An Auckland man is facing a raft of charges after driving through the southern border without permission and fleeing police yesterday - telling officers he was going to a "gang funeral" in Thames.
Road spikes were deployed a number of times to stop the man before he was arrested 40 minutes later.
The 32-year-old from Waiuku is now in custody and facing charges of failing to stop, breaching the Covid-19 Health Order, dangerous driving and resisting arrest.
He was due to appear in the Manukau District Court this morning.
He has undergone a test for Covid-19 but the Herald understands he was not known to the Ministry of Health before the alleged breach and is considered "low risk".
The man approached a police checkpoint on Mangatawhiri Rd just before 11.30am yesterday.
The man was the only person in the vehicle and told police he was "going to Thames for a gang funeral".
Inspector Shawn Rutene said the man, who is known to police, failed to provide a travel exemption or evidence he'd had a Covid test.
Police at the checkpoint told him he must turn around and return to Auckland, and he was instructed to turn on to Koheroa Rd and take the road back to where he came from.
Rutene said police followed the driver to ensure he obeyed their instruction.
"But then the vehicle suddenly continued straight on Mangatawhiri Road, driving through the checkpoint towards Tauranga," he said.
"Police signalled for the vehicle to stop with lights and sirens but the vehicle failed to do so and continued at speed.
"Due to the driver's manner of driving, police decided to pull back for their own and other road users' safety but the Eagle Helicopter monitored overhead."
It is understood police tried to used road spikes a number of times to stop the man's vehicle.
After about 40 minutes they managed to successfully deploy the spikes and immobilise him.
Rutene said once the car stopped the man refused to get out or comply with police.
"He was arrested and was transported back to Auckland in custody," he said.
"It's fortunate no police staff or members of the public were injured due to his reckless action."
Where to get a vaccination in Auckland - without a booking
Auckland has been in alert levels 3 and 4 - which carry strict travel restrictions - since it was announced in August that the highly infectious Delta variant of Covid-19 was present in the community.
More than 320,000 vehicles have been stopped at checkpoints on the city's southern and northern boundaries in that time, police noted this evening in the organisation's daily compliance update.
Of those, 5524 have been turned around.
Police have also noted over the past month multiple arrests for people crossing the border in breach of lockdown rules - the most notable being a couple accused of using their essential worker exemptions to drive to Hamilton before taking a flight to a holiday home in Wānaka.
Counties Manukau police Māori Responsiveness Manager Inspector Regan Tamihere is also under investigation for an alleged breach.
The Herald revealed yesterday he was driving an unmarked police car and in full uniform when he was stopped at the border with passengers.
Those passengers were iwi contacts he knows through his position with police.
A source said earlier today he was "doing a favour" for those contacts.