The blocking of roads to all but locals continues to irk, anger and frighten some people, including a Mid North man who contacted the Northland Age "because I don't know where else to turn."
"I am concerned about the blockades that have been forming on public roads in the Far North. I appreciate that we must limit our travel, but we also must travel for our groceries and other supplies," he said.
"I want to know what is being done by the police and/or elected officials to stop these illegal blockades. These people may be meaning to help, but by interacting with every person driving by they are breaking the current (and most important rules) of the lockdown: keep a safe distance from anyone you aren't living with, and no unnecessary travel. I even heard they were planning to hand out flyers, which is an even bigger risk factor for spreading the illness.
"What's more, they have no legal right to be doing what they are doing. It is grossly irresponsible of the Northland police to condone any unofficial group because it they have signalled others that the action is OK.
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"I'm not scared of the virus, but I am scared of empowered mobs. This action has made it so my wife and I are afraid to leave for supplies."
Hobson's Pledge has also taken exception to the checkpoints, spokesman Don Brash writing an open letter to the Prime Minister, noting that when she announced that the country would move into a period of unprecedented 'self-isolation,' she had made it clear that those measures would be enforced by police officers and the military.
"You specifically urged New Zealanders not to take matters into their own hands, by adopting vigilante measures," he wrote.
"Yet we know from a number of media reports that in at least two parts of the country - Northland and the Eastern Bay of Plenty - checkpoints have been set up by ordinary citizens with not the slightest legal authority to do so to prevent citizens travelling on public highways. In both cases, these ordinary citizens have had some Māori ancestry, and have apparently claimed that this gave them the right to block public highways, and turn back other citizens.
"What is extremely alarming is that the police appear not only to have taken no action to prevent this behaviour, they have explicitly endorsed it. When challenged by journalist Bob Edlin, deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha replied:
"'This is about community policing to be protective. These are unprecedented times, and we are working with communities across the country to restrict the spread of the 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... Iwi are taking a strong leadership role, and we want to model what it looks like when iwi, police, councils and other agencies work in partnership.'
"Prime Minister, this is an extremely disturbing development: either private individuals are allowed, indeed encouraged, to take matters into their own hands, or they are not. There simply must not be one law for those who have some Māori ancestry and a different law for everybody else. Can you assure the public that this kind of behaviour will be stopped, and will not be tolerated again?"