28 Mar 2016

Easter road toll rises to four

7:39 pm on 28 March 2016

The holiday road toll has risen to four after a death on State Highway 1, near Taihape.

A St John New Zealand ambulance

Photo: ST JOHN NZ

A St John Ambulance spokesperson said emergency services were called to the scene of the two-car crash at Ohingaiti, between Hunterville and Mangaweka, about 1pm.

One patient with serious injuries was transported by rescue helicopter to Palmerston North Hospital, and another with minor injuries went by ambulance.

The police said firefighters had to cut people from the two crashed vehicles.

One person died at the scene.

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) said the highway, which closed for several hours after the crash, was now open in both directions.

Another crash on SH1, south of Paekakariki, also caused some delays this afternoon.

Today's crashes followed the death of a 21-year-old hit by a car while longboarding near Wellington on Friday, and two deaths in the South Island - in Methven, Canterbury, and in central Otago.

Six people were injured in a three-car crash near Taupo on Sunday, and seven were hospitalised on Friday after two cars collided near Gisborne.

Last year, just one fatal crash was recorded over the Easter period.

The official holiday period will end at 6am on Tuesday.

Congestion easing in Auckland

Travellers returning to Auckland were told peak traffic would continue until about 7pm.

In an update shortly before 6pm, NZTA said queues along SH1 and SH2 around Auckland and Northland had reduced from 7km to about 400m.

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