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National Road Policing Centre director Superintendent Steve Greally said it was a tragic Easter weekend on New Zealand’s roads, in which eight people died.
"Any number of deaths is too many, but this is the highest number of deaths for the Easter holiday period in more than a decade, which is an unacceptable outcome."
NZ Transport Agency road safety manager Fabian Marsh said the loss of life over the long weekend was a tragedy for everyone affected, and deaths and serious injuries on our roads were not "inevitable".
He said NZTA was working hard to create a safer and more forgiving transport system as part of the Government’s Road to Zero road safety strategy, and it was supporting police to target unsafe behaviour which put others at risk.
"Every New Zealander has a part to play in making our roads safer, through the choices we make and through the actions we take."
Supt Greally said deaths on the road were preventable and he reminded everyone to slow down, drive free from the effects of alcohol, drugs and fatigue, wear seatbelts, and minimise distractions.
"Speed is the single biggest determinant in whether someone walks away or is carried away.
"A small change in speed makes a big difference to injury severity in a crash, for the driver and everyone else involved.
"Less speed means less harm."
He said police would also continue to target drivers using mobile phones.
"If you are driving, then you need to focus on the road to get everybody in the car to your destination safely.
"Put the phone down. There is no text, post or call that is so important to risk your life for."
Police could not be everywhere all of the time and could not solve the issue alone.
There were no deaths on Otago and Southland roads this Easter.