Easter road toll worst in three years

The Easter holiday period has ended with the worst road toll in three years, with four deaths on the country's roads.

Last year's road Easter road toll was three, while there were no deaths in 2012. The highest recorded number of deaths was 21 in 1971.

The long weekend got off to a bad start on the roads, with three deaths within the first 12 hours of the holiday period.

Another three people died as a result of crashes on Thursday before the start of the official road toll period.

Acting road policing national manager Inspector Nic Brown told TVNZ's Breakfast programme said the toll was disappointing.

It was too early to say whether there was a common link to this year's crashes, but historically speed, alcohol and driving a vehicle that was not road worthy were factors in many crashes, he said.

Between the start of the Easter holiday, which began at 4pm on Thursday and the end of Anzac weekend, police were enforcing a 4km/h speeding threshhold.

Police would be looking at whether keeping that lower threshhold could be extended to a permanent basis.

"But there is no time frame (for that) at the moment."

During the holiday period police would be "out in force" until 6am next Monday, ensuring motorists complied with the speed limits.

"Targeting speed, distraction, making sure drivers drive to the conditions and certainly are not participating in unsafe behaviour on our roads."

The first fatality was on Thursday at 5.20pm when a 44-year-old female driver from Twizel died following a crash on the Fairlie-Tekapo Road in South Canterbury.

Her vehicle was travelling along State Highway 8 from Fairlie towards Tekapo and appeared to have lost control, left the road and hit a tree, police said.

Speed, the vehicle's poor condition and bad weather were contributing factors, police said.

The driver was not believed to have been wearing a seatbelt.

Shortly afterwards, 40-year-old Alofaifo Afaese, of Helensville, died instantly when the Mitsubishi Pajero in which she was travelling with her husband and two of their children was involved in a head-on collision with a Subaru on State Highway 16 west of Kumeu.

On Friday about 3.15am, Alan Hammond, 80, of Ashburton was struck by a vehicle on the Hinds-Rangitata Highway, about 5km south of Hinds, South Canterbury.

He died as a result his injuries.

Speed and wet conditions are believed to be factors in a road crash that cost a 27-year-old Auckland woman her life about 7.20am yesterday.

Lysette Michelle Brown, from Whenuapai, was driving north on the Coatesville-Riverhead Highway northwest of Auckland when her vehicle collided with a truck travelling in the opposite direction.

Ms Brown is the director of the Coffee Chick mobile espresso, and was driving her black Toyota with her company's logo printed on the side.

The collision occurred near a bend in wet conditions, and the impact seriously damaged the side of Ms Brown's vehicle.

- Rebecca Quilliam of APNZ

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