Easter road toll hits seven as police urge caution as holidaymakers flood home

The Easter 2024 holiday road toll now sits at seven after another person died from injuries they sustained in a horror crash between two cars and a motorcycle near Lake Pūkaki. 

Police are urging motorists to take care and drive to the conditions as holidaymakers head home on Monday evening.  

It comes after a holiday weekend which was everything police don't want to see.  

"The reaction is one of utter disappointment. It beggars belief I guess that some people just don't understand the basics even though they are really simple," Road Policing Director Superintendent Steve Greally said.

With seven dead and many others seriously injured, it's already the highest Easter holiday road toll since 2021, a year when seven people also died.

The worst crash this year was between two vehicles and a motorcycle on State Highway 8 near Lake Pūkaki - three people died at the scene and a fourth died in hospital on Sunday night.  

Two of the deceased have been identified as Malaysian students who were studying at the University of Canterbury.

"This has blown my mind a little bit, we don't want any more. This is enough carnage for people to bear," Greally said.   

The Malaysian High Commissioner Mazita Marzuki arrived in Christchurch on Monday to offer support to the victims and their families.  

Police meanwhile are appealing for witnesses to the crash which happened at around 1.30pm on Saturday. 

Road safety campaigner Clive Matthew-Wilson said there's no need for simple mistakes to end up as fatalities, arguing the Government needs to prioritise safeguarding roads.  

"Roundabouts, median barriers, roadside fencing could be stopping at least half the accidents on our highways," he said.   

But it's not just cars causing issues on the road. Waikato police have urged caution after three serious tractor crashes in the central north island over the weekend.  

In just a two hour period on Saturday there were multiple crashes involving tractors. 

First, a tractor collided with a car at the intersection of Pond Road and State Highway 29 in the Matamata-Piako district. Then two people were seriously injured after a crash with a tractor near Te Kuiti. Then, 10 minutes later, there was a fatal crash between a motorcycle and a tractor in Richmond Downs. 

The official Easter holiday period ends at 6am on Tuesday and police say they need all road users to play their part to make sure the toll doesn't get any higher.