Lower speed limits – consultants ZQN7 wrote report, no NZTA requirement

by Peter Newport - Oct 20, 2020

The consulting company ZQN7, at the centre of a Crux investigation into QLDC spending, produced the report that resulted in controversial lowered 40kmh speed limits all over the district.

Ruth Stokes of ZQN7 - wrote the speed limit bylaw review for QLDC with Jendi Paterson

QLDC has explained this morning that the ZQN7 report, part of a bigger $500,000 body of consulting work looking at various bylaws, made recommendations around lower speed limits that were then looked at by another group of consultants – Abley.

A social media storm has erupted over the new lower speed limits with Wanaka councillor Quentin Smith reported as saying the lower speed limits were an NZTA requirement. Speaking to Crux this morning Councillor Smith said that the NZTA reference came to him from QLDC managers – not from NZTA.

Seeking to clarify the issue, council comms people are saying that NZTA only makes recommendations around speed limits but does not issue requirements.

Our technical specialists (Abley) used a mix of approaches to get insight on our local roads including reviewing local data (vehicles counts, crash data, speed infringements to name a few), desktop research on existing plans and legislation, community requests, stakeholder engagement.   This data is then fed into the speed management guide model which recommends a safe speed for a road. “  

“ZQN7 completed the bylaw review which involves making recommendations on whether to revoke, review or renew the bylaw, the structure of the bylaw, drafting the content (factoring in technical expertise) and overseeing the formal consultation and hearing process. “

Rebecca Pitts – Senior QLDC Communication Advisor

Councillor Quentin Smith - "reservations" over lower speed limits. He says the NZTA speed limit requirement reference came from QLDC staff.

Councillor Smith confirmed today that he had reservations about some of the limits saying that they were not practical and that motorists would have trouble observing the limits.

He added though that the ZQN7 process did at least make it easier now for speed limits to be changed more frequently – potentially back up to a higher speed limit.

The QLDC comms team also provided the following information:

“There is a lot of information about the technical assessment in the findings report which formed part of the consultation material for the Speed Limits Bylaw review.   You can read it here:  https://letstalk.qldc.govt.nz/43770/widgets/234053/documents/99433

“There is also a lot of information provided in the public agenda reports which outline the information our elected members use to make decisions on behalf of the community.  In particular item 11 on 7 March 2019 and item 2 on 8 August 2019.  Full Council agendas are accessible here: https://www.qldc.govt.nz/your-council/council-documents/agendas-minutes/full-council#2019

NZTA did not respond to a Crux request for comment.

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