Transport Minister Steven Joyce says the low holiday road toll is encouraging but there is more work to be done to improve safety on our roads.
12 people died on the roads during the official holiday driving period which ran from 4pm on December 24 to 6am this morning.
During the same period last year 25 people were killed, 82 seriously injured and 373 received minor injuries. Injury statistics for the 2009-2010 holiday period will take several months to finalise.
"This year's toll is a big improvement over the result from last year and reflects that most motorists have been focussed on their driving when behind the wheel over the busy holiday driving period," says Mr Joyce.
"It is encouraging to see that the positive trend from October, November and December has continued through the holiday period," says Mr Joyce.
"However every fatality and serious injury on the road is a tragedy for those families involved."
This period coincides with the introduction of new laws on cellphone use, drugged driving, and illegal street racing.
"If the publicity around those initiatives has helped remind people of the responsibility they take on when they drive, then that's positive.
"Shortly I will be releasing the Safer Journeys road safety strategy to take us through to 2020. The priority areas in the strategy will include increasing the safety of young drivers, reducing the impact of alcohol and drug impaired driving, creating safer roads and roadsides, safer speeds and increasing the safety of motorcycling.
"Initial actions will be implemented over the next year or two and they will be designed to our help improve our road safety outcomes. However ultimately it is up to all New Zealanders to take responsibility for their actions when on the road.