A man who escaped from Auckland yesterday was surprised to find no roadblocks preventing him.

The 25-year-old drove south over the Bombay Hills at about 1pm, planning to sit out Auckland's level 3 lockdown at his parents' place in the central North Island.

"I was surprised that there were no roadblocks and I didn't even see any cops on the road," he said.

A police spokeswoman said there was "a slight delay" in establishing the Bombay checkpoint "because we have to ensure appropriate traffic management and safety plans are in place as it is an extremely busy route with very high volumes of traffic".

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Police closed the State Highway 1 motorway at Bombay after 1pm today. Photo / Dean Purcell
Police closed the State Highway 1 motorway at Bombay after 1pm today. Photo / Dean Purcell

"Police have been on-site since mid-morning along with our partners to ensure the checkpoint is safe for both road users and our staff," she said at 1.42pm. "We expect the checkpoint to be operational shortly."

The man said he normally lives in Ponsonby but decided to escape to the central North Island, despite level 3 restrictions requiring him to stay at home, because "it could be good to be away from the lockdown".

"I feel it's likely to be going to be weeks, if not more," he said. "The messaging we are getting from Government about lockdown is that we are looking at two-week cycles.

"I head back about once a month. I'll be working remotely. I'm a business analyst."

He had planned to escape from Auckland before the level 3 restrictions began in the region at midday, but was held up by traffic, which he said was at least as bad as the weekly Friday afternoon exodus from the city.

He decided to speak out about it because he saw "inconsistent messages" from the Government.

"They said they were going hard and going early and that at 12pom it would be lockdown," he said.

"As I was driving I was listening to the radio. They spoke to a policeman who said he'd been there since 6am setting up roadblocks."

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Police have set up nine checkpoints at major exits from Auckland. Image / Supplied
Police have set up nine checkpoints at major exits from Auckland. Image / Supplied

The police spokeswoman said there are now nine checkpoints on the major exit routes from Auckland - five in the north and four in the south.

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