Auckland family let through checkpoint without exemption to attend funeral

Source: 1News

An Auckland family who drove to a relative’s funeral in Palmerston North, breaching Alert Level 4 restrictions, were able to get through a police checkpoint without having the correct documentation.

Caskets, ashes urns, plaques, coffin art.

1News understands police allowed the family to cross the border with a letter of support to try and gain an official exemption from Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick, not the required Ministry of Health exemption documents.

They continued six hours south to be with extended family. One of the three adult family members, that travelled to the Manawatū, told 1News the family did not attend the funeral once they were there, instead watching it on a livestream.

1News understands the family left Auckland last Friday September 10, and were driving back one week later - Saturday September 18.

Act Party Leader David Seymour said in a statement to 1News: “Authorities accepting directives from politicians made outside proper process is banana republic stuff.“

“I never thought that the authorities at the border would accept a special ‘David Seymour exemption letter’.”

It’s understood the family was denied an exemption, before seeking help from Swarbrick, the Auckland Central MP.

Swarbrick declined an interview with 1News. Instead a Green Party spokesperson provided a statement which said: “It’s common for people to ask for MPs’ support for travel exemptions but MPs cannot grant exemptions and we are clear to people that they need to stay home if they don’t get an exemption.

“This is now a matter for police.”

Police declined to comment, citing privacy reasons related to the trio involved. They directed 1News to the Covid-19 website for what is acceptable forms of travel documentation, where it states that in order to pass the border a person must include either a Personal Travel Document issued by the Ministry of Health or a letter stating an exempted purpose and the destination of the person.

It is understood the family failed to present either document when questioned by police at the border.