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Police Minister 'not a big fan of absolute restrictions on speed'

Deaths on New Zealand's roads are increasing but the number of police patrolling the highways is dropping - however, the Police Minister doesn't seem too worried.

Judith Collins said today that she's not a big fan of zero tolerance speeding campaigns.

"never been a big fan of the absolute restrictions on speed and I think you'll find there will be fewer police officers on the road."

In 2013 more than 250 were killed and in 2014 the figure increased to nearly 300, while last year 321 people died in road accidents.

This year 135 people have been killed, three higher than the same time last year.

Ms Collins said a funding shakeup will mean less money to spend on road safety and 100 fewer officers on patrol.

"Police will still have funding but not for as much road policing as they had. So they'll put that into burglaries and other things."

The reduction in road policing worries Police Association president Greg O'Connor who said Aotearoa is one of the few countries to record an increase in road deaths.

Last year's budget also saw the road safety programme cut by $5 million, from more than $320 million to $315 million.

But the Government has put an extra $8 million into new speed cameras.

"Every driver knows that if you don't see police then you driving activities are going to be influenced," Mr O'Connor said, adding the workload has increased in other policing areas.

Police Minister Judith Collins was not giving away any secrets ahead of Thursday's Budget.

However, she did say the road policing budget was increasing by about six and a half per cent between 2015 and 2018.

Labour Party police spokesman Stuart Nash argued when adjusting for increasing costs the police budget has been cut by 12 per cent.

"The bottom line is if you want to save lives you can't cut budgets," he said.

The Police Association says NZ’s increasing number of road deaths means we can’t afford to reduce patrolling cops. Source: 1 NEWS