A long Waikato road will be plunged into two different alert levels from tonight as borders come into force effectively splitting Auckland and Northland from the rest of the country.
Auckland will remain at level 4 for at least two more weeks, but everywhere south from there will drop to level 3.
One of the boundaries cuts right in the middle of Koheroa Rd, in Mercer, leaving people on one side of a Mercer street in Auckland's level 4, while the other side will move with Waikato to level 3 and benefit from the additional freedoms.
Waikato farmer Ashley Thomas' Koreoa Rd property nears the Mercer Bridge so regardless of whatever level he's in he has to go through the checkpoint every time he leaves his home.
Thomas has a farm on the western side with a run-off on the eastern side. Under the current rules both properties are in level 4 but due to the boundary being on the bridge they still have to go through the checkpoint.
During Auckland's last lockdown it meant his farm manager was often having to wait in queues to go to work or grab a quad bike or dogs at least three times a day.
"If there's a queue there - all you want to do is go and move some cows and come back but you have to wait in a queue and go through a checkpoint each way."
Thomas said personally it would make it easier if the boundary was reinstated at Bombay as it was during the first lockdown in March last year. He said that way they would be in level 3 and so would their closest supermarket in Pokeno.
Waikato District mayor Alan Sanson said it putting a border in the middle of a road was ludicrous and created a huge headache for residents - many who were farmers - who were now trying to get their heads around the rules.
Sanson said a lot of farmers would also be in the situation where parts of their farms were classed as level 4 and the other part would be from midnight tonight classed as level 3.
"A lot of farms are on both sides of the road. A lot of farmers travel to run-offs and other land they own," he said.
"This cuts through a huge area of the coast up at Waikaretu, up Waikaretu Valley through to SH22, down Glen Murray Rd, down Churchill Rd - I know all these roads very, very well and I know there's hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people, farmers affected by the because they travel it every day but now there's an added complication because they are on the boundary of 3 and 4."
Sanson said the boundary could only be changed by Cabinet issuing an additional health order and that wouldn't happen so they were "stuck with it".
His advice to residents was to carry their driver's licence as well as a proof of address such as a rates or utilities bill.
He said personal and business travel was permitted under certain circumstances and this included people travelling in between the two areas for business or health reasons such as accessing their doctors.
Drawing the line between Auckland and the Waikato regions has been an ongoing headache for the Government since the first pandemic where the boundary was in place north of Pokeno. It was moved further south after the last lockdown to make it easier for north Waikato residents to access supermarkets and healthcare.
And it's not just the southern boundary causing headaches.
Mangawhai resident Brett McDowall is also concerned about the implication of the northern boundary if Northland moves into level 3 on Friday morning.
Coal Hill Rd, where McDowall lives, has previously been on the Auckland and Northland boundary, which meant last lockdown he had to show proof of address to be allowed to go into Mangawhai rather than 40km away in Warkworth.
McDowall said there were rumours a new boundary might be established to include Mangawhai in level 4, which would annoy residents who firmly believed they lived in Northland.
"There's a lot of people in Mangawhai and Mangawhai is kind of the jewel of the rates paid in a lot of Northland..."
Kaipara mayor Dr Jason Smith said it was his understanding at this stage that the original five point regional boundary would be reinstated north of Wellsford and that all of Northland would be kept together.
"For me as mayor of Kaipara District, Mangawhai and Kaiwaka represent half of the ratepayers of Kaipara District so to put them in an Auckland lockdown right now at a different alert level than the rest of Northland would be very challenging and with regard to the health orders."
However, he pointed out that it could all changed as the Government hadn't even confirmed whether Northland would definitely be moving to level 3 on Friday.