Speed limit reviews

  • Project scheduleOngoing
An image of the road with Slow written on road surface.

As part of the Road to Zero National Road Safety Strategy, we're reviewing speed limits in the Whangārei District.

We are doing this in a staged process, focusing on areas where there is evidence that changing the speed limit will make the most difference.

Our goal is to improve the overall road safety to reduce serious harm and fatal crashes. We also need to match new speed limits with the road environment.

Current changes

New speed limits are being implemented in the Waipu and Langs beach area. This is being undertaken in a two-stage process - the first group of speed limits came into force on 20 October 2022, the second group speed limits are coming into force on 12 December 2022.

Location New speed limit

St Marys Road

  • from approximately 180m south of Somners Way to end

60 kph

Glenmohr Road

  • from Massey Rd to State Highway 1

60 kph

South Road

  • from existing 50kph boundary to 200m north of Rhu Arden Road

60 kph

Rhu Arden Road, Ryan Road, Harwood Road, Waionehu Road, North Camp Road, Sealladh-nui Heights and Artillery Road

60 kph

Glenmohr Road

  • from South Road to Massey Road

80 kph

South Road

  • from 200m north of Rhu Arden Rd to end

80 kph

Cove Road in Waipu Cove

  • from approx. 50m south of ST Anne Rd to approx. 250m south of The Cove Cafe and beach carpark area

30 kph

Cove Road (Waipu Cove)

  • from approx. 250m of ST Anne Rd to the campground approx. 50m south of ST Anne Rd

40 kph

Cove Road (Langs Beach)

  • from 60m South of Waterman Dr to approx. 100m south of Hector Land Drive

40 kph

Seascape Crescent, Riverview Place, Hamon Rd, Johnson Point Rd, ST Anne Rd, Taranga Rd, Wairahi Rd, Lang Rd, Hector Lang Drive, Anderson Place, Breadalbane Place, Highland Lass Place, Gazelle Way, Seacrest Boulevard

40 kph

Cove Road

  • from the current 50kph northern boundary to 60m south of Waterman Drive

50 kph

Cullen Road, Aqua View Drive, Bream Tail Rd, Cove Road from Waipu Cove to Langs Beach and from Langs Beach to Mangawhai

60 kph

Cove Road

  • from Waipu to Waipu Cove

80 kph

What's next?

We will be preparing a new Regional Speed Management Plan under the Setting of Speed Limits Rule 2022. This Regional Plan will review all the catchment areas that have not yet been reviewed, including the Tutukākā Coast and speed limits outside schools.

We expect to commence community engagement at the end of 2023.  

Setting of Speed Limits Rule 2022

A new Setting of Speed Limits Rule (2022) came into force on 19 May 2022. The new Rule creates a new focus on speed management and promotes a region-wide approach to setting safe and appropriate speeds on both the local and State Highway network.

There are a number of changes to how we review and set new speed limits, including:

  • A new National Speed Limit Register (NSLR)  
  • New Speed Management Plans
  • New rules for setting speed limits around schools
  • New Speed Limit Areas

The setting of Speed Limits Rule 2022 can be viewed online: 

Land Transport Rule - Setting of Speed Limits 2022

Completed reviews

A review of speed limits along Cove Road, including Waipu Cove, Langs Beach and the Districts beaches has now been completed. The Recommendations Report was adopted on 28 October 2021 and can be viewed below:

Recommendations Report - Waipu South, Langs Beach (Urban) and District Beaches(PDF, 1MB)

Detailed design and implementation is now underway, with new signage being installed. The new signs will remain covered until the new speed limits come into force.


Changes to speed limits came into force in Waipu township, Ruakākā, One Tree Point and Vinegar Hill on 1 August 2021.

Changes include: 

  • Waipu CBD (The Centre Road) from Nova Scotia Drive to St Mary’s Road reduced to 30km/h to improve pedestrian safety
  • Most urban roads in Waipu, Ruakākā and One Tree Point reduced to 40km/h
  • Marsden Point Road from State Highway 1 to Sime Road reduced to 50km/h; Sime Road to State Highway 15A reduced to 60km/h
  • Vinegar Hill Road reduced to 60km/h. 

Changes to the speed limit on Langs Beach where vehicles are not prohibited, came into force on 10 December 2021. The new speed limit on the beach is 20km/h. 

Why are we reviewing speed limits?

We are reviewing speed limits as part of a nationwide Road Safety Strategy that is aimed at reducing fatal and serious harm crashes on our roads. The Strategy recognises that New Zealand has one of the highest rates of road fatalities in the developed world. Northland has the highest rate of serious injury and fatal crashes in New Zealand. 

The Road to Zero, National Road Safety Strategy, promotes a Safe System approach that promotes:

  • Improved driver education, behaviour, and skills
  • Improving the road network by making it safer
  • Improving the safety of vehicles using the road
  • Addressing unsafe speeds

Speed Limits are one area that we can address now and have an immediate impact on reducing serious injury and fatal crashes.

Surviving a crash

A slower speed limit will significantly reduce the chance of you having a crash.  If you are involved in a crash, a slower speed limit will dramatically increase the chances that you will walk away.

Wherever a speed limit has been lowered, or better matched to the road environment, we have recorded a reduction in the number of crashes and the severity of those crashes that do occur.

If you are in a head on collision at 100km/h the chances of surviving are about 5% -10%, but in the same collision driving at 80km/h your chance of survival rises to about 80%.

Journey times

It is surprising how little the overall journey time is affected by a lower speed limit that reflects the safe and appropriate speed for the road environment. 

Most drivers travel much slower than the posted speed limit on our local rural roads. This is because the road may have many corners, is narrow or unsealed. Most people naturally go slower in these circumstances. In our urban areas, your average journey speed ranges between 26km/h and 33km/h, and even slower during peak times in some of our Northland towns.  

In Northland, many of our journeys on local roads are relatively short, with a typical journey being between 5km and 10km. This is because we tend to use the State Highway Network to reach more distant destinations.

Setting a safe and appropriate speed will reduce the top end of the speed spectrum, but will not normally impact on the average speed most people drive at. This creates a much safer driving environment for everyone.