Unexpected police checkpoints have stopped Mangawhai residents from heading north towards Whangārei to access essential services.
Northland police confirmed three fixed checkpoints were in operation at the State Highway 1 intersection with State Highway 12 in Brynderwyn, Mountain Rd in Kaiwaka, and Cove Rd by Bream Tail Rd in Mangawhai.
Mangawhai local John Stewart, 61, was on his way to Pak 'n' Save in Whangārei to stock up on groceries when he was turned around by police at Bream Tail Rd about 9.30am today.
"[Police] basically said, they were wanting Northland to be able to drop down a level as soon as possible."
"The problem I have is that, this time, the border is now north of Mangawhai rather than south on the Kaipara-Auckland border like last time – which was fair enough then," he said.
Stewart was frustrated Mangawhai was being excluded from Northland because of the location of the checkpoint.
"There was no warning," he said. "There was no official information."
The only indication something was amiss were comments posted on the local Mangawhai Facebook page by residents miffed surprise checkpoints were in place.
Motorists were told by officers at the checkpoint to either carry out essential tasks locally or drive to Warkworth.
Stewart said the change meant a 50 minute one-way trip to Countdown in Warkworth - only 10 minutes longer than if he was able to drive to Whangārei.
"It's not much different but it'll take up the rest of my day. Getting there is one thing but we've got no idea what the queues will be like."
The only reason he was trying to get to the supermarket was because their usual shopping style of online deliveries were completely booked up.
Stewart said Mangawhai had two local Four Square grocery stores, which carried all the necessities, but was too expensive for them to do their large grocery shop there.
"Our online shop is for two to three weeks worth. To do a full grocery shop at the Four Square gets rather expensive."
Another Mangawhai resident posted on the local Facebook page saying she had attempted to travel to Ruakākā to do her grocery shopping but was stopped at Langs Beach.
She said the officer told her he was just doing his job and that she would need to get what she needed from Mangawhai.
"Not everyone can afford to do a full shop in Mangawhai. This is getting out of hand," her post read.
Northland district commander Superintendent Tony Hill confirmed police were establishing three fixed checkpoints at southern entry points to the region.
"Anyone attempting to travel into Northland from outside of the region or around the region can expect to be stopped by police at a checkpoint or randomly, and asked about their purpose for travel."
Hill said there was no excuse for people not following the rules, given the country had been operating with restrictions for the past week.
"We will look to take enforcement action against those who blatantly ignore the restrictions in place."
Police planned to "assess and monitor" the locations of the checkpoints, as well as where staff were allocated across the district, and "engage with local iwi and community", Hill said.
"We want our whānau and community to feel safe and we want to reassure our local communities that we have been, and will continue to take action where motorists choose to disregard the travel current restrictions."
Northland police were yet to respond to the Advocate's queries about why the check point was north of Mangawhai, as opposed to being set up in previous locations.
In February, Mangawhai was dubbed the "land of confusion" as the coastal village was included in Auckland's lockdown.
At the time Kaipara mayor Dr Jason Smith said it was extremely confusing, and the community needed to know what was happening.