Handful turned away from Northland border checkpoints

Source: 1News

Thousands of vehicles have already passed through Northland's two border checkpoints this morning, with only a handful of people turned around.

Auckland's borders reopened at 11.59pm on Tuesday after 119 days, with those travelling out of the region between December 15 and January 17 required to be fully vaccinated and have their My Vaccine Pass on them. Others must have evidence of a negative Covid-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before departure.

Spot checks are being carried out by police in Mercer during this time and there are two Northland checkpoints south of Whangārei being manned by police and iwi.

They are located on SH1 at Uretiti and SH12 Maungaturoto.

READ MORE: Top tips for travelling across Auckland's borders

Te Tai Tokerau Border Control's Hone Harawira says two vehicles so far had been turned around at Maungaturoto and "less than half a dozen" had been at Waipu.

"The important thing I think is most people are taking note of the requirements," he said.

"If 1000 vehicles have been past the checkpoint, maybe only five have been turned back, so that’s 99.5 per cent of the travelling population are adhering to the process, so that’s cool."

However, some Te Tai Tokerau Border Control volunteers had been turned away from helping at the checkpoints as they weren't police vetted.

Some had reportedly travelled from Waitangi to help and had only found about the vetting requirement late Tuesday.

Harawira said his understanding was only enforcement officers were required to be vetted. Five had already been so.

Northland District Police Commander Superintendent Tony Hill said vetting was part of the process to man the checkpoints in order to keep everyone safe.

Those turned away from the front line could rejoin once they had been vetted, he said, although he appreciated "it has been frustrating for them".

Hill also said two vehicles had been turned around at Maungaturoto but that they had "genuinely misunderstood the rules".