Adrienne Matthews lives on Main Rd, Hope, near Nelson.

We New Zealanders are usually creatures of habit in our opinions and we like to think we have a handle on what is good and bad, right and fair.

That is probably why an afternoon radio poll on Monday showed 89 per cent of the population is 100 per cent behind police pursuits. After all, we are a country that likes to see justice done and the bad egg caught.

I was woken on Sunday morning by what sounded like an out of control aeroplane screaming down my road. The noise was gone in an instant and I went back to sleep, sure I'd dreamt it.


A few hours later, confronting a large and fully lit redirection sign outside my property that said "Accident" and "Detour", I was instantly alarmed. The sick tremble in the gut that I am so familiar with, having lived on two dangerous arterial roads for most of my adult life, began in earnest.

Throughout the day information filtered in through social media. Three people's lives wiped out in an instant not long before dawn thanks to the decision of one driver to pass another on a blind drop in the road while attempting to outrun a police car.

If you had asked me on Saturday did I approve of police pursuits I would have wholeheartedly said, yes. I too like to see the bad 'uns caught and as quickly and decisively as possible. The events of early Sunday morning however, have changed everything.

My road and my community are scarred now by tragedy and the needless loss of life. Not only has a completely innocent woman been killed because, for a nanosecond she was in the wrong place, but two others have left traumatised families and friends who will be forever affected.

What about the local police who, thanks to police procedure, were doing what they thought was right?

They are people with feelings as valid as any of us along with those of the first responders and members of the public who had to process the shocking scene of multiple deaths and destruction.

The road I live on used to be a country road. It is now a busy arterial route and the amount of traffic has multiplied considerably since the Kaikoura earthquake. It can sometimes take me up to eight minutes to get off my property into the stream of traffic.

You must never be in a hurry as injury and possible death are only centimetres away. It is definitely not a good place to travel at 150km/h. Even 100km/h is too fast.

I no longer believe police pursuits are a good thing. The crazy adrenaline-fuelled decisions that can be made by offenders with the flashing lights and sirens of the law behind them is a recipe for a tragedy. Our statistics show far too many people die as a result of these chases and we are becoming increasingly out of step with other countries that have banned, or at least, reduced them.

Yes, we are a country that believes in the legitimacy of law and order but there have to be other ways to catch criminals that don't result in the carnage that ripples into our communities, creating deep and raw wounds that will never completely heal.

We have to work harder together, to communicate better, to not be afraid to pass on information that we know will help the police and, in the end, help us all.