A passenger in a car that fled police in the Far North overnight has died in the ensuing crash.
Two more people, including the driver, suffered critical injuries and were flown to hospital, while another two suffered moderate to minor injuries.
Police began pursuing the vehicle in central Kaitaia about 1.20am, but soon abandoned the chase due to the speed and manner of driving, Northland district commander Superintendent Tony Hill said.
"The fleeing vehicle has continued onto a rural road and crashed into a power pole," Hill said.
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A backseat passenger died at the scene.
"Fleeing driver events can be volatile, unpredictable and high risk to everyone involved, so whether or not to pursue a fleeing driver is one of the most serious decisions our staff face on the frontline.
"Our officers come to work every day to keep people safe and prevent harm so this is the worst possible outcome."
Hill extended his "sincere condolences" to the families impacted by the tragedy.
"The circumstances of this incident will be subject to a police investigation and the Independent Police Conduct Authority will be notified."
The road was closed for a scene examination overnight and reopened just before 6am.