Road deaths dominate Beehive news

With the Government in holiday mode there is not much information coming out of the Beehive ‘latest news’ at this time of year, apart from releases on the rod toll.

Provisional figure for 2018 road deaths

Police Minister Stuart Nash has extended his sympathies to the families and friends of the 380 people who died in vehicle accidents during 2018.

Mr Nash has confirmed the provisional number of road deaths for 2018 has exceeded the annual toll for 2017, when 378 people lost their lives. It is the worst annual figure since 2009, when 384 people were killed.

The provisional figures show fatalities are made up of the following demographics:

  • 49 per cent were the driver of the vehicle and 24 per cent were passengers
  • 14 per cent were motorbike riders or pillion passengers
  • 11 per cent were pedestrians
  • Just over one per cent were cyclists
  • 66 per cent were male and 34 per cent were female
  • 28 per cent were in the sixty-plus age group
  • 14 per cent were children or teenagers
  • 13 per cent were aged between 20 and 24 years
  • 48 per cent died in crashes on the open road on state highways
  • The region with the largest share of fatalities was Waikato at 17 per cent; followed by Auckland and Canterbury with 14 per cent each; and Manawatu/Wanganui on 12 per cent

More information is on the Ministry of Transport website:

Two thirds of deaths were men. Motorbikes are relatively dangerous.

Waikato is the most dangerous region. Interesting to see the toll less in Auckland, although a lot of the roads in Auckland are either motorways with separated lanes or urban streets.

Curiously the Canterbury toll is high, but the Otago toll is low, with most deaths on State Highway 1 north and south of Dunedin.

This toll has since increased to 382 –Death in hospital lifts 2018 road toll (ODT) A man injured in a Nelson car crash last month has died – taking last year’s road toll up to 382.

Let’s make 2019 different and take care on our roads

After another tragic year on New Zealand roads, Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter is emphasising Government’s commitment to improving the country’s road safety record.

“It is staggering and unnecessary loss of life – equivalent in scale to a major airline crash,” said Julie Anne Genter.

“It is yet another reminder of the need to make substantial improvements to road safety in New Zealand.

“Many deaths and serious injuries on our roads are preventable.”

‘Are preventable’ keeps getting trotted out with deaths – of course road deaths are ‘preventable’, if no one used cars, or if ten times as much was spent improving road safety. Banning motorbikes would prevent deaths, as would banning male drivers.

This Government is committed to reducing deaths and serious injuries through new thinking, more funding and prioritised action.

“The Government is investing $1.4 billion over three years to make urgent safety improvements across our high-risk roads. On high volume state highways New Zealanders can expect to see more improvements like life-saving median and side barriers and crash-preventing rumble strips.

“This year we will be consulting the public on a new road safety strategy and action plan to drive substantial improvements in road safety in New Zealand,” said Julie Anne Genter.

Road safety is a good thing to invest in. Accidents and deaths have a major impact on many people and families.

Too many people killed over Christmas

The official holiday period has ended with nine people tragically killed in crashes on New Zealand roads. This is three people fewer than the 12 who died last holiday season.

Much of the previous release was repeated.

More information

Using roads or streets is one of the biggest risks we take in our lives. Because we travel so much it is easy to take safety for granted.

Unfortunately some deaths are caused by others at no fault of the victims – there is nothing much we can do about this but support Government expenditure on safety measures, and hope like hell it doesn’t happen to ourselves.


Nation: road safety and median barriers

Roads and cars have evolved into high risk arrangements, designed for us to legally whiz past each other at 100 km per hour with a barely a metre separation. It is no wonder there are some horrific accidents.

This morning on Newshub Nation:

This is a complex issue that is difficult to deal with, within a budget.

The letter that was tabled in Parliament about how Shane Reti threatens Alex Wright – Andrew Blake #3

There’s been some controversy in Northland with people from a ‘dusty roads’ group (Pipiwai Titoki Advocacy for Community Health & Safety Group) and National MPs involving emails and a recorded phone call between Alex Wright and Whangarei MP Shane Reti.

Andrew Blake wrote the emails, and has provided copies and comments.

No 3 is what Alex (and I ) wrote to Shane
Alex was absolutely stunned by the phone call by Reti who she has never met here though there was a previous email from his secretay a month or so back warning Alex off the bye election (and immediately a call by Reti to say forget that email….was never meant etc.)

