Councillor accuses NZTA of 'revenue gathering' after data shows 300 percent increase in speeding tickets on rural Auckland road

A councillor has slammed Waka Kotahi (NZTA) for being more focused on "revenue gathering" than reducing serious and fatal crashes on a rural Auckland road.   

Franklin local board member Gary Holmes is frustrated at the number of speed cameras on Glenbrook and Glenbrook-Waiuku Rds following a reduction in the speed limit in 2020 from 100km/h to 80km/h.   

The road also has two speed cameras, which Holmes describes as "effectively a dead-end" - but NZTA is currently installing a further two point-to-point cameras on Glenbrook Rd East and Glenbrook Rd West, which measure average speeds. The point-to-point cameras will involve installing four cameras - two in each corridor.   

However, new NZTA data obtained under the Official Information Act (OIA) by Holmes and provided to Newshub shows despite a 300 percent increase in speeding tickets on the road since the reduced speed limit, the number of deaths and serious injuries from crashes has remained "concerningly high".   

Between 2018 and 2023, there were two fatal crashes, 11 crashes that caused serious injuries and 45 collisions where minor injuries were sustained on Glenbrook and Glenbrook-Waiuku Rds.   

But it was also revealed only 10 percent - or 12 crashes - were attributed to speeding. The rest were down to other factors, with alcohol and/or drugs the leading contributor - causing 21 crashes. Poor observations (17), poor handling (15) and incorrect lanes or position (14) were the next common.   

Holmes also obtained OIA data from the police, which shows the number of speeding tickets issued on that particular road has skyrocketed since 2019.   

In 2019, 2112 tickets were issued before surging to 9060 the following year, the data seen by Newshub showed. The number of tickets issued peaked in 2022 at 10,903 before slightly dropping in 2022 to 8574 and reducing again last year to 7439.   

The data also showed the amount of money police made from those speeding tickets. Between 2019 and 2023, police generated just more than $3.3 million on Glenbrook and Glenbrook-Waiuku Rds, with 2021 being the most lucrative year - making $963,680. This is a 343 percent increase from 2019 ($217,550).   

Holmes is worried that the installation of the new cameras will only serve to bolster the Government’s coffers rather than reducing death and serious injury crashes. 

With only 10 percent of these crashes attributed to speeding, Holmes told Newshub the significant increase in speeding tickets issued raises questions about the effectiveness of the current enforcement strategy and whether it's just a revenue gathering exercise.  

He believes the poor state of rural roads in the area was more a factor than speeding drivers.   

"I guess my question is, 'Why are they... picking this off as an easy target and not actually rolling out those cameras on State Highways and motorways and so on, where there are actually far more incidents of crashes and injuries? 

"Why are they now installing point-to-point cameras on top of what they've already got? So going from 2000 infringements a year, up to, some years it's 9000 or 10,000, but on average it's about 7000, so it can only be revenue gathering if they are now installing point-to-point cameras. How many cameras do they have to put onto this one stretch of road for goodness sake?" 

This comes after it was revealed by NZ Herald earlier this week Waka Kotahi is planning to increase the number of speed cameras on our roads from the current 150 fixed and mobile cameras to about 800. NZTA also plans to triple the number of tickets issued each year to 3 million.  

NZTA responds  

Newshub approached NZTA for a response to Holmes' comments and provided a statement saying speed cameras encourage people to drive at safe speeds, within the legal speed limit while respecting red lights. 

A NZTA spokesperson said they put speed cameras in high-risk locations to reduce deaths and serious injuries. 

"Our approach to safety cameras is deterrence first. That's why we're putting in signs, so drivers are reminded to check their speed and slow down if needed," the spokesperson told Newshub.  

"As long as people drive to the speed limit they won't receive a notice or be fined. The ideal outcome is that we catch no one because people make good safe choices." 

"Safety cameras are a tool we use to lower speed, not to generate revenue. Money from safety camera fines goes into the Government Consolidated Fund. It doesn't go directly to us." 

The spokesperson said safety cameras are just one of the tools the agency uses to improve road safety and reduce the current level of harm on Aotearoa's streets and roads.   

"All fixed safety cameras, including the average speed cameras going in on Glenbrook Rd, will be signposted giving drivers a reminder to check their speed and slow down if needed," the spokesperson told Newshub.    

"We will also sign post fixed safety cameras as they transfer over from NZ Police. The cameras going in on Glenbrook Rd are average speed cameras which means drivers are only ticketed if their average travel speed over the entire distance between the two cameras is over the limit - they can't be 'pinged' by a single camera."