With Auckland's borders set to reopen tonight, police have warned of delays as they clear checkpoint infrastructure - and they have revealed how the Northland checkpoints will operate.
At 11.59pm tonight, the north and south borders will reopen but police are warning motorists the disestablishment of boundary checkpoints will take a few hours, with road closures from 10pm to 1am at the southern border.
"Those keen to leave the city at midnight can expect delays," a spokesperson said.
Once the checkpoints lift, police will conduct random spot checks on the north and south exits of Auckland, and Waikato Police District is ready to do the same.
Two Community Compliance Checkpoints in Northland will be set up at once the Auckland border reopens.
While Aucklanders have more travel freedoms, the Health Order requires people travelling from Auckland to other regions to be either fully vaccinated or have evidence of a negative Covid test within the preceding 72 hours.
Northland residents travelling from regions outside of Auckland may be asked to show proof of address.
The two Northland checkpoints will be set up in Uretiti on SH1 and on SH12 at Maungaturoto from 11.59pm tonight. The checkpoints will only be for northbound traffic.
With fears of traffic building up, police and Waka Kotahi will have traffic management plans to ensure traffic through the checkpoints as efficiently. However, motorists are being warned of delays.
Police staff from inside and outside Northland will manage the checkpoints with support from police recruits from the Royal New Zealand Police College and Iwi representatives.
From 11.59pm on Thursday December 30, motorists travelling to Northland will be moving into a red region. While the rest of the country moves or remains in orange.
Iwi representatives volunteering at the checkpoints have been police vetted, and have been trained on their roles. However, only police will have the power to stop vehicles and issue infringement notices.
Northland District Commander Superintendent Tony Hill said the checkpoints have been established to keep visitors and locals safe.
"Following discussion with iwi, we have determined that the fixed checkpoints and spot checks, provide an appropriate level of reassurance to keep both locals and visitors safe," Hill said.
When asked by Newstalk ZB's Heather du Plessis-Allan if they will be checking every Auckland passenger vehicle, and Hill said that's their intent.
"If we can do that, that will be ideal and we would like to. But if we find for example those queues are getting reasonably long we may have to stop our operations and let the traffic clear."
However, he could not provide specifics around how long queues would be, until it was intolerable.
"No one really knows whats coming out of Auckland," he said.
A police spokesperson said staff will work closely with volunteers to ensure traffic flows as smoothly as possible.
While every vehicle won't be checked, motorists are being told to plan ahead and ensure they have the right documentation ready to show checkpoint staff.
Delivery trucks and service vehicles will not be stopped at the checkpoints to keep traffic flowing.
The Community Compliance Checkpoints will be in place for a short time, a spokesperson said it will be swapped out with "spot checks and reassurance visits".
"It is important to remember the pandemic is not over, and we are migrating to a new process that will require patience and understanding from everyone," a spokesperson said.
For the past 100 days, Police and Defence Force staff and iwi volunteers have been at the frontline of the checkpoints north and south of Auckland ensuring all travel in and out of the region was compliant.
Since September 6 over 2.1million vehicles have been stopped at the checkpoints. With most stops having been compliant, a spokesperson said only 0.9 per cent of vehicles were turned around because those travelling did not meet the requirements.