Govt to take a 'more ambitious' approach to road safety with $800m urgently needed in road improvements

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The government is intending to take a "more ambitious" approach to road safety, after a 2015 evaluation of New Zealand's roads was released. 

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Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter said in a press release today the independent evaluation showed "the lack of a set of national targets for significant reductions in road fatalities and serious injuries is having an effect on the safety experienced by road users in New Zealand". 

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Transport Minister Phil Twyford has also revealed NZTA told him there is $800 million needed in urgent safety improvements on roads needed.

Mr Twyford said 160 lives could probably be saved with those improvements in place.

"Without an actual target for reducing deaths and serious injuries you risk arriving at the absurd conclusion that your strategy is 'on-track' even when you're not seeing any improvement", Ms Genter said. 

"While the evaluation identifies important progress made under the previous government, it also raised concerns that 'there was not a strong political champion for road safety' nor a 'political mandate' for senior executives to make change in contentious road safety areas'."

"That's something I intend to change," Ms Genter said.

"This report makes a number of useful recommendations that will feed into the development of a new road safety strategy as well as this year's road safety work programme. 

According to NZTA statistics, there has been 119 deaths on New Zealand roads since January 1, 2018, compared to 107 for the same period of time last year. 

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