Another high-speed pursuit by police has ended in death, taking the total number of people killed in connection with such chases to 17 this year.
Two people were killed when their ute hit a tree near Te Puke in the Bay of Plenty early on Friday.
Police say the vehicle was initially pursued near Mount Maunganui after it was driven around road spikes to evade them on Friday morning.
Police say the chase was abandoned because the vehicle was travelling at a high speed. It was spotted again near Papamoa and authority was given to resume the pursuit.
Police say the second pursuit was in the process of being abandoned due to concern about speed in Te Puke, when police lost sight of the vehicle.
The vehicle was found again after a search. It had left the road and hit a tree.
The passenger in the vehicle was found to be dead when police arrived and the driver later died at the scene.
A crash investigation and a formal internal inquiry are under way. The Independent Police Conduct Authority has also been notified.
Police national headquarters says 1670 drivers have fled from the police since 1 January, resulting in 275 crashes.
Two people, both aged 20, died three weeks ago despite police abandoning a chase shortly before the vehicle hit a lamppost in Auckland.
Two people in Christchurch were killed in August after a man being pursued collided with their vehicle.
In July, police issued their fourth policy review in six years which found there was insufficient evidence to ban pursuits.