Police to move some of Auckland's lockdown checkpoints after confusion

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 15 Feb 2021, 8:50PM
(Photo / NZ Herald)
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Police to move some of Auckland's lockdown checkpoints after confusion

Author
Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 15 Feb 2021, 8:50PM

Police have clarified the location of Auckland's lockdown checkpoints, following confusion north of Auckland this morning where residents report being turned away from the police-manned stations.

Eight checkpoints were set up around Auckland's regional boundaries as the city entered alert level 3 at midnight Sunday.

The rest of the country is at alert level 2.

The topic of lockdown checkpoints came up at today's Ministry of Health Covid-19 update, where Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern conceded there was a "very clear miscommunication" regarding checkpoints' boundaries.

Auckland's "legal border" is exactly the same in the north as it was last time - but this morning there was a checkpoint further north.

Ardern suspected police extended Auckland's border to Mangawhai because it might have meant people could travel more widely in the region but what it actually meant was more towns and communities were affected than needed - but said she wasn't looking to find blame.

A map of Auckland's level 3 border and more information on travelling through the boundary is available on the Government's Covid-19 website.

Police are setting up additional checkpoints and "refining" the locations of the checkpoints to ensure they are as close as possible to Auckland's border.

The current three existing checkpoints north of Auckland will be relocated back to the same five locations from the last regional lockdown in 2020.

All other checkpoints will remain in their current positions, however, this is being regularly reviewed and assessed, a police spokesperson said.

The new checkpoints will be in place by 6pm and stay in place until midnight February 17.

By 6pm checkpoints will be at the following locations:

Northern

• SH1/Mangawhai Rd (Twin Coast Discovery Highway)

• Mangawhai Rd/north of Coal Hill Rd

• Black Swamp, west of Rako Rd

• Mangawhai Rd and Cames Rd

• Mangawhai Rd and Ryan Rd

Note: Mangawhai Rd also known as the Twin Coast Discovery Highway

Southern

• Mercer off-ramp/Koheroa Rd – (southbound traffic on SH1 and Mercy Ferry Rd).

• SH1/Oram Rd – (northbound traffic on SH1)

• Mangatawhiri Rd /Koheroa Rd/SH2 off-ramp (All east and westbound traffic)

• East Coast Rd (Waharau Regional Park)

• Pukekawa-Churchill/Highway 22 and Highway 22/Logan Rd

• Tuakau Bridge-Port Waikato Rd intersection with Klondyke Rd

The spokesperson said police have been pleased with the public's response so far following a change in alert levels overnight.

"While there have been some expected delays, police report the public have been co-operative and understanding."

A small number of motorists have been turned away at the checkpoints due to non-essential travel, the spokesperson said.

"Police are continuing to work with a graduated response and with today being the first day of checkpoints coming into effect, police's focus has been to first engage with and educate motorists at the checkpoints about the current travel restrictions."

Motorists heading out through a checkpoint have been warned to plan ahead and expect some delays.

"The key message for motorists is to plan ahead and expect some delays. Those who are stopped will be asked about their reason for travel, and to provide proof of an exemption."

Police across Tāmaki Makaurau have also been conducting reassurance and visibility patrols, particularly around testing sites where there has been a large turnout this morning.

Traffic has noticeably decreased on the roads in Auckland today, the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson also reminded the public that front station counters in Tāmaki Makaurau are closed to the public with the exception of Henderson (Waitematā), College Hill (Auckland City) and the Counties Manukau Hub, which are all open 24/7 but with restricted access.

North Shore policing centre will also be open 7am to 10pm, seven days a week, with restricted access, it said.

"Where possible, members of the public are asked to visit us online. You can report non-emergency situations online at www.police.govt.nz/105support or call 111 if it's an emergency."

Police expect to be able to release the first set of figures relating to the number of vehicles travelling through or turned away from the checkpoints tomorrow.