Police are adding more Covid checkpoints to the Auckland region, just as cars and trucks travelling on State Highway 1 from Waikato to Auckland came to a virtual standstill south of the Bombay Hills earlier today.
Video footage showed the traffic stretching back south of Pokeno and moving at a snail's pace towards a Covid police checkpoint at Bombay.
In a statement issued this afternoon, police said they had increased the number of checkpoints in South Auckland by three to eight.
The new checkpoints are at Pinnacle Hill/Medhurst Rd, Buckville Rd/Harrisville Rd and Mill Rd/Razorbck Rd.
Police warned motorists to expect delays at the checkpoints during peak hours.
The extra checkpoints come after motorists reported heavy delays south of Auckland.
Chantel Boshoff, whose husband Freddie filmed the drone footage at Kowhai Downs, across State Highway 1 from Pokeno, said she had observed from her kitchen window a truck moving a few centimetres in 45 minutes.
She said a friend left Pokeno at 5.45am to work in Auckland and took two hours to approach the checkpoint at Nikau Rd at Bombay before getting turned around and sent home.
The friend, who works at Ports of Auckland and had a letter allowing him to work, had previously been allowed through a checkpoint at Razorback Rd, but not on SH1 today, she said.
"This is insanely ridiculous. This is people's lives that are being played on with luck.
"It's pretty scary actually. I feel so bad for all those people whose time is being wasted," said Boshoff, saying there is no consistency being shown by the police at the border.
"Some people get to go in and work for their families and others get sent home."
Waikato District councillor Jacqui Church said many people, who travel from Waikato to work in Auckland, were having different experiences at the border.
"A lot of people are suffering and worrying about their jobs," said Church, saying people from north Waikato were doing their best to follow the rules.
Writing on Facebook, one local Leanne Puffett said there needed to be a better system - "husband still waiting two hours in line at Bombay".
Police said the traffic in and out of Auckland is heavily restricted and motorists should expect the police will be questioning them about their movements.
A police spokeswoman said the latest data for the Auckland checkpoints was for Saturday, which showed 50,468 vehicles were stopped and 676 were turned around.
"These numbers show the significant volumes of traffic going through police checkpoints and we urge people to ensure they are only undertaking essential and permitted travel in and out of Tāmaki Makaurau.
"We are asking drivers to have as much documentation as possible ready to show police at the checkpoints. If you do not have this, then unfortunately police will have to turn you around," the spokeswoman said.
The NZ Transport Agency said travel to and from Auckland remains restricted at level 3 and to expect delays north and south of the city.
"If travelling for essential purposes please be patient, allow extra time & have supporting documentation ready," the agency said.
North Auckland checkpoints:
• SH1/Mangawhai Rd
• Mangawhai Rd/North of Coal Hill Rd
• MangawhaiRd/Ryan Rd
• Mangawhai Rd/Cames Rd
• Black Swamp, West of Rako Rd
South Auckland checkpoints:
• Mill Rd/Razorback Rd
• Pinnacle Hill Rd/Medhurst Rd
• Tuakau Rd/Buckland Rd
• Buckville Rd/Harrisville Rd
• Kawakawa/Orere Rd. & Orere/Matingarahi Rd.
• Mangatawhiri Rd. Lyons Rd