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Lowest holiday road toll in 54 years

Published: 5:50AM Tuesday June 08, 2010 Source: Newstalk ZB/ONE News/NZPA

Police are applauding drivers as the country records the lowest Queen's Birthday weekend road toll in 50 years.

Despite some shocking weather, there has been just one death.

One death was recorded in 1956, the first year records were kept of holiday fatalities, and the next lowest was two deaths in 1995. The highest number of people killed was 24 in 1973.

The toll for the entire weekend last year was 10.

Aroha Ormsby was the front seat passenger in a car which left the road at Tokomaru Bay early on Sunday.

Road policing manager Superintendent Paula Rose is amazed by what the extra police resources on the roads and the 'no excuses' speeding policy have done.

She is putting the low toll down to all elements of their weekend operation, including the publicity leading up to the long weekend.

Prime Minister John Key told TVNZ's Breakfast that one death on the road is too many but is is "a hell of a lot better than 10".

He says it is difficult to analyse why the reducion occurred but intuitively most people would acknowledge that the hard-line approach taken by the police is what helped.

The road toll period ended at 6am Tuesday.