Planning on hitting the road over Easter? Don't.

Police are ramping up efforts to stop anyone who might try to break lockdown rules by heading away for a long-weekend holiday.

More checkpoints will be set up around a number of locations, police say, including popular holiday spots and arterial roads near them.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said the measures would help ensure people were aware of lockdown requirements - that if you were not out for an "essential" purpose, then you should be at home.


"We know many New Zealanders may have been planning to catch up with friends and family this weekend or travel to traditional holiday destinations, but we urge anyone who was planning to do this - please change your plans and stay home," he said.

"To help ensure people know about the Health Act restrictions, police will be out and about checking that people are travelling for essential purposes only."

Nearly 300 Kiwis have breached lockdown rules so far. Photo / Alex Burton
Nearly 300 Kiwis have breached lockdown rules so far. Photo / Alex Burton

Such purposes include if you are heading out to get food items, medical supplies, for medical appointments, or if you are an essential worker.

People could expect police officers to be very visible over the long weekend, Coster said, and they would be working in collaboration with local authorities and those from Civil Defence Emergency Management groups.

"Our primary focus will be on reminding people if you don't have to travel, then please don't.

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"It's simple - travelling to and from different towns and cities risks spreading Covid-19 and puts lives at risk."

Mayors in the Hawke's Bay put out a simple albeit slightly funny message to locals: "Don't be an egg this Easter - stay home and save lives."


Those in and around the Gisborne area can also expect to be stopped if they are out and about over the long weekend.

Dave Wilson, of the local emergency co-ordination centre, said people would be stopped and asked about where they were headed.

"We've been working with police to best utilise the resources that we have available to them, also making sure that we manage our priority areas such as serious crime and harm cases."

Facebook groups urged to stop those trying to get around lockdown rules

Facebook community groups dedicated to road and traffic alerts are also being urged to monitor pages carefully for people trying to get around lockdown rules.

The Coromandel Peninsula Road Status Facebook group has posted a special notice about the issue.

"Over the last few days, the moderation team has seen an influx of people joining this group. We are concerned people are using this [page] to circumvent road blocks and other security measures put in place to help prevent the spread of the virus.

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"Putting aside the personal feelings from the moderation team and any full-time residents here, we need to make sure this group is not used in any way to facilitate the breaking of lockdown rules."

The moderators of the group have now implemented its own lockdown on the page - no longer accepting new followers and checking all posts from followers before making them public.

Almost 300 people snapped breaking rules

This weekend's extra police presence comes after it was revealed almost 300 people around New Zealand had been snapped breaking the rules in the past two weeks.

A total of 16 people are now facing prosecution.

Of the 291 breaches recorded by authorities, 263 had received warnings and 12 people had received a youth referral.

Police confirmed that Health Minister David Clark - who twice broke lockdown rules to go mountain biking and to a beach 20km from his house - was not among the reported breaches recorded. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website