Police Minister Anne Tolley says she is delighted the road toll for 2011 is so low.
Official figures show that 284 people were killed on New Zealand's roads last year, compared with 375 in 2010.
Mrs Tolley says the lower figure is a great achievement, since the last time the road toll was below 300 was in 1952.
But the minister is urging motorists to remain vigilant after 16 people to date have died on the roads during the Christmas and New Year holiday period.
Mrs Tolley says this figure is horrific and illustrates that there is no room for complacency.