New Zealand Police say they are pleased with the way Kiwis have responded to the change in the coronavirus alert levels.

Nine checkpoints have been operating since this afternoon across Auckland's regional boundaries, with every vehicle being stopped.

The roadblocks were set up at the following locations: Twin Coast Highway/North of Coal Hill Rd, Black Swamp Rd, Twin Coast Highway/Cames Rd, SH1 North of Twin Coast Discovery Highway, Twin Coast Highway/Ryan Rd, Mill Rd, Kawakawa/Orere Rd and Orere/Matingarahi Rd, Mangatawhiri Rd/Lyons Rd, and River Rd/Lapwood Rd.

Anyone travelling through any of the checkpoints is spoken to by police officers who are making sure they are following the rules.

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Auckland was placed into an alert level 3 lockdown at midday, meanwhile, the rest of the country moved to alert level 2.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield have asked Aucklanders to not leave their homes where possible.

Auckland has been closed off in a bid to try and stop the spread of Covid-19 after four community transmission cases were confirmed yesterday.

Most people have been compliant and are heeding the restrictions put in place to stop a re-emergence of the coronavirus in the community.

"Police are taking a friendly but firm approach and those people who have not had valid reason for travel have been turned back," NZ Police said.

"These included people who were travelling to visit friends or family, going for a scenic drive, or trying to get to their holiday homes."

The congestion around the roadblocks have eased throughout the afternoon and is expected to improve overnight and into tomorrow.

Police would like to thank motorists for their patience after many experienced significant delays on their commute earlier today, however.

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"Police would like to remind Aucklanders to please look after each other and avoid non-essential travel."

Nine checkpoints have been operating on key roads surrounding Auckland. Photo / Alan Gibson
Nine checkpoints have been operating on key roads surrounding Auckland. Photo / Alan Gibson
NZDF personnel assist police at roadblocks on State Highway 1. Photo / Dean Purcell
NZDF personnel assist police at roadblocks on State Highway 1. Photo / Dean Purcell

Elsewhere, a man who escaped from the supercity was surprised to find no roadblocks preventing him from leaving earlier today.

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".

"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."

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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".

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.