More New Zealand drivers are speeding away from police than ever before, according to provisional statistics released by police this month.
According to police, there were 1398 incidents where drivers refused to stop for officers across New Zealand during the first three months of 2020.
It is the highest quarterly total ever recorded by police, and is almost the double the number recorded during the same period five years ago.
Eight people died during chases last year and two have died during the first three months of 2020.
Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft yesterday called for police not to initiate pursuits when the occupants of the cars were children or young people.
His comments followed a crash early on Sunday morning where a Mazda overloaded with eight teens fled police and crashed, seriously injuring two.
The Independent Police Conduct Authority recommended in March last year following a review that the police need to increase training and research into how to avoid serious harm arising from pursuits.
New Zealand First spokesperson for Law and Order Darroch Ball yesterday highlighted the rising number of pursuits, saying that harsher penalties for those who flee are the answer.
"These numbers have been steadily increasing for the past six years with no action being taken," Mr Ball said.
"There needs to be a re-think of how we approach and deal with fleeing drivers - whatever is happening now is clearly not working with continued sky-rocketing numbers - and with no end to even more record numbers in sight."
Mr Ball said his Members Bill, the Sentencing (Priority of Interests in Sentencing) Amendment Bill, would change the justice system to crack down on offenders during sentencing. The bill has not been drawn from the ballot.