Up to $120,000 to be spent on repairing vandalised speed cameras in Auckland

An eyewatering $120,000 could be spent on repairing vandalised speed cameras in Auckland, official data has revealed.

Four camera sites have been hit by vandals in New Zealand last month, all of them in Auckland. One each were on Ostrich Road and Glenbrook Road in the rural south and two were on Matakana Road, near Warkworth.

The speed cameras in the south have been particularly unpopular since speed limits on key roads in the Franklin area were lowered from 100km/h to 80km/h in 2020.    

This led to a 300 percent increase in tickets issued on Glenbrook Rd alone.

Residents of the community of Franklin commended the actions of the vandals on social media, asking them to "keep it coming". 

But while residents celebrated the vandalism, the repair costs would come straight out of ratepayers’ pockets.

Figures sent to Newshub under the Official Information Act show New Zealand Transport Agency Waka Kotahi (NZTA) estimate the cost of repairing the damage at each site will cost between $20,000 to $30,000, amounting to a total of up to $120,000.

This is compared to three camera sites needing to be repaired between June 2023 and December 2023. They included Papakura-Clevedon Road, Ostrich Road and Dairy Flat Highway.

NZTA estimated the total cost to repair these cameras as approximately $25,000. This is an estimate as the repair costs are spread across different cost centres and are not specifically allocated to a camera site, the agency said.

Responsibility for safety cameras transferred from NZ Police to NZTA which means, prior to June 2023, the agency has not received any repair costs.

A Waiuku local, who wished to remain anonymous, told Newshub last month he expected more cameras to be cut down.

"I wouldn't be surprised if more cameras are cut down - people are so angry at the abuses of power that they are finally starting to fight back. And I can guarantee if anyone is seen cutting down a camera they are not going to be reported to the police," the local said.

It comes after Franklin local board member Gary Holmes in February accused NZTA of being more focused on "revenue gathering" than reducing serious and fatal crashes in the area.    

Holmes was frustrated at the number of speed cameras on Glenbrook and Glenbrook-Waiuku Roads following the 2020 speed limit reduction despite data finding the numbers of deaths and serious injuries from crashes in the area remaining "concerningly high".   

In response to the vandalism of the cameras NZTA told Newshub last month it "is disappointing that people are putting themselves and others at risk by choosing to vandalise safety cameras".

The agency said responding to this type of vandalism is a "waste of limited road maintenance funds that can be better deployed to keep our roads safe and well maintained".