March to travel from Rotorua to Northland
Police are increasing their presence at the Auckland boundary following news of a planned hīkoi, also known as a march, intending to travel from Rotorua to Northland today.
Police are warning those who intend to take part in this that any travel across the Auckland boundary, that is not specifically permitted by the Health order requires an exemption.
The self-proclaimed Sovereign Hīkoi of Truth (SHOT) movement was formed to "bring to light the truth", according to a press release issued on Monday, with its supporters rallied around the common value that New Zealanders are "all free" and "entitled to live in freedom". A hīkoi is defined as a communal walk or march, typically for publicity or as a form of protest.
According to posts shared on social media, the convoy of protesters intended to travel from Rotorua at midnight on Wednesday and pass through the checkpoint at Mercer, a village near the Waikato-Auckland border, before travelling through Auckland to the Te Hana checkpoint near the Auckland-Northland boundary. They then plan to travel to Waitangi and gather to "assert our right", reports Newshub.
In a statement released last night, police say they have been planning around this hīkoi and are monitoring the situation.
"As a result, there will be an increased policing presence at the Auckland boundary.
"Those who are found to be deliberately breaching alert level restrictions can expect to face enforcement action.
"Anyone found to have unlawfully crossed the Auckland boundary may also face difficulties in returning to their place of residence given the restrictions in place."
Police say they have been also liaising closely with Iwi partners in Tāmaki Makaurau and Northland on this matter.
"These boundaries are in place to help stop the spread of Covid-19 given the increased risk that the Delta variant poses to our communities.
"Police and Iwi are coming to this kaupapa from the same place and we remind those intending on taking part in this hīkoi that crossing the boundary cannot happen until such time as Covid-19 restrictions allow for this.
"As part of our planning, police are advising members of the public not involved in the hīkoi who may be undertaking permitted travel late this evening to delay this if at all possible.
"There are likely to be road closures put in place in the event that those involved in this hīkoi attempt to unlawfully cross the Auckland boundary."