Seven deaths on New Zealand roads so far this Labour weekend is seven too many, police say.
They say they are are disappointed by the behaviour of road users so far over the long holiday weekend.
Superintendent Carey Griffiths, the newly appointed National Manager of Road Policing, said while some motorists had been well behaved, it was disappointing there had been four fatal crashes claiming seven lives unnecessarily.
An eighth person who died in Queenstown is being excluded from the Labour weekend statistics because his vehicle's crash was caused by a medial episode.
During Labour weekend in 2011, eight people died on the roads, including a motorcyclist who died three weeks after an accident in Waikato. Seventeen people suffered injuries and 92 others received minor injuries in road crashes last Labour weekend..
"With the official holiday period ending at 6am tomorrow morning, we are disappointed that we are now par with the number of fatalities over Labour weekend in 2011," Griffiths said.
"The challenge to all road users is to ensure there are no more."
He said when people choose not to wear seat belts, to drink and drive or exceed the speed limit they need to realise those choices have permanent consequences.
Police have been out in force over the weekend, with a focus on targeting speed and flowing distances. A reduced 4km/hr speed tolerance is also in place.
Police have also rolled out 45 new mobile differential speed cameras to replace the 31 currently in use. This takes advantage of advances in technology that allow the automatic detection of speeding heavy and towing vehicles, which are restricted to 90 km/h on the open road.
Crash scene like a 'horror movie'
A woman who is five months' pregnant and her partner risked their lives helping at a fiery head-on smash in which four people died - only to drag to safety the man suspected of causing the carnage.
As Jessica McMillan and Matt Butler dashed to the scene outside their Gisborne house they knew from the strong smell of petrol there was a chance of an explosion. They went to help anyway.
The couple had put their three-year-old boy to bed and were watching a movie about 9.15pm on Saturday when they heard the smash on State Highway 2 north of Gisborne.
Minutes later they saved the life of a 59-year-old man who police say was driving a Ford Explorer, which crossed the centre line and smashed head-on into an Odessa van. The Explorer then caught fire, killing the three passengers, all from Putaruru.
The 33-year-old driver of the van - mother of four, Serena Smith - was also killed.
The driver was the only survivor and was last night in a stable condition in Gisborne Hospital.
Police say alcohol was a factor in the crash.
Speaking to Fairfax yesterday, McMillan said the couple were still shaken.
"It was pretty awful, like a horror movie really.
"We knew it was going to start [burning] as soon as we heard the bang and ran out there because there was a lot of smoke and you could smell the fuel.
"So we came out with wet blankets straight away."
On the road they found the twisted wrecks of Smith's northbound van and the southbound Explorer.
The couple dragged the driver of the Explorer from the vehicle and then Butler and two others went to the van while McMillan and another motorist went to the Explorer.
"I saw the guy in the back seat and me and another guy climbed in the boot to try and get him out.
"He was all entangled up in the seat and all squished up with his leg through to the driver's side.
"By that stage the fire had already started. It was so weird, it just started as a few sparks in the dashboard area. It was so quick."
She said the man was conscious as she climbed in the boot, but by the time the car started filling with smoke he was unconscious.
"We had to jump out because the car was going to explode. He was engulfed in flames within probably five seconds," she said.
"We didn't even realise there were two other people in the car. We thought it was just the two. We didn't even see them. We only found out there were more [the next morning], which is horrible."
While McMillan and the man ran for protection from the heat, Butler and the two other motorists tied a rope to the van and towed it away to prevent it catching fire.
"We didn't know if the lady in the van was alive or dead at that stage," she said.
Te Karaka chief fire officer Jamie Simpson said the car was fully ablaze when the brigade arrived and nothing could be done to save those inside.
"It takes a lot to stand up and step forward in a situation like that and they need to be commended. He praised the actions of Ms McMillan and Mr Butler.
"More than likely they saved the survivor's life."
Mum of four dies doing the right thing
Serena Smith was killed doing everything police had asked of drivers during Labour Weekend.
The 33-year-old had taken responsibility as the designated sober driver on Saturday night and had just dropped her partner, Trevor Brown, in Gisborne.
She was returning home to her four young children when she was killed.
Jacob, Cameron, Maia and Waimaria never got the chance to see their mother alive again.
Described as an "astute, polite, kind and quiet" woman, Smith was from Whatatutu, a small rural community about 15 minutes north of Te Karaka.
She was studying to be a teacher at Te Wananga o Aotearoa in Gisborne.
Last night her parents, Tom and Vicky Smith, were still coming to grips with her sudden death.
Her uncle, Jack Brown, said his niece was shy, but a dedicated and loving mother.
"You don't think of this happening to your whanau," he said.
Smith's aunt is a member of the Te Karaka volunteer fire brigade but was not called to the accident.
A friend, who did not want to be named, said the small community was in shock.
"She was a very popular girl. This is very tragic," she said.
"I last saw Serena at a homai te pakipaki [singing event] night at a whanau house about two weeks ago.
"It's just so sad."