Police are continuing to turn back unauthorised vehicles travelling into and around Northland in breach of Covid alert level 4 rules.
On Friday police set up a checkpoint at Te Hana, at the Auckland-Northland border, where a number of people were found to be heading north with caravans or holiday gear.
The previous night about a dozen vehicles were turned around across Te Tai Tokerau after they were found to be engaging in non-essential travel.
Yesterday police were operating a checkpoint at Waipū.
Superintendent Tony Hill, Northland’s top cop, said it was part of efforts to maintain a visible presence across Te Tai Tokerau and keep the region safe.
Staff had also been carrying out ”reassurance patrols” at essential businesses such as supermarkets, and communicating with iwi and community leaders.
“We know there’s a real concern for iwi and their communities about any unauthorised travel into and across the district and this is why we are deploying staff in response to those concerns… We have all come to this kaupapa from the same place in our response. We are all concerned with keeping some of our most vulnerable communities safe.”
A police officer stops a vehicle towing a caravan north of Auckland on Friday. Photo / Supplied
Police were taking an ”education-first” approach but could take enforcement action if necessary.
With support from local iwi members they had also spoken to a handful of surfers in the water at Ahipara on Thursday.
They were reminded of the alert level 4 restrictions and told to return home.
Hill said Auckland police had boosted their presence in the northern part of their area to make sure travel was for essential purposes only.
Hill said most people were following the rules.
“People know they have a role to play in keeping each other safe and they know what is expected of them in the current restrictions. We are seeing that our communities are largely respecting the requirements to wear face coverings at essential premises.”
Under level 4 people are encouraged to exercise and get fresh air but it should be in their neighbourhood.
Last week locals at Matauri Bay closed the beach after finding people were driving up to 45 minutes to visit the area.
Locals in Houhora, another popular holiday spot in normal times, have set up a Facebook group to monitor lockdown-breakers after facing similar issues.
As of Saturday police nationwide had carried out 2964 checks at essential facilities such as petrol stations, pharmacies and supermarkets along with 4015 prevention and reassurance patrols and 2214 business checks.
Seventeen people — including two arrested after an incident at Kaitaia Pak’nSave — had been charged with 20 offences while 53 people were given formal warnings and 70 were fined.