A retired police officer says ticket quotas on minor offences are taking officers away from patrolling dangerous spots on highways, leading to road toll spikes like that at the weekend.
Twelve people died on the roads, four times the weekend average of three.
Former Southland police officer Phillip Robertson says he commends the way roads are managed over public holidays. But during regular weekends, officers leave the highways for low socio-economic towns to issue easy tickets.
Mr Robertson says it is up to the Government to remove the ticket quota system so police can target areas of real risk.