as reasonable as Crusher might even suggest that to the Revenue Gatherers, otherwise known as the Police.

    • sheppy

      In the UK it used to be 10% + 2 so 35 in a 30MPH area, which is 57KM in a 50, and below the +10KMh we have here. On the open road that would equate to 112 in a 100. In reality you were OK on the motorway below 86 (137KMh) a speed which many in NZ law enforcement circles think would result in an immediate appearance of the grim reaper riding shotgun with the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse.
      10% +2 would make a lot more sense than our variable upon the season nonsense.

  • biscuit barrel

    Not sure of this as Police get $960 million for road safety funding. Total police funding is about twice that. So still plenty of tickets

    “Newshub has uncovered a dispute between Police and the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) over $26 million for road safety funding in which the road toll is at stake.
    Police have asked for $986 million for funding, but NZTA came back and recommended just $960 million.
    “The $26 million covers $1.5 million to replace the ticketing system, another $4.7 million for speed cameras $5.6 million for replacing old lasers, radars and breath testing devices, and $14.3 million just to maintain the current staffing, equipment and technology to keep up with road safety targets.”

    Seems like Bridges has been butting heads with Collins and has won out-( more details in budget)
    “These negotiations usually happen behind closed doors. Instead the Police and Transport Ministers are disagreeing in public which is rare and even the Commissioner is jumping in.” Newshub says

  • Paul Marsden

    The only tangible contribution the police have made to reducing the road toll over the years, is enforcing the drink drive limit. (compulsory seat belt wearing also another). However, the only real, tangible contribution to the reduction from the road tolls of the mid 1970’s to the present day, are the engineering advancements in the design of the automobile

  • Andy

    The thing is police catch a lot of other people when they do random checks: burglars, drunken drivers, stolen vehicles, people wanted for arrest …

    • Shane Ponting

      You could use that argument for warrantless tapping, the response is that liberty is not worth trading anything for.