Safe choices for a safe Labour Weekend


New Zealand’s motorists are being urged to keep safe by remembering the basics when driving this Labour Weekend.

While Waka Kotahi is pausing most road works during the long weekend, a busy spring maintenance programme has seen crews out renewing and rebuilding roads across New Zealand’s state highway network, and drivers are urged to be mindful of newly sealed or partially rebuilt sections they may encounter.

Waka Kotahi Senior Road Safety Manager Fabian Marsh says as well as keeping safe around roadworks, motorists should also remember the basics.

“When you’re out on the roads this Labour Weekend, make safe choices to protect yourself and others. Be patient, drive at a safe speed, wear your seatbelt, don’t drink and drive, make sure you’re well rested and plan ahead.”

Waka Kotahi has updated its popular Holiday Hotspots journey planning tool for Labour Weekend. The interactive traffic prediction map shows drivers where and when traffic is expected to be heaviest, based on travel patterns from previous years.

Holiday Hotspots journey planning tool(external link)

Bryan Sherritt, Director of Road to Zero at Te Manatū Waka Ministry of Transport, says everyone has a role to play to reduce serious crashes and save lives on the road.

“New Zealand’s approach to road safety is all about combining the resources of road safety agencies and advocates with a system of measures that have already started to be applied across the motu,” Mr Sherritt says.

This includes the placement of median barriers, ensuring safe and appropriate speeds, the installation of rumble strips on the side of the road and the use of raised platforms.

“The choices we all make while driving are really important but preventing deaths and serious injuries is about more than just how we drive – it is about how all the various parts of the road safety system work together to protect people from road trauma,” he says.

It’s a message police are also keen to highlight, with Superintendent Steve Greally, Director, National Road Policing at NZ Police, reminding road users there will be a firm focus on four main causes of death and serious injury on our roads: people not wearing their seatbelt, impairment, distractions and speed.

“Road safety is everyone’s responsibility – we can all play a part by ensuring everyone wears a seatbelt, doesn’t drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, remove distractions and slow down, to ensure that no-one is harmed on our roads.”

Mr Greally said the ‘drive safely’ message also carried a caveat for those who don’t.

“Our dedicated staff will be patrolling our roads anywhere, anytime to deter these unsafe driving behaviours. Don’t risk the chance of receiving an infringement notice or being charged for an offence this weekend or any other day.”

Background information

  • The official Labour Day holiday weekend begins at 4pm on Friday 20 October and ends 6am on Tuesday 24 October 2023.
  • The lowest Labour Day holiday weekend year for deaths and serious injuries was 2013 when one person died and 109 people were injured.
  • The worst Labour Day holiday weekend year for deaths and serious injuries was 1983 when 13 people died and 248 were injured
  • Further information can be found at on the Ministry of Transport’s website:
    Safety – Road deaths(external link)