28 Feb 2021

Covid-19: Checkpoints at Auckland's borders with city in alert level 3

11:23 am on 28 February 2021

Checkpoints have been set up at Auckland's borders, as the city begins another alert level 3 lockdown today.

A police checkpoint at Auckland's southern border in Mercer on 28.2.2021, the day the city entered Covid-19 alert level 3 for seven days.

The queue at Auckland's southern border is about 60 cars long as area restrictions are back in force. Photo: RNZ / Jordan Bond

This morning, traffic has been steadily building at Auckland's southern border on State Highway 1.

At about 11am, there were 200 cars waiting at the police checkpoint set up this morning at Mercer causing about a 30 minute wait for those drivers.

The majority of those leaving Auckland have told police they are going home.

The four or five officers questioning drivers, are asking for proof of address such as a utility bill or a driver's licence.

In a half hour period this morning, not one car was seen being turned around.

Essential workers are allowed through, and trucks have a dedicated lane where they can pass through unchecked.

The government says travel exemptions granted during the lockdown earlier this month will be automatically renewed.

Eight checkpoints on the outskirts of Auckland will stop vehicles and question drivers, ensuring there is no non-essential movement through the region.

Last night Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said people who lived in Auckland but are currently away could return, and anyone who was in Auckland but did not live there could leave.

People transiting through the region would be allowed to do so, and those who live just outside Auckland but need to enter for legitimate reasons will also get through the border checkpoints.

Police on standby at Auckland's border checkpoint on 16 February, 2021.

A police checkpoint at Mercer when Auckland was at alert level 3 earlier this month. Photo: RNZ / Kate Gregan

Police say they will be highly visible across the region to ensure people are aware of the alert level 3 restrictions.

Earlier this month when Auckland was in alert level 3, Ardern said that police checkpoints would be stationed at the legal boundary of Auckland.

That came after some confusion over the location of some of the police checkpoints.

Ardern announced the lockdown to control spread of Covid-19, after two new community cases were found in Auckland.

One of the patients could have been infectious since last Sunday.

Under alert level 3 Aucklanders can travel within their local area for essential work, groceries, and to exercise, but schools and public spaces are closed.

Schools are open for children whose caregivers or parents

The rest of the country is now at alert level 2.

This is an official government COVID-19 announcement.

From 28 February, the Auckland region moves to Covid-19 Alert Level 3. The rest of New Zealand moves to Alert Level 2. This is for a period of seven days. Further community cases of Covid-19 have been identified in the Auckland Region. If you are in Auckland, stay home where possible, and follow Alert Level 3 guidelines. This will stop the transmission of Covid-19 and save lives. For more information on the alert levels go to covid19.govt.nz.

RNZ is the statutory Lifeline Utility responsible for radio broadcasting under the Emergency Management Act 2002 and it has a memorandum of understanding with Government which has been activated to help deal with potential health issues related to the pandemic. RNZ's Lifeline Utility obligations do not affect our editorial independence as a public media organisation or the rigour of our news gathering and reporting operations.

As New Zealand's Lifeline Utility radio broadcaster, RNZ is required to maintain essential public information channels and news during times of national emergency and we are committed to supporting all New Zealanders.We are also committed to looking after the health and well-being of our staff.

RNZ will continue to provide essential information services - broadcasting and publishing critical public service announcements on air, on our website and via social media channels. Comprehensive news will be available on air and via our website and digital services.

If necessary RNZ Concert and RNZ Pacific will carry news and information from RNZ National. Parliament will continue to be broadcast on the AM network when the House is sitting. As the country's public service media organisation, RNZ is committed to supporting all New Zealanders.

Kia Kaha - Stay Strong

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs