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Speed limits in New Zealand

New_Zealand_RG-2_(100_kmh).svgThis is a convenient list of speed limits in New Zealand for all types of vehicles. For cars and motorbikes the open road speed limit is 100km/h if the conditions are good. Other vehicles have restricted limits, though. The default urban limit is 50km/h. Speeds are measured in increments of 10km/h from 10-110km/h, however, some vehicles might be restricted to less than a posted limit.

  • All heavy vehicles are limited to 90km/h unless stated otherwise below
  • School buses are limited to 80km/h
  • Light vehicles towing trailers are limited to 90km/h
  • Heavy vehicles without suspension between the wheels and chassis are limited to 45km/h
  • Mechanically disabled motorbikes and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) being towed are limited to 30km/h
  • Motorbikes or ATVs towing a trailer of more than half their weight are limited to 40km/h
  • Vehicles towing another vehicle without a rigid towing system (e.g. a rope or strop) are limited to 50km/h
  • Vehicles towing another vehicle with a rigid towing system are limited to 90km/h
  • Drivers on a restricted or full car licence towing an agricultural vehicle plus trailer for the purposes of agriculture are limited to 40km/h
  • Drivers on a full car licence driving a tractor-trailer combination for non-agricultural purposes are limited to 30km/h
  • Mopeds are usually mechanically restricted to around 50km/h on flat roads.

Certain zones may have different speed limits, for example a shared pedestrian zone has a limit of 10km/h, some urban and residential roads are limited to 30 or 40km/h (for example, Ponsonby Road in Auckland is 40km/h), some roads with light urbanisation are limited to between 60-80km/h (for example, Hibiscus Coast Highway is 70km/h), and some rural roads are limited to 80-90km/h (for example, most of State Highway 2 from the SH1 turn-off to the SH25 Coromandel turn-off).

110km/h speed limits

Some stretches of motorway allow a maximum speed of 110km/h for cars and motorbikes not towing trailers; heavy vehicle limits remain at 90km/h. These roads are newer roads with at least two lanes in each direction with no significant bends, separated by a median barrier and with on-ramps and off-ramps (no direct property access from the road).

Advisory speeds and derestriction signs

A speed limit is different to an advisory or suggested speed. Find out the difference here.

In some areas the speed is derestricted and you will see this white sign with a black stripe through it. This means that the open road speed limit of 100km/h applies on this stretch of road. It doesn’t mean it’s safe to do 100km/h, though. These signs tend to be used in rural areas which have a mixture of straights and curves, a mix of surfaces, and where there could be hazards around the corner such as cattle on the road. When you see this sign, drive to the conditions, but no more than 100km/h.

Speed limits can be temporary if there is a sign affixed to the bottom of them.

Breaking the speed limit: Demerit points

If you break the speed limit (i.e. use excessive speed) and you are caught then you will get a fine. If you are caught by a police officer then you will also receive demerit points.

For speed-related offences, the current demerit points are:

General description of offence Demerit points
Exceeding the speed limit fixed by not more than 10 km/h. 10
Exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 km/h but not more than 20 km/h 20
Exceeding the speed limit by more than 20 km/h but not more than 30 km/h 35
Exceeding the speed limit by more than 30 km/h but not more than 35 km/h 40
Exceeding the speed limit by more than 35 km/h 50
Using equipment that interferes with operation of speed measuring device in a motor vehicle 25
Possessing in a motor vehicle equipment that is designed to interfere with operation of speed measuring device 25
Exceed speed for stopping distance 20
Exceed speed for stopping distance on road not marked in lanes 20

The police have the power to stop you at any speed above the speed limit. However, they exercise discretion up to 10 km/h or 4 km/h in holiday periods for drivers that are driving otherwise safely.

If you are caught doing more than 40km/h above the speed limit you may get a 28-day suspension. If you are caught doing more than 50km/h above the speed limit you will get a 28-day suspension and may be charged with careless, dangerous or reckless driving. The 28-day suspension can be extended three times and you may be disqualified if the court orders it.

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Darren has written over 3000 articles about driving and vehicles, plus almost 500 vehicle reviews and numerous driving courses. Connect with him on LinkedIn by clicking the name above

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