Councillors reveal family tragedies during debate on slower speeds

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Apr 16, 2024 |


Christchurch City Councillors have recounted harrowing personal tragedies during a debate on slower speeds.

In a close vote, Council decided to pause the hearing panel process on the reduction of speed limits, following a recommendation by staff to wait for further governmental guidance.

Councillor Sara Templeton said at council’s last hearing on speed management, around school speeds, there were many submissions asking for more streets to be made safe through slower speeds.

“We’ve had six families grieving unnecessarily and 80 hugely impacted by suffering so far, this financial year, and likely more to come.

“What if those injured or killed were killed by others’ mistakes? And what about those who had a chance to stop it and did nothing? We all need to play our part.”

Councillor Sam MacDonald accused Templeton of getting personal, pointing out, “inevitably you’re always going to have tensions and changes when governments change, but the government has come through and has been quite clear on what they’re looking at and directing.

“We’re still committed to having the hearings panel, but we want them to have as much information as possible before we proceed with that.”

Councillor Jake McLellan disagreed. “We’re still the road controlling authority. We have a responsibility to the people of Christchurch to do as we see fit and in a way that keeps them and their children safe.”

Councillor Melanie Coker said “the only reason anyone would want to pause or stop hearings is because they don’t agree with implementing safer speeds. It’s quite simple.

“This is a once in a lifetime chance to have safer speeds right throughout our city. Let’s be bold and brave and take it now.”

Councillor Kelly Barber said “I’d like to take the drama out of the argument. It seems desperate to rush this through. To me it makes sense to wait. I’d like to hear from the government first. I don’t see the need to rush it through.”

Councillor Tim Scandrett voiced his ongoing support for safety measures: “I am an advocate and always have been for slow speeds and I take exception being told that if I vote one way or the other I’m for danger on roads. I will be supporting the staff recommendation, because I think it must be done properly and done with the correct information.”

Councillor Mark Peters referenced his personal tragedy. “My family very well knows the tragedy of losing loved ones. My parents were killed in a car crash 30 years ago, so to try and make me feel poor for making a decision that’s really sensible and wise… and I’m certainly going to be supporting the staff recommendation here because wisdom says going where angels fear to trying to preempt the role is just lunacy.”

Councillor Victoria Henstock said “ “we repeatedly hearing from our residents about the financial pressures they’re under and they expect us to also show financial responsibility. It doesn’t affect the school zones that we’ve heard a lot about today.

“I want to thank those (public submissions) who have taken the time to come in today, but with the greatest of respect, I think that what we heard today was a very narrow glimpse of actually what the public sentiment has and most presenters misunderstood what our decision making was for today, which is solely about the process.”

Councillor Aaron Keown recounted a personal tragedy while saying speed reductions were unnecessary.

“When two guys were racing beyond 160k an hour and they clipped each other they then ploughed through the car my mother was in, as she was coming home, and she was killed.

“A the guy driving that car was quite badly injured and still walks with a bad limp today. So – I do know the impacts. 50kph, or 30 an hour”? If people are abiding by the road rules, the impacts are extremely low.”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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