The Kapiti and Horowhenua mayors say several fatal accidents in the past few days on S.H.1 are ‘totally unacceptable to the communities of Kapiti and Horowhenua.’
Local Mayors Michael Feyen and K. Gurunathan and are demanding an effective and immediate response from NZTA before the heavy holiday traffic heads north.
“That means now’. say both Mayors.
Three of the deaths occurred on sections of highway that NZTA would claim have had ‘safety improvements’ carried out in the recent past – at Ohau and the Waikawa Beach turnoff on the Manakau straight. Local people are of the view and have tried to make NZTA understand that in fact the Waikawa turnoff is now more dangerous than before.
On the community’s behalf the mayors are seeking an urgent meeting with NZTA’s Senior Leadership Team to find a way to make changes before there are more fatalities.
Mayors Feyen and Guru believe that it is not simply a matter of reducing the speed limit, rather it is a case of making physical safety improvements. NZTA have publicly stated that they will fund and build them but it is imperative that this is done immediately with a clear start date.
“These recent tragic accidents continue the observation of former coroner Philip Comber who noted that, over the past 25 years, the roads had become ‘a killing field marked like a battlefield with white crosses’. ” said Mayor Gurunathan
“I want to appeal directly to Transport Minister Phil Twyford to step in as this systemic killing field scenario is contrary to his Government’s stated GPS priority on safety.
People in Otaki are vulnerable because for their access to a lot of their services they are forced to travel north to Levin and Palmerston North. Otaki residents rushing to access health services have to negotiate through this killing fields.”
“There are numerous improvements that can be delivered by NZTA right now that will make an immediate difference. None of these are excessively costly in the greater scheme of things. What price can be put on human life” said Mayor Feyen.
“NZTA have to accept that the local communities have had enough and further delays are not an option.”