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Labour weekend road toll: Two killed in crashes in Wellington and Waikato

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Emergency services were called to a High St collision in Taita, Lower Hutt, about 11am. Photo / File

Two people have died in crashes on the roads this long weekend.

One person has died following a serious crash in the Wellington region earlier today.

Emergency services were called to the High St collision in Taita, Lower Hutt, about 11am.

The road has now reopened and a police spokesperson thanked motorists for their patience.

Inquiries into the crash are ongoing.

Another person died in a serious crash on Horotiu Rd/State Highway 39 in Waikato, on the outskirts of Hamilton.

The road remains closed and police are still asking people to avoid the area.

The crashes bring the long weekend road toll to two.

Last year’s road toll over the same period, which ends early Tuesday morning, was seven.

A person has also been injured in South Wairarapa this afternoon after a vehicle rolled.

SH2 at Tauherenikau is blocked and power lines are down across the road after the crash.

Police have asked motorists to take alternate routes.

Another person is in critical condition following a crash on the western side of Lake Taupō just before 2pm.

Police confirmed emergency services were called to the crash involving a single motorbike on SH32 at Waihāhā, at the intersection with Te Putu Rd.

The rider of the motorcycle is said to be critically injured, said police.

Traffic control is in place so motorists will be able to get through, however, the road will be closed for a short time while a helicopter lands to take the rider to hospital.

The Serious Crash Unit has been advised and motorists are asked to take alternate routes if possible while emergency services remain at the scene.

New Zealand is tracking towards having one of the highest road death tolls in more than a decade with 296 deaths as of October 20.

The toll is similar to October 2018’s tally, with 2018 and 2017 the worst years since 2009.

The Automobile Association says although New Zealand’s road safety strategy is sound, the initiatives need to be rolled out faster and more extensively.

Meanwhile, government agencies say there is no “silver bullet” to addressing the country’s road safety issues and if it weren’t for the work done so far, the road fatality statistics would be worse.

This Labour weekend, the head of the police road safety syndicate has pleaded with people to slow down and stay alert on the road.

A man who lost his mother in a crash this year has also urged motorists to be patient and courteous this weekend.

An annual road toll is provisional until a few months after a year has ended, meaning it can change when more information on a crash comes to light.

Crash fatalities can be excluded from the toll in some circumstances, including if the crash was intentional or related to a medical event.

Deaths that happen 30 days after a crash are not included in the toll.

This year is on track to be in line with 2018 and deaths to date are higher than the same point in the intervening three years.

Fewer died in 2020 and 2021 than 2018 and 2019, however, there were also fewer motorists on the road with people confined to their homes and neighbourhoods during Covid-19 lockdowns and borders closed to visitors.

New Zealand’s deadliest year for road crashes was 1973. The population was 60 per cent of what it is today, and a staggering 843 people died on the roads.

Seatbelts have been required in the front seats of vehicles since 1965, however, wearing them was not compulsory until 1975.

The overall trend since 1973 has been downward and the Ministry of Transport has stressed the importance of taking the long-term trend into account as the crash statistics can have year-on-year variations.

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