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Concerned residents at one of Auckland's most popular beach hotspots are calling for police blockades as the lockdown lifts.
But police also appear to be allowing communities to continue operating their own checkpoints, despite questions over their legality.
With the alert level to be lowered to 3 from Tuesday, New Zealanders are allowed to expand their bubble - but have been advised to "keep it regional".
For many, that will mean taking to the water after a month of lockdown, as water-based activities including swimming, surfing and kayaking are all allowed close to shore.
But the Muriwai Beach community of 1000 residents, many of them retirees, are worried about the looming influx of Aucklanders.
"Our isolated community is in its own bubble, with a vast majority not leaving the village or their properties at all during the level 4 lockdown," Ian Phillips said in a letter to the Government.
However, the community bubble was "only 20 minutes' drive" from Auckland city.
Even during lockdown, when people should only be leaving their house for essential reasons, Muriwai locals had noticed an uptick in non-residents visiting the area, he said.
"Some visitors who have been queried as to the reason for their visit have come from a one-hour drive away and yet they consider Muriwai Beach as their local beach.
"This is, of course, a nonsense, but is typical of the response whether they be surfers from Takapuna, dog walkers from Henderson, shellfish gatherers and fisher people from Howick, or a family from Grey Lynn on an afternoon trip."
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster today defended police actions in allowing some communities to set up checkpoints over the past four weeks.
Many communities and people were feeling "vulnerable" and "fearful" early on, he told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking, and had set up checkpoints to enhance safety.
He indicated police would continue to allow these to happen, albeit under the watchful eye of officers.
But Hosking pointed out that average "Bob" couldn't stop people such as essential workers, and it was a police job to set up checkpoints, not the public's.
Coster said: "We need to make sure people have the freedom to move as they are entitled to. The checkpoints haven't been stopping permissive movement under the controls. We have been careful to make sure they are set up in a way that's appropriate.
"We need to normalise this by ensuring there is a police presence at locations where there is a community determined to continue.
"We absolutely understand the particular vulnerabilities that different communities have been feeling. We don't believe that risk exists in the same way now. We will be working with them."
He denied police were being soft.
He said level 3 was still not be the time to be "tiki touring" around the country.
"We are hopeful that people will keep doing the right thing which is stay home and stay local."
Just 0.1 per cent of the population had been prosecuted.
"I am pretty proud of the way New Zealanders have responded."
There had been 4452 lockdown breaches since the lockdown began, including 423 in the past day, Coster said on Thursday. And as the country entered its final week of level 4 living, there have been increased reports of people popping their bubbles, gathering in public areas and not obeying physical distancing rules.
Coster warned New Zealanders not to get complacent over Anzac weekend and said police would be out in force on the roads and in holiday hotspots.
Phillips called on the police to erect roadblocks or to allow locals to do so, and to pour more officers into the area.
"Muriwai Beach residents are clearly vulnerable," he said.
"There is a uniqueness in its isolated position. Yet it is so close to the Waitematā that visitors 20 minutes' drive from outside of our community bubble could so easily bring the infection into our community by not abiding by the stay local rule, and by failing to adhere to essential travel and social distancing."
But Coster said police didn't encourage communities to set up Covid-19 checkpoints and were ensuring they were not preventing any lawful use of the road.
"Working in partnership with the local authority, the local Civil Defence emergency manager, local Iwi, community groups and police, we will assess whether checkpoints are needed or if there are other solutions," he said.
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If police deemed a checkpoint to be necessary for vulnerable communities, one would be erected and operated by district police alongside community members, he said.
"We recognise that community efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19 are motivated in the interests of the wider community. However, police must protect people's fundamental right to freedom of movement around their region for legitimate purposes."
The Muriwai Regional Park and vehicle access to the beach will remain closed at level 3, but Phillips worried that Aucklanders would ignore that.
"As well as roadblock checkpoints, it would also be beneficial for the Auckland Council to make public announcements reinforcing to the public that the regional park here is closed and that non-essential travel to Muriwai Beach is not permitted," he said.
"This is a situation that we feel, as level 3 is implemented, demands more attention than it is currently being given."
Mark Fergus, Waitematā North Area Commander, said police had been patrolling remote Waitematā West Coast communities including Muriwai, Piha and Bethells Beach.
"Police have engaged with some people who have come from outside the immediate area and travelled across parts of Auckland to go the beaches and those spoken to have been educated and reminded that this type of travel is not permitted under the level 4 restrictions," he said.
"In the past weeks we've also spoken with a number of surfers at West Coast beaches who were warned for breaching the lockdown restrictions."
Fergus said police would continue to patrol the area over the Anzac weekend as level 4 restrictions remained.
"We have also assured the Muriwai community that under alert level 3, Police will continue to have an increased presence in public," he said.
"We will continue to closely monitor the situation and respond to instances where people are found to be in breach of the restrictions that remain in place."
At alert level 3, people need to remain home unless they are travelling to work, exercising or getting essential services.
"The public is allowed to travel within their own region for the purpose of exercise, which may lead to an increase in Aucklanders travelling to some of our West Coast beaches, however, you are encouraged to stay closer to home.
"It's important that social distancing is maintained when out in public by keeping a two-metre distance from those outside your bubble."