Kaiwaka woman Rachael Harrison was stopped by police from driving to Whangarei to do grocery shopping but there was no such restriction for her flatmate at a checkpoint.
The two shared their stories with the Northern Advocate to highlight the inconsistency law enforcement officers in the thin blue line showed at one of the three checkpoints at the intersection of State Highway 1 and SH12, south of the Brynderwyn Hills, on Wednesday.
The other fixed checkpoints are on Mountain Rd in Kaiwaka and Cove Rd by Bream Tail Rd in Mangawhai.
But Northland police say checkpoints were positioned in locations that were safe for their staff and caused the least inconvenience to essential workers who were still permitted to travel.
Mangawhai and Kaiwaka residents are fuming at not being allowed to travel to Whangārei for shopping and say a checkpoint should have been at the Northland/Auckland border at Te Hana rather than near the Brynderwyn Hills.
They are being directed to Warkworth, which takes longer to travel than going to Whangārei.
"There are only the Four Square and dairies in Kaiwaka and I can't afford to shop there. I only shop in Whangarei once a month and the thing is, there's not much police presence here when there's no Covid in Northland," Harrison said.
"Move the checkpoint to Te Hana because there's no Covid north of there," the 39-year-old said.
Her flatmate, who only wanted to be identified as Scott, said officers at the checkpoint allowed him to travel to Whangārei after he told them he needed to go to the supermarket.
"It seems like [it depends] whichever officer you get on a given day, which is pretty sad. I went to Pak'nSave in Whangārei but seeing the line of people outside, went to Countdown in Tikipunga.
"Police should move the checkpoint I got through further south to Te Hana or however far Auckland spreads to. We don't want to travel to Warkworth where Covid is in sewer water," he said.
A police spokesman said the three checkpoints were set up mid-morning on Wednesday and that operational decisions about the deployment of staff in each district was made by the district's leadership team.
Northland police district commander Superintendent Tony Hill said the checkpoints were a continuation of ongoing enforcement activities that have been occurring over the past week, which have included roving patrols and temporary checkpoints at numerous
locations around the region.
"We needed to ensure that the checkpoints were positioned in locations that were safe for our staff, while also being in places that would cause the least inconvenience to essential workers who are still permitted to travel."
He said Northland police have had ongoing dialogue with Ngāti Whatua and the Te Tai Tokerau Border Patrol over the past week about the deployment of police staff across Northland during alert level 4.
Hill said police have previously worked with other government agencies to identify appropriate locations for fixed checkpoints near the southern entrances to Northland.
Overall compliance has been good at the checkpoints and most motorists were doing the right thing and doing essential travel only, he said.