Aucklanders doing Covid-19 lockdown in their Northland baches are potentially placing strain on the North's response to the virus, according to the New Zealand Rural General Practice Network (NZRGPN).

"We do not currently have capacity to manage our own populations, particularly as our staff become unwell, let alone being able to manage this extra influx of people who may well be bringing covid with them," NZRGPN chairwoman Dr Fiona Bolden said.

She said rural practitioners had asked the public not to move out of the city to beach baches to self-isolate as there were not the local resources there to manage.

Feedback from rural practices showed there was already a huge influx of city people around New Zealand going to their beach baches and rural getaways for self-isolation and lockdown.


One Aucklander (who did not want to be named) leaving Whangarei and heading back to Auckland for lockdown on Tuesday last week reported large volumes of traffic at Wellsford heading north.

Ngunguru Dairy owner Bob Patel said Aucklanders had begun arriving at their Tutukaka Coast baches for lockdown soon after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's announcement of pending level four Covid-19 movement controls and school closures.

His store had been the busiest it had been in 20 years ownership in the week leading up to last Wednesday's lockdown.

"It was like Christmas but busier," Patel said.

Seventy-five per cent of those visiting his store were from Auckland, the balance locals.

He said lights were now on in many baches that were usually empty and in darkness at night. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

Aucklanders have also headed to Matapouri. Among these is a person from an international flight to self-isolate. Another is a group of five people who had come north for lockdown.


Matapouri Store owner Craig Pitman said there had been a noticeable increase in Aucklanders coming to baches in his part of the Tutukaka Coast.

Tutukaka General Store worker Kurnal Patel said there had been more unknown faces in the store over the last week.

Meanwhile Ruakaka Beach Holiday Park manager Anne-Marie Abel said her facility was currently open for those living in campervans needing to be in an official campground for lockdown. The holiday park's website says it is classed as an essential service under the level 4 lockdown rules.

Last week there had been a number of campervans with New Zealanders at the site en route north and south to their chosen lockdown sites.

Those staying needed to be self-contained and could not use campground washing or cooking facilities. The campground has a campervan dump station and town supply water.

Dr Martin Esser, a Ngunguru Medical Centre partner, said there had been inquiries from Aucklanders on the Tutukaka Coast for lockdown. These had been regarding how they would go about getting medical attention generally if needed, rather than about Covid-19.

In contrast to Bolden, he did not believe Aucklanders coming to Tutukaka Coast for lockdown would create extra challenges for the region's health system in coping with Covid-19.

But he said Aucklanders, like everybody in the coast community, should be following strict level 4 isolation rules to make sure this was the case.

"If they stick to their bubble and follow the rules, the risk would not be much higher than anywhere else," Esser said.

Each person needed to do their bit to help make sure this happened.

Those at their baches for the lockdown should not be viewing the time as a holiday.

His practice was well used to the concept of big population influx due to the coast being a known summer location with lots of baches.

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This was in contrast to remote rural practices unused to big population influx.

Esser said he hoped everybody strictly following level 4 Covid-19 control protocols would mean the incidence of the virus stayed low enough for it to be dealt with through existing arrangements with a balance between primary and secondary healthcare operating in balance.

"We wouldn't want to see the provision of general medical care come under undue strain," he said.

"People still have health issues like diabetes and heart disease that need dealing with."

Dairies and small supermarkets from Mangawhai in the south to Coopers Beach in the north all report more people than usual in their businesses in the last week, with in some cases noticeable increases in non-locals.

A Caltex Wellsford staff member said she had last Thursday served a car and caravan combination heading north for lockdown.

New Zealanders had until Last Friday night to be in their final lockdown location.