Police are extremely disappointed with the grim holiday road toll saying all the fatal crashes were avoidable.

The official holiday road toll of 12 now matches the same as last year's entire holiday period six days before the official period comes to an end.

This morning the toll rose after a motorcylist died in a crash near Cromwell.

Police this afternoon released the name of the car driver who died in a collision with a tanker truck at Hawera yesterday.

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He was Andrew Reinders, 53, from Wellington.

National road policing manager Steve Greally said the high number of deaths was disappointing with police having to break the devastating news to 12 families across the country.

He said he was perplexed the toll has suddenly shot up in such a short time and concerned motorcyclists made up a third of the fatalities.

"It's horrific," said Greally.

"For whatever reason people seem to have left their common sense at home. I'm just not sure why.

"It doesn't matter how disappointed I am there, are families across New Zealand ripped apart by this."

"They had their loved ones suddenly taken from them.

"What's meant to be a festive and family time have been completely shattered by these accidents."

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The road policing boss said the crashes were all under investigation and it was too early to speculate on causes. But he was confident they were all avoidable.

"Someone has made a tragic mistake in all these deaths, and it's not necessarily those who died," he said.

In many cases people seemed to lack patience.

"It seems like we're infallible and get into our own cocoons when we get behind the wheel.

"We tend to shut out our external environment and make it all about us.

"I want people to be patient."

He said motorists needed to understand bigger queues meant a longer time getting to your destination.

He also reminded to drive to survive meant keeping speed down, not driving if you've been drinking and wearing seatbelts.

He said it was tempting to take risks but it was simply not worth it.

Holiday road crash victims

• A man died after a motorcycle crash in Cromwell at 6am today.

• Andrew Reinders, 53, from Wellington, died in hospital yesterday after the car he was driving collided with a milk tanker in Hawera.

• A motorcyclist died in a crash at Pukerau, near Gore on December 27.

• Teenagers Cole Troy Hull, Samuel James Drost and Lily Frances Moore were killed in a crash near Leeston, early Monday. The car was being driven at high speed by an unlicensed 14-year-old boy, when it became airborne and smashed into a macrocarpa hedge, narrowly missing a concrete power pole.

• Motorcylist Jonathan Mark Sattrup, 25, of Dannevirke died at the scene after a collision with a car on Napier Rd in Ashhurst, Manawatu, on Boxing Day.

• Tyler Te Ruru Ahurei Davis, 2, was run over in a driveway in Te Kauwhata on Boxing Day. The toddler died on a public driveway, which meant the death is included in the official road toll.

• Lower Hutt man Clifford Irving, 66, was killed in a collision between a motorcycle and a ute on State Highway 2 in South Wairarapa on Christmas Day.

• A double fatality on Christmas Eve claimed the lives of Sione Taumalolo, 11, and Talita Moimoi, 33, when the bus they were in crashed down a 100m bank in Gisborne.

• The first fatality of the holiday period was Myung Wha Lim, 83, who died after being hit by a car in Takapuna on December 23.

The official holiday road period began at 4pm on December 23, and runs until 6am on January 4.