It is  addressed that email to Shane  because I had already had a long correspondence with Mike Sabin that  literally made me ill …he was so evasive and clearly had no interest in his electors. And I thought that we were in for more of that from Shane Reti…but this time with ”threats”” What is incredibly sad is that one month back Alex made a speech to WDC at the Pipiwai Marae saying that “”we have Shane Reti on board with us””

Both Shane and Mike said they would help” in secret”” (Ask how often minutes are c kept of our meeting with Council.Never!)

The whole thing is about what people read…… not so much from the words …..but the context and ”body language”. The Overall opinion is that Shane tried to warn off a community group.

A much more interesting opinion of 100% of people I have talked to…… is that “”he was put up to it by National.””.  Such is the faith in this Government now.

Email #3

Date: Wed, 18 Mar 2015 12:04:45 +1300
Subject: The letter that was tabled in Parliament about how Shane Reti threatens Alex Wright?

The letter below  to Shane Reti  was tabled in Parliament today by Labours Phil Twyford Shadow Transport Secretary  after he had verified  Shane Reti MP threatening Alex  in which Shane Reti was objecting to a previous
letter “‘How Northland is Actively Neglected in Mike Sabins electorate”

In Parliament yesterday.

Hon PHIL TWYFORD : Has he (Simon Bridges) been advised that the Pipiwai Tītoki Advocacy for Community Health and Safety Group, which is campaigning to get more money spent sealing Northland roads, allegedly received a
threatening phone call from his colleague Shane Reti telling it to tone down its demands or it would not get what it wanted?

Hon SIMON BRIDGES : I am not aware of that. I am aware of the general project. It is one that I think does need looking at. Of course, if we did that, the other side would accuse us of pork-barrel politics. On this side of the House we have got strong voices inside Government who can make a difference on projects that matter to people in the north.

Hon PHIL TWYFORD : I seek leave of the House to table the email from the Pipiwai Tītoki Advocacy for Community Health and Safety Group—

Mr SPEAKER : Leave is sought—[Interruption] Order! I will put the leave. Leave is sought to table that particular email. Is there any objection? There is none. It can be tabled.

Document, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.

From Alex Wright to Shane Reti

“”Dr Shane Reti
National Party
Whangarei Electorate.

Dear Dr Reti

Thank you for taking the time to call me on Wednesday 11 March 2015. However, your phone call has left me worried and confused.

Firstly, Mr Andrew Blake writes his own emails on his behalf not for the Pipiwai Titoki Advocacy for Community Health and Safety Group.

Mr Blake was extremely frustrated by his contacts with Mr Mike Sabin last year and before that with Mr Phil Heatley also.

Secondly, there is no one here, in the Pipiwai Titoki Advocacy for Community Health and Safety Group, threatening anyone.

You made mention in your phone call to me that there is a threatening behaviour coming through from our Group.

The only threatening behaviour that we can tell is from what you said in the phone call, “ if we continue down the path we are taking then we will get nothing”.

If you talk to people in Northland you will hear repeated much of what Mr Blake says about how Northland is starved of our fair share of funds and how support in Parliament by our sitting Members of Parliament is lacking.

People here are puzzled as to why you, a Doctor and well known for your free clinic to the people of Pipiwai, have not given the support to what is now seen by the voters in this Electorate, the Media, Police and even the Councils as an effective campaign to alert New Zealand to a Health and now a Road Safety Hazard on our roads with the high density of log truck passes?

We have support from the Northland District Health Board and other agencies and we are now waiting for your support.

Please note that the number of passes used by Government as a standard was derived long before the World Health Organisation reports on Pm10 particles came out. The dust lingers in the air after the traffic has passed and is a proven carcinogen.

All this is accepted now and documented. Jan Wright of the Parliamentary Commission for the Environment can verify this.

As someone as yourself,  who knows these roads and the conditions that people live in here.

Do you support that Road Dust especially Pm10 as described in the World Health Organisation reports and Dr Jonathan Jarman’s report has the potential to become a Health and Safety risk for road side residents where there is a high density of log trucks passing over unsealed roads?

Please note that no one here has any interest in bridges. The National Northland Candidate, Mark Osbourne was laughed out of the Kaikohe RSA the other night on that one.

Our Communities sole interest is to have our Unhealthy and Unsafe Roads sealed.

You have given our Group no clear written assurances for our requests of help for our roading issues. Why is this and when can we expect to have something in writing from you?

It is almost like you have been stone walled by your own Party. At least in the interim our Group has had the honour of you taking the time to make two phone calls to speak with me regarding our Unsafe and Unhealthy roading issues.

May our Group remind you that, you were elected to represent the people who voted you in to make our Communities a safer and healthy place for living in.

