More than 25,000 vehicles were checked by Police at checkpoints in the Auckland area yesterday, according to new figures from the Police.
The data shows that between 6am and 3.30pm on Sunday, 10,356 vehicles were stopped at the 10 checkpoints, with the majority of stops at the southern checkpoints.
"A large amount of the traffic was as a result of Aucklanders returning to the region yesterday following Saturday evening's announcement that level 3 would be coming into effect," Auckland Police roading manager John Thornley said.
Some 263 vehicles were turned away from the checkpoints over this period – 151 at the northern checkpoints and 112 at the southern checkpoints, according to the new data.
Police are also reporting an "incident" overnight at a southern checkpoint at State Highway 1/Oram Rd.
Thornley said a man was arrested at around 3.30am for alleged drunk and disorderly behaviour.
He was taken to the Hamilton Police station and will be appearing in the Hamilton District Court at a later date.
Thornley also acknowledged the "significant congestion" at the southern checkpoint at Mercer, saying it has created a "frustrating" delays for motorists.
"However Police need to ensure there is no non-essential movement in and out of the region under alert level 3."
Some motorists have complained about up 10 hour waits to get into Auckland.
At Mercer, a queue that was more than a kilometre long earlier this morning quickly diminished to about 500 metres just after 8am.
However, a steady flow of traffic continues to come through.
State Highway 1 is split into two lanes - one for cars and one for trucks, which is relatively free-flowing.
Thornley said Police have been working hard to ease the congestion and waiting times at the checkpoints across the city.
He pointed out queues have been "significantly shorter today".
The figures released by Police this afternoon were the initial numbers that have yet to be verified, Thornley said.
"Police have been working hard to ease the congestion and waiting times at the checkpoints across Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) have been significantly shorter today."
But he warned motorists to expect some delays at checkpoints this week – the Police are advising people to avoid travelling during peak hours.
"We are also reminding motorists travelling through the checkpoints to be prepared to show proof of an exemption."
Last night, NZ Defence Force personnel were called in to support Police at the checkpoints during level 3.