Police to work with iwi on Northland checkpoints
New Zealand Police are encouraging people to familiarise themselves with the new traffic light settings which come into effect tomorrow and ensure they abide by the requirements and restrictions.
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster has also confirmed that police are working with iwi to manage Northland checkpoints when the borders around Auckland reopen on December 15.
“In Northland, Police are working closely with Iwi around our plans to ensure we welcome visitors after 15 December in a way that will help protect vulnerable communities,” says Coster
“With the support of Iwi, Police will set up and manage checkpoints to confirm that those travelling from Auckland meet the requirements.
“Police will be very mindful of traffic flows, but the public can expect they may be stopped and spoken to by Police to ensure they are abiding by the requirements of the Public Health Order.”
This means travellers into the region will need to show proof of vaccination status or a negative Covid-19 test.
The rules around this are on the Unite Against COVID-19 website for travel at the Red and Orange settings.
Police say they will have a low tolerance for people attempting to travel north without meeting the requirements.
The move has been criticised by ACT Party leader David Seymour.
He says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Coster have been “bullied” into the decision by iwi.
“Can she really say these checkpoints were going to be set up anyway, or are they being done because iwi was taking the law into their own hands and doing them regardless,” says Seymour.
“What happens if you happen upon a checkpoint that has no Police staff there, but only iwi? Do you call the police, and when they arrive is the checkpoint suddenly legal?
“If iwi want to help the community, they should be out encouraging people to get vaccinated, not restricting other people from moving around their own country.”
Yesterday, Labour’s Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said that iwi should not be setting up their own roadblocks, with police instead being the only ones who should have the final say on that issue, as reported by Newshub.
As mandated under the current Public Health Order, Police checkpoints will continue to operate at the Auckland southern and northern boundaries with the current requirements for people travelling through them, until December 15.
“I want to acknowledge our police staff who have worked tirelessly on these checkpoints, in all weather, and thank them for their efforts,” says Coster.
Under the new traffic light settings, Police will continue to conduct traffic and road stops in regions where travel is restricted.
“Please continue to stay the course and follow the rules – the community’s collective efforts are making a difference,” says Coster.
“I ask everyone does their best as we all adjust to the new system.”
Coster has thanked New Zealanders for their efforts in the fight against Covid-19 and is understanding of potential early teething problems with the traffic light system.
“The vast majority of New Zealanders have been outstanding in their response to restrictions under the Alert Level system, and Police want to thank all members of the public who supported our staff particularly in the Tāmaki Makaurau region,” says Coster.
“From experience, we know there is always a period of adjustment when changes are made to settings and we expect this to be the same with the move to the new Covid-19 Protection Framework.
“Police will focus on helping people understand what the changes mean through its education and engagement approach.”
Police will also be working through the new rules and thank the public for their patience as we do so.
Information can be found on the official Unite Against Covid-19 website here.