The roads are quiet and police say the majority of Kiwis are adhering to the national lockdown rules over the long weekend - so far.

The Herald joined police on a checkpoint just out of Warkworth this morning where every driver was stopped and questioned about why they were out on the road.

Aside from a handful - if that - most were out for legitimate or essential business.

Sergeant Andy Wallace said at the same checkpoint yesterday just three people were turned back for not having a valid reason for being out.


There were no arrests or official warnings given.

He said generally people were being extremely compliant and urged them to continue.

Police pictured stopping motorists at a roadblock in Athenree, near Waihi, as they try to stop people travelling to holiday spots over the Easter break. Video / Alan Gibson
Police stopped and checked every car at Warkworth this morning. Photo / Dean Purcell
Police stopped and checked every car at Warkworth this morning. Photo / Dean Purcell

"The main things we are seeing in terms of people not being compliant is groups of people heading off to the supermarket or going shopping when really one person should be doing that job," he said.

"The occasional person is going for a surf up north and those are the people that are turned around and they are receiving warnings as well."

Earlier this week new Police Commissioner Andrew Coster announced officers would ramp up patrol and enforcement over the Easter break to ensure people were aware of lockdown requirements.

His message was patently clear - if you were not out for an "essential" purpose, then you should be at home.

"We know many New Zealanders may have been planning to catch up with friends and family this weekend or travel to traditional holiday destinations, but we urge anyone who was planning to do this - please change your plans and stay home," he said.

"To help ensure people know about the Health Act restrictions, police will be out and about checking that people are travelling for essential purposes only."


Wallace and his team ran multiple checkpoints yesterday and stopped about 1000 cars.

He said for the most part the drivers were essential service workers or had good reasons to be out - getting supplies or dropping them off to vulnerable people.

Officers were mainly out in force to educate people about the lockdown and why they should be at home.

But they would take further action without hesitation if needed.

While at this morning's checkpoint they turned one woman back who was going to pick up a family member.

She had no valid reason for doing so.

Another woman was scolded because - apart from not wearing her seatbelt - she admitted she was driving to the petrol station purely to see if they had "body wash".

"Because we've been under these lockdown rules for some time now, everybody is well aware of what is required of them in terms of staying at home," Wallace said.

"They are mostly staying local and not popping off to their holiday homes." The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website