Queues forming, motorists turned away at Auckland border checkpoints

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 28 Feb 2021, 9:46AM
Police checkpoints were established at Auckland's regional borders as the latest chapter in the Covid-19 pandemic unfolds. Photo / Hayden Woodward
Police checkpoints were established at Auckland's regional borders as the latest chapter in the Covid-19 pandemic unfolds. Photo / Hayden Woodward

Queues forming, motorists turned away at Auckland border checkpoints

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 28 Feb 2021, 9:46AM

Queues in some spots but long stretches of empty highway elsewhere marked Auckland's first day under the latest Covid-19 lockdown.

At Mercer, south of Auckland, police checkpoints were up and running within minutes of the new alert level activation.

Google traffic maps at 9am on Sunday show delays and queues forming on State Highway 1 at Mercer.

About five officers were at one motorway off-ramp to stop vehicles and ensure people with travel exemptions were passing through but others were not.

At Auckland's southern boundary near Mercer. Auckland is now at Level 3 and the rest of New Zealand at the less restrictive Level 2. Photo / Hayden WoodwardAt Auckland's southern boundary near Mercer. Auckland is now at Level 3 and the rest of New Zealand at the less restrictive Level 2. Photo / Hayden Woodward

Virtually all drivers were compliant, many even voicing their thanks to the officers.

About one-third of vehicles were being turned away.

"Police will re-establish road checkpoints in and out of the Auckland region when Alert Level 3 restrictions come into effect," police said in a statement last night. "The checkpoints on the outskirts of Auckland will be stopping vehicles and questioning drivers, ensuring there is no non-essential movement through the region.

"Anyone attempting to travel across the regional boundaries should expect to be stopped and asked for proof of essential travel."

Roadblocks like this one have been established at Auckland's regional borders. Photo / Hayden WoodwardRoadblocks like this one have been established at Auckland's regional borders. Photo / Hayden Woodward

Border checkpoints were a contentious matter in the most recent "circuit-breaker" lockdown, when confusion broke out at the city's northern border over redrawn boundaries.

The Prime Minister last night said people who were granted travel exemptions during the mid-February lockdown would not have to re-apply during this lockdown.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said people wanting to replace documents, update workers, or make a new request should log into the business travel register