Drivers in pursuits have a choice to make - police

After another tragic long weekend on New Zealand roads, police are stressing they're not the only ones with choices to make during high-speed pursuits.

The official Labour Weekend road toll ended on Tuesday morning with four fatalities, compared to three last year - with two people dying after a high-speed police chase on Monday morning.

It comes off the back of another fatal pursuit in Auckland earlier this month.

It's drawn criticism towards police for engaging in pursuits, but assistant commissioner for road policing Sandra Venables told The AM Show the onus isn't entirely on their shoulders.

"We've got to remember that the driver of these vehicles makes a choice. Absolutely I understand the police having the ability to make decisions around how that pursuit goes, but out the total number of pursuits that we've had, we've abandoned over 55 percent of them in the last 12-14 months.

"I think it's simple for when we're not involved in the situation to look at it in a hard light of day but actually we do trust our staff to make some good decisions out on the road.

"What we're asking is that drivers make good choices. People shouldn't be thinking that they can flee police, but we get that there's a small amount of people that will."

But a road safety campaigner thinks police need to slam the brakes on their current approach.

"A car is a weapon," Clive Matthew-Wilson told Newshub. "When police take the option of roaring off up the road after a carload of young offenders, police must share the responsibility when the young offenders crash.

"The young offenders aren't going to change their behaviour... they're idiots."

Mr Matthew-Wilson says there are safer ways to track offenders, including helicopters and road spikes.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority is undertaking its seventh review of the practice since 1996 - and Ms Venables says they're committed to continually making a difference.

"Our staff are always looking at how they can do this in a safer manner.

"But I agree there's definitely some room for improvement, absolutely. One death is too many."