New Zealand police have said they were alarmed at the number of drivers who were caught driving intoxicated during the Ohakune Mardi Gras.

Police had a strong presence at the event with local officers, highway patrol and traffic alcohol group staff out in force.

19 people were processed for driving with excess breath alcohol between Friday night and Sunday morning, with one breath alcohol result reading 691 mgms.

Central District Road Policing Mardi Gras Manager Senior Sergeant Kris Burbery said these numbers were completely unacceptable.

“We work very hard to keep the roads safe for all users and drivers who are prepared to take risks like this need to realise the consequences, they’re putting theirs and other people’s lives in jeopardy.”

Of real concern was the 12 drivers who were pulled over on Saturday and Sunday morning and found to be over the alcohol limit.

“If drivers have been drinking heavily the night before, they shouldn’t get behind the wheel the next morning. Alcohol stays in the system a long time and their driving skills can still be impaired even after sleep,” said Senior Sergeant Burbery.

“Not only that, but the weather conditions were variable on Sunday with extreme wind and rain and all of the 11 drivers processed that morning were planning to travel long distances.”

It’s important to remember that even small amounts of alcohol can affect your driving, and the best advice is always to make the choice to drink or drive, not both.