The Pipiwai Titoki Advocacy Group has been given new information that your National Government will not offer any financial assistance to the Whangarei District Council to seal our Unsafe and Unhealthy unsealed roads.

Without any written information to the contrary from you it will mean without any doubt this new information is correct.

Dr Reti, can you please lend us your very much esteemed support to our campaign on, Road Dust being a Hazard to the  Health and Road Safety to Motorists and Roadsiders.

Your agreed support will follow and accompany documents to the Police, New Zealand Transport Agency and both the Whangarei District and Northland Regional Councils.

We ask for your support by reply to this email. Obviously and without threat, “No” will be the public understanding as the answer by default if you chose not to reply.

On behalf of the Pipiwai Titoki Advocacy for Community Health and Safety Group we will anticipate your reply email by Wednesday 18 March 2015.

Thank you.
Yours sincerely,

Alex Wright.
Spokesperson for the Pipiwai Titoki Advocacy for Community Health and
Safety Group

How Northland is Actively Neglected in Mike Sabins electorate – Andrew Blake email #2

There’s been some controversy in Northland with people from a ‘dusty roads’ group (Pipiwai Titoki Advocacy for Community Health & Safety Group) and National MPs involving emails and a recorded phone call between Alex Wright and Whangarei MP Shane Reti.

Andrew Blake wrote the emails, and has provided copies and comments.

No 2 was the second one that Shane objected to and rants on about neglect in Northland and how it is “”organised neglect.”” .ie the Nat Govt trying to save money by ”shortchanging ” us on or roading needs. It is again not addressed to Shane specifically……. but to all Parliament etc

Email #2

Date: Wed, 11 Mar 2015 16:36:46 +1300

Subject: How Northland is Actively Neglected in Mike Sabins electorate.

Northlands MPs might seem to be  helping the  Goverment in Wellington shortchange Northland Electorates .?
Despite a vigorous  two year campaign,…….it has proved impossible to pin down either of
Northlands National MPs to commit to helping with   Roading, Health and Safety matters.?.

When asked to intercede with Councils for some  compliance with national directives on Health and Safety for instance, our Northland MPs insist they cannot ”interfere” with ”the working of Local Council”

By insisting that  they owe more loyalty to their Party than to the people who elected them…..(and despite being asked to do so several times)…….our Northland MPs choose NOT to question…. or protest in Parliament about:

1)How inadequate the Road Funding is that allocated to Northland by NZTA;

2)How Road User Charges are diverted to other regions such as Waikato by both Government and Business;

3) How our Councils WDC and NRC are in blatant breach of Environment Law and the Resource Consent Act in terms of the Air Pollution on our Unsealed Roads.

Requests to help with any of these matters gets some very devious answers. Both Northland MPs have used  ……the word ”secrecy” …ie they insist they can only help their voters ”in secret”..

Our MPs  also  seem loath to venture opinions on Northland in Wellington  ….except where it interacts with  ”Roads of National Importance”

Which is fine if you live near SH1 between Warkworth as far as the Bay of Islands but rather sad if you live on Dirt Roads, Narrow Rds, Unmaintained Rds …and until last week…..those places needing Wider Bridges

Despite being not allowed to interact with local Councils. Our MPs  DO turn up  in public alongside Government Ministers when our Council launches “Glamour projects” in Whangarei eg  such as the new and misfunctioning  swing bridge.

And  our MPs do meet informally with Council at  e.g the Mayoral Forum and elsewhere.
Is it in such ways that the Northland Councils get the message of what is expected of them by Govt.?
It seems to Northlanders that sometimes our  MPs behave more like Political Commissars than Representatives of the People?

And Now….
With one MP out of action…  the National Govt has  an even  better way of controlling democracy in our local Councils in Northland.

All you  need is for one of the Commissioners for the Kaipara to sit on Northland Regional Council meetings.

With a decision on the Northland Unitary Authority  looming … might seem that such a representative of the Commissioners for Kaipara is referred to (and deferred to?) in all matters ……and that such a person often has strong views on what is ALLOWED by Govt; eg on Roads and Air Pollution matters

“Dust and Unsealed Rds in Northland are a NO-GO as far as funding is concerned.”
(We get this information before the submissions process is complete)

Anyone who knows Northland does not need to be told how passionately most of our local Council members  and Whangarei businessmen get in behind our National MPS  and support  Central Goverment in any way that will save expense on infrastructure on RURAL NORTHLAND.

A perfect example is the way logging interests drive rough shod over all humanitarian concerns and seem to control the  vote in all Roading matters.

In  Northland it seems that up until now our Electoral Process has been just a plaything for the National Party.
Can we hope that a new MP will change things?