Outrage as Dunedin Council spends $40k on street makeover in response to COVID-19

Dunedin residents say their city council is "going dotty" after a carnival facelift to the central city prompted by COVID-19.

Four-hundred and fifty coloured circles have been painted along the main street with the speed limit lowered to 10km/h. People could be forgiven for thinking there's a carnival on in Dunedin.

It's the city council's response to social distancing.

"I think it's good spacing - you can actually see how far away you have to stand away from someone," one woman told Newshub.

"It's a bit like Twister on the road," another said. "Very colourful, but distracting I think."

Some think the dots represent a viral outbreak, or as former MP Katherine Rich wrote on Twitter, a Matrix-style choice between "taking the blue pill or the red pill".

The speed limit in the shared zone has been cut to just 10km/h - slower than a bicycle. Mayor Aaron Hawkins claims the plan is to encourage people back into the central city.

"If we do nothing and businesses fail, we will be blamed for not trying hard enough. If we do this and businesses fail, this action will be blamed," Hawkins said.

Retailer Brent Weatherall is slamming the makeover as "a knee jerk reaction driven by ideology".

"It's slowed up business," said Weatherall, of the Central Dunedin Business Group.

Speed bumps and more speed limit signs are also going to be installed - the makeover costing $40,000.

"[I'm] not impressed at all," one woman told Newshub.

"I think it's an absolute joke really," another said. "When there's people going out of business, self-employed people struggling for work, just to waste money on that now to me is just ridiculous."