Northland MP Matt King is calling on police to ''uphold the law'' and shut down illegal Covid-19 checkpoints around the region.
Since March 24, the day before the lockdown came into force, checkpoints aiming to stop unnecessary travel spreading the virus have sprung up around Northland.
Many are part of former Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira's iwi-led ''Tai Tokerau Border Control''. They include checkpoints at Kaikohe, Waitangi, Mangamuka, Kaeo and Hokianga.
Others are run by local residents, Māori and Pākehā, to stop day trippers travelling to coastal settlements such as Whananaki and Pataua.
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Checkpoints around NZ launched to ensure Kiwis comply with lockdown
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Checkpoints quiet, police pleased as Kiwis adhere to lockdown over Easter
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Police setting up checkpoints over Easter
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Kaikohe checkpoint to stay at least to end of lockdown
However, King, a former police officer, said the checkpoints were run by ''local vigilantes'' and intimidating people carrying out legitimate tasks such as grocery shopping.
"I've heard from a growing number of Northland locals who are feeling intimidated and harassed at illegal checkpoints that have been set up by local vigilantes across the Mid and Far North,'' he said.
"We live under New Zealand law and vigilante groups can't just make up their own rules, however well-intentioned. Police must intervene and protect those who are just trying to go about their lawful business, including food shopping or moving to essential employment.''
King urged all Northlanders to stay in their bubbles and respect social distancing rules, and called on the police to ''get these illegal checkpoints under control''.
Asked about King's demand, Deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha said police had ''a close working relationship'' with a number of communities operating checkpoints around the country.
''These are operating in consultation with a number of community groups including;local councils, police, iwi and MPs to help stop the spread of Covid-19.
''Local police in Northland have been regularly checking in on the community checkpoints and have worked closely with the iwi groups who are running these. We have made our expectations very clear around what is appropriate and where issues have arisen, we have intervened,'' Haumaha said.
It is understood one of those interventions was at the Kaikohe checkpoint last week. A woman known only as Rata told a radio station she had called police after being harassed and ''illegally detained''.
The details of what happened remain sketchy, although the woman was allowed to continue on her way after the checkpoint crew took her licence plate details.
Kaikohe checkpoint co-ordinator Jay Hepi said there had been issues with people travelling from Kerikeri to Kaikohe to shop, despite the lockdown barring all but essential travel in one's local area.
He also told the Advocate the checkpoint was being run in co-operation with the police, as well as the Ngāpuhi rūnanga, and under guidelines set by the Far North's top cop Riki Whiu.
Police did not have the resources to operate daily checkpoints though he was happy for them to take over at night, as they did last Wednesday, Hepi said.
Haumaha earlier admitted the blockades were technically illegal but police were supporting them nonetheless.
"These are unprecedented times and we are working with communities across the country to restrict the spread of this virus. We are working with iwi who are taking the lead to ensure rural communities that don't have immediate access to support services are well protected," he said.
By law only road controlling authorities, such as councils or the NZ Transport Agency, or emergency services can close a public road.
Police have also operated a number of checkpoints, most notably at Uretiti on State Highway 1 during Easter when a number of drivers trying to head to Northland holiday homes were warned and sent back to Auckland.