Ohingaiti snapper nabs thousands of speedsters a year
It's not often Ohingaiti makes the top 20 in anything these days – even the pub's gone now.
But after a horrendous few days of death on the roads, the little northern Rangitīkei settlement was revealed as making a decent contribution to the country's coffers through the mobile speed camera operating in the vicinity.
It rates as the country's 15th busiest camera, bringing in $267,270 from the 4086 tickets issued to passing State Highway 1 traffic in the financial year to July.
But the authorities are quick to add that this doesn't mean there's someone parked at the side of the road in Ohingaiti who is out to get you.
The figures show 1.39 per cent of drivers get pinged – or, 14 for every 1000 who go past – making the Ohingaiti rate the lowest out of the eight mobile sites in the top 20.
That's a result that pleases road policing national operations manager Peter McKennie, who says it shows the "vast majority" of motorists in the area are behaving themselves.
Ohingaiti, about 8 kilometres south of Mangaweka, sees plenty of passing traffic because it is on in the way to the likes of the Central Plateau ski slopes and the popular great lake playground of Taupō.
McKennie said Ohingaiti was chosen for a mobile camera after "predictive data" told authorities it was a stretch of highway that could be dangerous unless drivers kept their speed under control.
Rangitīkei councillor Richard Aslett, who confessed to having being pinged by the Sanson camera – which has been the country's busiest speed camera – said the dual carriageway and uphill incline at Ohingaiti might have something to do with the number of tickets issued.
Some drivers tended to speed up to safely carry out a passing manoeuvre and that could attract the scrutiny of the camera.
The cameras are not universally popular. Debate still rages over whether they are mere revenue-gatherers and one fixed camera in Wellington has reportedly been shot twice, beaten and sawn off.
But the authorities maintain the cameras have a similar deterrent effect to marked patrol cars – when they're spotted, they slow drivers down.