Thousands of truckies are preparing to cross alert level boundaries south of Auckland, and hoping private cars on needless jaunts stay away, a transport industry group says.
Meanwhile, drivers with recently-expired warrants of fitness will likely avoid penalties in days ahead, unless vehicles are clearly unsafe.
Road Transport Forum chief executive Nick Leggett said the industry group met with Government agencies today and shared lessons from previous lockdown transport blips.
In February, some families reported being stuck at checkpoints south of Auckland for 10 hours.
In August last year, police checkpoints stopped 2205 vehicles entering or leaving Auckland in one 24-hour period.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is handling business and personal travel exemptions for the current lockdowns.
Leggett said by 8pm Sunday, more than 200 companies had been issued travel documents for more than 2000 people.
Leggett said the MBIE exemption website seemed to be functional and simple but he remained concerned about possible delays at the alert level boundary.
New Zealand south of Auckland will enter level 3 at 11.59pm on Tuesday, while Auckland and Northland stay at the strictest alert level.
It was crucial for supply chains that unnecessary private car trips were minimised, Leggett said.
This would allow police at checkpoints could focus on getting essential trucks through, he said.
"One plus I would say about this, is the Government is cracking down on private vehicles trying to get across the border for non-essential reasons."
Delays at checkpoints could also cause animal welfare problems for drivers transporting livestock, he said.
Leggett said any essential service vehicles suffering mechanical issues should be able to get repaired, as maintenance of those trucks was also deemed an essential service.
But it's not so easy for private car owners getting warrants for personal vehicles, with mechanics and testing stations supposed to be closed at the highest alert level.
And Leggett said confusion remained about possible exemptions for vehicle fitness warrants and certificates.
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency said its current approach was consistent with last year's lockdown.
"We have worked with police to come to an understanding, which has been communicated to industry, that police will act with discretion during lockdown," an agency spokeswoman said.
She said if a warrant or certificate of fitness or driver licence was expired by a few days due to alert level restrictions, police would use discretion and not enforce penalties as usual.
"The priority is safety, not paperwork, and we want to remind vehicle owners and operators that they have a duty to ensure the vehicle is safe," she added.
"Police will act where they find unsafe vehicles."
She said Waka Kotahi was still examining if an official exemption process was needed if the lockdown went on for a long time.