Police say the provisional holiday road toll is seven and, despite a lower speed tolerance, all deaths were preventable.
A maximum speed tolerance of 4km/h over the legal limit was enforced in December and continues until the end of January.
The Christmas to New Year holiday period ended at 6am on Friday. The toll for the period in 2012 was six.
Assistant Commissioner Dave Cliff said speed, not wearing seatbelts and drink-driving were the main causes of death and basic safety messages are still not getting through to some road users.
Mr Cliff said this weekend is one of the busiest of the year as families return home from holidays and people need to ask themselves what is an acceptable road toll.
"If you reframe it to say, what's an acceptable number of people to be killed in road crashes involving my family, then the question becomes really different. Because the answer for everyone is an acceptable road toll for my family is going to be zero."
The last fatality was on Thursday when a motorcycle rider was killed in a head-on crash with a ute on the Taihape-Napier Road.
A total of 254 people died on New Zealand roads last year, the lowest road toll since 1950.
Meanwhile, a road safety campaigner says police anti-speed campaigns have failed because the road toll is worse than 2012.
Clive Matthew-Wilson, editor of car review website Dog and Lemon Guide, said the campaigns don't save lives, but new technology does.
"What has changed in recent years is that the vehicle technology, the road technology and the medical technology has changed to the extent that even though people are making the same mistakes, they're surviving."
Mr Matthew-Wilson said 80% of fatalities occur at speeds below the legal limit.