New Zealanders are all too familiar with speed cameras, in a country where owning a car is almost a necessity. But while you may hate the sight of them, speed cameras are raking in millions of dollars for the Government.
A South Island speed camera has snapped over 10,000 vehicles speeding this year, generating almost $1 million for the Government - but the North Island still takes the crown, new road policing driver offence data shows.
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The lucrative South Island speed camera, situated in Oamaru on Wansbeck St between Awamoa Rd and Solway St, brought in $916,510 this year - a hefty amount for an Otago town with a population of about 14,000 people.
But that hardly compares to Northland, where a speed camera in Whangarei has already raked in over $2 million in speeding fines this year. The camera - located on Whangarei's Great North Road - recorded over 24,000 incidents of speeding.
In notoriously grid-locked Auckland, a speed camera fixed on Hillsborough Rd between Olsen Ave and Goodall St has captured over 16,000 vehicles speeding since January, bringing in $1,569,600 of Government revenue.
Another speed camera that spawned a hefty number of fines is situated on SH20 in Auckland. Over $1.7 million was generated from the speed camera this year, where over 19,000 speeding incidents have been recorded.
The most profitable of Wellington's speed cameras is located between Glover St and Newlands Rd overbridge. The speed camera has recorded almost 14,000 speeding vehicles this year, generating up to $1.3 million in Government revenue.
Speed cameras are placed in "high-risk locations" where officer enforcement "may not be possible for a variety reasons" such as road layout and the safety of drivers and officers, the New Zealand Police website says.
Police revealed that speeding tickets issued last year hit a three-year high.
The Government says improving road safety is one of its main priorities. Over $4 billion will be spent over the next three years to reduce deaths and serious injuries on the roads, the Government announced last month.
There have been 270 road deaths in New Zealand so far this year, which is five more than the same time last year, according to the Ministry of Transport. The road toll has been steadily increasing, and there are calls for the Government to step in.
The AA has called on the Government to introduce signs warning motorists when a speed camera is approaching. Principal advisor Mark Stockdale says an increasing number of speeding fines indicates New Zealand is "heading in the wrong direction".
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern agrees there are "good rationales" for the idea, telling The AM Show on Tuesday the Government has asked that the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) "focus[es] on safety".
"I know people get really cynical sometimes and think [speed cameras are] for revenue gathering, but ultimately we want to make sure that people stick to the speed limit, because they're more likely to survive if there is an incident, or more likely to avoid one," she said.
A Newshub poll earlier this week found 100 percent of participants agreed that being issued speeding fines modifies their behaviour when driving.
The need for increased safety on New Zealand roads was highlighted in June following the country's worst road accident in 13 years, where six people were killed in Taranaki - including a newborn baby.
It was the deadliest accident on New Zealand's roads since 2005, when nine people were killed after a mini-bus full of tourists hit a timber truck in Matamata-Piako, Waikato.
The country's worst accident happened in Northland in 1963, when a bus hit a pole, killing 15 people.