A motorist has slammed the Labour weekend road safety drive as a money-making scheme after he was fined by a police officer who he says popped out from behind a power pole with a speed gun.

Chudleigh Haggett, of Tauranga, was driving to Taupo for the long weekend with his family when he was stopped by the officer, who appeared on the street from behind a powerpole, he said.

The family were travelling to a motor racing event and were going through the small town of Reporoa - just south of Rotorua - at around 9am on Saturday.

Mr Haggett said he had gone through a 50km/h sign and immediately adjusted his speed as he approached a group of shops.

"I'm decelerating and decelerating. And I see this guy with a laser come out of nowhere and stop us. He tells me I've been doing 75km/h.

"I didn't see a police car, I didn't see him - he was hiding behind the pole with his laser. How fair is that? It's not."

Mr Haggett said he believed that he had been driving to the speed limit and had argued with the officer about this, before giving in and driving away with a $170 ticket.

But as the family continued on their way, he said his wife also felt that he had not been driving that fast and was even more upset that the officer was being "sneaky" while carrying out his job.

"I just kept thinking to myself: 'This isn't right'. So we turned around and watched him for about half an hour."

Mr Haggett said that in 15 minutes, three cars got tickets.

"He was either standing behind the pole or hiding behind one of the other cars. This place is in the middle of nowhere, there was no one on the street, it was nine in the morning," he said.

"It was revenue collecting. That's all he was doing. It had nothing to do with road safety. If he was wanting to make a difference he would've been on a busy highway making himself known and not in the middle of nowhere in a small town with nobody on [the road].

"It's Saturday morning on a long weekend. People are still in bed - they haven't even pulled the starter of the lawn mower yet!"

A police spokeswoman yesterday defended the officer, saying he was clearly visible on the side of the street.

"He's quite clearly seen and the message that we've always had was that whether it's a busy highway or a rural road, we would be out in force getting the message out to slow down."

The spokeswoman said police had carried out a high-visibility operation at the long weekend, solely to make people to ease up on speed.

"We make no apologies for the high use of speed cameras, lasers and checkpoints at the weekend," she said.