Flooding at Manukau's justice hub impacted court hearings a few days after a lack of remote-working technology caused a prisoner with Covid-19 to attend court.
An underground tunnel linking the police district custody unit and Manukau District Court flooded on Thursday.
The subterranean water incursion, typical after heavy rain, means prisoners held a few metres from the courthouse must instead be taken over in vans.
A legal source said the flooding had been happening after heavy downpours for years, and almost every time it happened, court proceedings were delayed.
Police said what emerged in the tunnel after heavy rain late last week was just a small pool.
"The underground tunnel linking the Counties Manukau District Custody Unit and the Manukau District Court had a small pool of water at its lowest point last Thursday following a heavy downpour," a police spokesman said.
"This does happen from time to time following significant downpours of rain, which typically occur during winter," he added.
Official agencies do not seem to have offered any specific solutions to the audio visual link (AVL) and wet-weather issues at Manukau, one of the country's busiest courts.
Police were asked what could be done to mitigate the future impacts of inclement weather on this facility but did not answer.
The tunnel and AVL problems have some lawyers shaking their heads in disbelief, and the National Party said Manukau deserves better from central government.
"For them not to specify that they'll prioritise Counties Manukau is pretty poor," National's courts spokesman Chris Penk said.
He said Manukau had a very busy courthouse and was one of the communities most exposed to Covid-19.
"It's not a secret that South Auckland was going to need to be prioritised with vaccine rollout."
The lack of AVL was why a prisoner from Upper Hauraki on September 17 came to court, rather than having his matter heard remotely.
It turned out he had Covid-19.
The positive test result meant police and court and staff were stood down and told to isolate.
So were lawyers deemed "casual plus" contacts, who were not included in officially released numbers of affected contacts on September 19.
After more than four days and repeated questions about the audiovisual issue, the Ministry of Justice said AVL upgrades were planned for 27 courtrooms.
The ministry said every court had AVL capability, whether the technology was built-in or worked through a portable audiovisual trolley.
But for the system to work at a hearing like that involving the Upper Hauraki prisoner, other parties or agencies involved in the case must also have AVL access.
The AVL system in Auckland central, established after a successful pilot a decade ago, is widely praised in the legal community.
Ministry of Justice chief operating officer Carl Crafar said AVL use nationwide had soared in lockdown.
"The AVL capability is dependent on whether the other parties to the proceedings have access to AVL technology."
Since the Delta outbreak started, the average number of criminal District Court events using AVL increased by 66 per cent compared to the month before the outbreak, he said.
"Around half of all criminal District Court events completed during alert levels 4 and 3 were by AVL," Crafar added.
This was up from the 9 per cent of criminal district court events normally using AVL.