Police will evaluate the weekend's "zero-tolerance" trial policy on speed before deciding to extend it or apply it again.

All drivers caught travelling more than 4km/h over the posted permanent speed limit were to be ticketed over Queen's Birthday weekend, which saw only one death on the roads - the lowest road toll for a holiday weekend in over 50 years.

Prime Minister John Key told TVNZ the zero tolerance had seemed to make a difference.

"One death on the road is one death too many but it's a hell of a lot better than 10 so that's a good thing."

Mr Key said people were aware of the police position as well as last year's "intolerable" toll but he said if the policy was made permanent it may lose its effectiveness.

The period for the official road toll for the weekend began at 4pm Friday and ended at 6am today. Over the period there were 332 crashes, compared to 374 over the same period last year.

Road policing national manager Superintendent Paula Rose said the low road toll was pleasing but not surprising since police had introduced a "no excuses" policy towards all drivers breaking the speed limit this weekend.

Ms Rose said drivers took up the challenge and self-policed their own speed, which was the aim of the blitz.

"We don't want to catch people, we want people to choose to do the right thing. On this weekend we have had a lot of people making some really good choices."

Last year 10 people were killed in the Queen's Birthday holiday period.

One death was recorded in 1956, the first year records were kept of holiday fatalities, and the next lowest was two deaths in 1995. The highest number of people killed was 24 in 1973.

Over Easter weekend 12 people died on the roads - the highest number in 18 years. Hundreds more were injured, including four unrestrained children torpedoed from a van as it tumbled down a bank.

Ms Rose credited a number of police strategies in helping to keep the roads safe over the weekend, including high police visibility on the roads, a focus on slower drivers that may frustrate others and an increase in the number of drink-drive stops.

The low road toll and accident numbers could have been a reflection of lower speeds and many officers could not find anyone exceeding the speed limit, Ms Rose said.

"But also of drivers just taking that extra bit of care, it can make all the difference between life and death in some cases."

The speed tolerance was now back to a 5km/h tolerance outside schools and a 10km/h tolerance for other areas.

Ms Rose said drivers should still treat the "limit as the limit" and drive to the conditions.

Alcohol was believed to be a factor in the sole road death over the weekend.

Mother-of-three Aroha Ormsby, 28, was killed when the car she was a passenger in crashed onto the beach at Tokomaru Bay, 91km north of Gisborne, around 5.30am on Sunday.

Ms Ormsby and the driver of the car had been drinking at a party all night about a kilometre from where they crashed, police said.

Queen's Birthday road toll


View Queen's birthday 2010 road toll in a larger map

- NZPA