A person is dead after a car and truck collided on SH2 north of Tauranga.
The crash happened between Pahoia Rd and Apata Station Rd about 4.40pm yesterday.
A police spokeswoman said one person in the car died as a result of the collision.
"It appears one of the vehicles is on fire."
Both the truck and the car caught fire after the crash, but it was sometime before the truck fire was put out.
Every time I come to Tauranga there seems to be a crash. I was just thinking there hasn't been a crash and blow me down there is another one.
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Another vehicle was involved, a police spokeswoman confirmed, but it was unclear how, and the occupants of that car escaped without injury. There were no reports of injuries to the truck driver.
Police and emergency services closed the highway, the main arterial route between Tauranga and Katikati, for some time. Diversions were in place while the Serious Crash Unit investigated.
Sandy Walden was travelling from Tauranga to her home in Waihi when she saw the crash scene and pulled over.
The truck was on fire, and the flames and smoke intensified as she watched. The car involved in the crash was on the opposite side of the road.
People were trying to assist at the scene, and emergency services began arriving soon after.
"Every time I come to Tauranga there seems to be a crash. I was just thinking there hasn't been a crash and blow me down there is another one."
Police said the road would be closed for several hours.
The crash comes a day after a State Highway 2 action group announced plans to block the road next weekend in protest against Government inaction on safety and capacity concerns.
More than 100 people attended an at-times heated public meeting called by Fix the Bloody Road campaign organisers in Whakamarama on Sunday.
Andrew Hollis, one of the campaign's organisers, said 3pm on Sunday had been chosen for a 30-minute protest hikoi across the Wairoa Bridge as organisers hoped it would be the least disruptive time for locals.
"We want to keep the pressure on the Government, not the pressure on the community. We don't want to upset everyone in Tauranga by blocking roads."
They were working with local police to ensure the protest would be safe, he said.
Matthew Farrell, another organiser, said the goal of protesting was to put pressure on the Government and Transport Minister Phil Twyford to instruct the NZ Transport Agency to prioritise and speed up its decision-making process regarding the future of multiple roading projects planned for the area, including the Tauranga Northern Link.
Asked on Sunday if he would intervene to speed things up, Minister Phil Twyford said: "The experts need to be able to do their re-evaluation free from political interference."
He also said the Government was investing $87 million in safety improvements to save lives on the road.
"That will deliver quick results, which a four-lane expressway that would take years to build would not," Twyford said.