4 Jun 2012

Holiday road toll stands at seven

10:00 pm on 4 June 2012

Police say alcohol has been a factor in three out of the four fatal crashes during the Queen's Birthday holiday weekend.

The toll so far stands at seven on Monday night, the worst Queen's Birthday road toll since 2009 when 10 people died. Last year's road toll was one.

Acting national road policing manager Rob Morgan says this weekend's toll is very disappointing but the figure has to be put in perspective, with four deaths happening in one crash.

Superintendent Morgan says police will analyse the crashes to look for patterns to see if there are any issues they could address to prevent crashes in the future.

Mr Morgan says he has an expectation there should be zero fatalities at holiday weekends, after that was proved possible at Easter weekend this year.

The highest number of people ever killed at Queen's Birthday weekend was 24 in 1973.

The holiday period ends at 6am on Tuesday.

Hawke's Bay crash victims named

Police have released the names of four farm workers killed in a car crash in Hawke's Bay.

The crash occurred after the men left the Waikare Hotel and the wreckage was discovered by a farmer about 7.30am on Sunday.

Police have named the men as Lou Phillip Wesley, 47, and James Raupita, 42, both of Waihua; and Jack Huata, 64, and Paul Thomas Parata (known as Boydie), 48, both of Raupunga.

The Mitsubishi Pajero four-wheel drive they were travelling in crashed through a fence and ended up in a paddock on Waikare Road, just off State Highway 2, near the small settlement of Putorino.

Farmer Dianne Torr, who came across the mangled vehicle and recognised the men, said they were local identities who had been in the area for years. Ms Torr says she believes it is all too common for rural people to drink and drive.

The hotel's owner, Tarn Butcher, says she knew two of the men well and the deaths have shocked the community.

Police are trying to establish exactly what time the crash happened and are asking the public to contact them if they saw the green-grey vehicle in the Putorino-Raupunga area at the weekend.

Meanwhile, police have also released the name of a pedestrian who died when she was struck by a car on State Highway 2, near Otane, in Hawke's Bay on Saturday evening. She was Gail Annette Hansen, 67, of Hastings.