The head of Waiheke Island's community board is threatening to greet Aucklanders arriving on her home patch with a pitchfork, warning day trippers to stay away.
Over the past weekend scores of visitors headed to the picturesque gulf isle as spring-like conditions tempted many outdoors, choosing to steal away across the harbour for bit of rest and relaxation.
But it's alarmed locals on Waiheke Island, a 40-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland, who say their selfish and reckless actions are putting lives at risk under alert level 3 and with community transmission across the city.
"Tell them to stay off our island or I'll be down at the wharf to meet them with my pitchfork," said Waiheke Local Board chairwoman Cath Handley.
"We don't want them here."
And her pleas to stay away have been backed by Auckland Mayor Phil Goff who says a health crisis is not the time for sightseeing excursions around the embattled region.
Under alert level 3, Aucklanders must continue to stay within their household bubbles whenever they are not at work, going to the supermarket, for medical reasons, or exercising.
You can visit a beach or regional parks but people are being told to go to the one nearest their home.
Handley said it was obvious there were a lot of visitors taking a day trip by ferry at the weekend. Many concerned islanders had made contact with her as chair of the board, alarmed by the influx.
She accused those travelling to the island for an outing as "cavalier" and "behaving as though they were invincible".
"It's disappointing for the island. Nobody should be out and about," said Handley.
"It's a disease that causes fatalities."
Those resident on the island, including herself, were living under strict level 3 conditions, only stepping out for essential supplies and exercise.
The mayor said while most were doing their part to contain community transmission, a small group appeared to be shunning health authority advice in the midst of a pandemic.
"The rules are there for a reason: to stop the transmission of Covid-19, keep everyone safe and so that we can get back to level 2 and level 1 as soon as possible.
"This is not the time for day trips to other parts of the region," said Goff.
"If you don't follow the rules, you put yourself at risk. Worse still, you put other people at risk, including friends and family and especially older members."
He added to beat Covid-19 it was important we all stayed home as much as possible, keep local and keep to your bubble.
Handley called for Waiheke Island to be treated as a distinct regional border with movement restricted to essential workers and those with exemptions.
"It's a border and should be policed like any other border."
She hoped to speak to ferry company Fullers360 today reiterating her concerns about the level of non-essential travel and the threat this posed to those living on Waiheke.
A Fullers 360 spokesperson told the Herald that during alert level 3 it was providing an essential service for the Waiheke community, to support those who required essential travel.
Over this last weekend, it transported less than 530 passengers to Waiheke, compared to about 4000 passengers who travelled there last weekend.
"The passenger volumes we are experiencing have significantly reduced and are at consistent levels to what we experienced in the previous alert level 3 and demonstrate the pleasing levels of compliance we've observed since the restrictions have come into place.
"Our crew are reminding passengers of the restrictions around essential travel, and on-wharf announcements are made regularly to reinforce the guidelines."
At the wharf, Auckland Transport security officers were providing support, and police were responsible for enforcing the restrictions, the spokesperson.
"We are working in close collaboration with Auckland Transport, Ministry of Health and NZTA on our Covid-19 response."
The current health crisis meant it was a matter of life and death and the island had so far been spared any positive Covid cases, Handley said. Locals wanted it to stay that way.
"If people here get Covid-19 there are limited ways to get to hospital. Your prospects are pretty awful here. We're just not set up for it.
"Of course we miss the trade but saving lives is far more important now."
She was pleased Health Minister Chris Hipkins yesterday issued a stern warning about Aucklanders flouting the region's strict lockdown rules, making special mention of Waiheke Island.
"It was very reassuring to hear the minister reinforcing the need not to come here," said Handley.
Hipkins spelt out level 3 travel restrictions at the daily government press conference saying people across Auckland should be minimising their movement.
"Stay home unless you've got a very good reason to leave. But people shouldn't be out about taking a day trip to Waiheke," said Hipkins.
Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan said the Waiheke service was fully commercial and operated by Fullers.
If requested, Auckland Transport would work with Fullers to help manage any issues as they did under level 3 earlier in the year.
"We can support in terms of queue management and signage at our ferry facilities," said Hannan.
"The official government Covid-19 page is clear on local travel and it does not allow for day tripping," said Hannan.
This week a raft of public ferry sailings operated by Auckland Transport were stopped altogether during the heightened alert level including the Birkenhead, Bayswater, Stanley Bay and Gulf Harbour services.
Boats to Half Moon Bay and Hobsonville Point have reverted to the previous alert level timetable.