1 Sep 2021

Dog returns, family births in reasons denied at Auckland border

From Checkpoint, 5:24 pm on 1 September 2021

Puppy returns and family births are among the invalid reasons that have  been given for crossing Auckland's southern border today.

With Auckland and Northland at alert level 4, and the rest of the country at level 3, a police checkpoint has been set up at Mercer.

Aucklanders cannot head south unless they have documents proving they are allowed to travel.

As reporter Nick Truebridge and cameraman Nick Monro discovered, some motorists' day was over before it got started.

Road cones forced commuters off state highway 1 at Mercer and onto the bridge above.

Checkpoint visited just after 6am, as police officers were waving motorists down the line. Traffic was at a trickle.

Most cars passed through without any issues, with a couple turned away. 

Two men in a silver sedan pull up to the checkpoint. They were in possession of a puppy that they had been trying to return to someone south of the border.

They had the puppy, but not the right papers, so pooch's trip south ended near the Mercer McDonalds car park. 

Another vehicle pulls up, the driver's son's partner was giving birth, but a sympathetic officer explained it wasn't a valid reason to get into a hospital in a city in lockdown level 4.

Soon after, a van loaded with four men was ushered out of the queue to the side of the road.

The men said they were cleaners, heading to Cambridge for a job at a takeaway restaurant. But they did not have the right papers.

After deliberation, the police agreed correct documentation was essential for the men to get through. 

At least 3,500 businesses have been given exemptions to pass through the checkpoints. Most at Mercer were given the all clear, some were sent back to the Covid-19 red zone of Auckland, either to sort out the paperwork, or stay put.