Wet and windy weather has been lashing parts of the country, and hundreds if not thousands of holidaymakers have packed up early and with many now battling wet roads and poor visibility as they drive home.

While officials would not link the bad weather to any of today's accidents, there have been at least four significant crashes - including one that cost the lives of two people earlier this evening.

The two died in a three-vehicle crash, one of which caught on fire, in Waimauku late this afternoon.

It's understood they had been trapped in one of the vehicles on SH16 between Restal Rd and Kiwitahi Rd.


Police said three others had been seriously injured in the crash that happened at 4:56pm.

At about the same time, shortly before 5pm, a ute hit a tree in the Western Bay of Plenty. While police said no one was injured Te Matai Rd and Rangiuru Rd were closed as the road was cleared.

And just before 6pm five people were injured in a two-vehicle crash on SH2 near Ohuia Rd - causing both lanes to be blocked.

Police said the exact status of their injuries was yet to be established.

Motorists were being advised that those going north would need to be diverted through Tiniroto Rd, and traffic going south would need to delay travel.

Earlier in the afternoon, at 4:15pm, a truck hit a power pole, in Beachlands, downing several powerlines. Police said there were no serious injuries in the crash that happened on Whitford-Maraetai Rd.

Diversions were in place and the road was expected to be closed between its intersection with Henson Rd and Jack Lachland Drive and the main roundabout at Whitford for some time.

Police have been unable to comment on whether any of the above crashes were weather related.


Inspector Ross Lienert, at the police national command and co-ordination centre, said heavy rainfall did increase the risk on the road, but said this was not an excuse for poor driving.

"It is always the responsibility of the motorist to drive to the conditions.

"Drive to the conditions, don't speed, wear your seatbelt, drive sober and alert, and don't use your phone while you're driving."