Speed limit backlash

Sign of the times: It's back to the original limits in Arrowtown

The blame game’s begun over Queenstown’s botched speed limit trials.

Police are having to trawl through years of speeding tickets after informing the council several reduced speed limit trials around the district were unenforceable.

Any fines found to be invalid will be cancelled and fees refunded. If demerit points have been given, they will be removed from the driver licence record by NZ Transport Agency.

Six roads around the district, including Arthurs Point Road, plus Arrowtown, will revert back to their original speeds.

For Arrowtown, that means going from 40km to 50km, while Arthurs Point returns to 70km from 50km. While saying he doesn’t want to “play the blame game”, Arrowtown ward council-lor Scott Stevens then goes on to lay blame for the “embarrassing” situation squarely at the feet of NZTA.

“At a regional level NZTA gave us the go-ahead, now nationally they’ve pulled that,” he says.

“It’s always a struggle working with national partners at a local government level.

“It’s very disappointing.”

He says Arrowtowners were happy with the reduced speed limit, and the trial was a “valuable” chance to try it out.

“It was extremely successful, from an Arrowtown point of view. It’s unfortunate the infringements came up against bureaucracy.”

In a statement, acting road policing operations manager Inspector Mike Brooklands says police are working through identifying locations of incorrect signage and the timeframes they were in place.

Then comes the mammoth task of reviewing fines to identify any that are potentially invalid.

“This will take time,” Brooklands says.

“It is important that police are thorough with this process to ensure we don’t miss any notices that need to be rectified.”

Asked if council had apologised to police for the extra workload, comms advisor Rebecca Pitts says police and council “have been in constant communication on this issue”.

“QLDC have provided a response of which NZ Police accepted.”

Neither NZTA nor Queenstown’s mayor Jim Boult responded to requests for comment.