Police have increased their presence in Thames-Coromandel after a big influx of Aucklanders because of the Super City's level 3 lockdown.

Meanwhile, a Waikato officer is in self isolation after pulling over a member of the South Auckland family who tested positive for Covid-19 this week.

A police spokeswoman said the officer came into contact with the family members during a routine traffic stop at Karāpiro , near Cambridge, about 10am on August 11.

"The officer is self-isolating for 14 days as a precaution and will be tested throughout that time."

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Mayors in popular holiday spots have noticed an obvious increase in the number of people in their patch; Thames-Coromandel Mayor Sandra Goudie describes her area as "humming", while Ruapehū Mayor Don Cameron said there were a lot more people around.

Far North Mayor John Carter is urging people to respect their local community and only visit if they're not showing any signs of illness.

Police yesterday set up roadblocks north and south of Auckland on several arterial routes, stopping people to ensure they were only leaving for legitimate reasons.

Traffic was heavy but there weren't any reports of any significant crashes.

Goudie earlier told the Herald she hoped those heading to her patch would heed Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's advice and keep up their personal hygiene.

She also hoped people didn't bring it with them given the Coromandel had the highest over-65 population in the country.

Today, she told the Herald district was now a hive of activity and busy like a public holiday.

Thames-Coromandel District Council Mayor Sandra Goudie says police will increase their presence in the area given the influx of Aucklanders since level 3 was announced for the city. Photo / File
Thames-Coromandel District Council Mayor Sandra Goudie says police will increase their presence in the area given the influx of Aucklanders since level 3 was announced for the city. Photo / File

"It's like Labour Weekend," she said, noting busy areas included Thames, Whitianga and Whangamatā.

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She'd been told police had seen a big increase in Aucklanders leaving the Thames-Coromandel area yesterday.

Given that influx, police would now be looking to increase staff on the peninsula.

"The police are gearing up because of the influx of people. They're actually putting more bobbies on the beat."

She said iwi were also in consultation with all developments which would also cover off any movement to higher alert levels as well as testing for Covid-19 in the community.

The Herald has also learned that a Waikato police officer is now in self-isolation after pulling over a vehicle being driven by a member of the Auckland family who has tested positive for coronavirus.

Police are understood to now be working with the Ministry of Health in determining where else the vehicle stopped on its journey.

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The Herald has put questions to police about the officer and staffing in the Coromandel.

Police speak to motorists on the southern motorway at Bombay after setting up checkpoints to ensure people weren't fleeing to their holiday homes yesterday. Photo / Dean Purcell
Police speak to motorists on the southern motorway at Bombay after setting up checkpoints to ensure people weren't fleeing to their holiday homes yesterday. Photo / Dean Purcell

Meanwhile in the Ruapehū district, Mayor Don Cameron said although he hadn't heard of Aucklanders specifically descending on the area, he wouldn't be surprised as there were plenty of people around.

"We are not surprised and suspected that was going to happen. Obviously the weather is going to be good for the weekend and people have undoubtedly escaped.

"If you're an Aucklander you would want to get out of there if you could so it's a matter of making sure that people keep themselves safe."

However, locals were unimpressed with the amount of out-of-towners returning to their holiday homes during the previous lockdown, and he expected a similar, if not worse, reaction if it happened again.

"The last time we had people isolating in their holiday homes and that annoyed a lot of people. I would say the second time around you would be lucky to get to your home.

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"Half the homes we've got in the south are owned by people outside [the district]. There was tension around it last time and I would guarantee that iwi will be far more vigilant this time."

He said it was possible many Aucklanders were already there but he was meeting iwi tomorrow to discuss the issue.

He said the council was liaising with police and local iwi about possible road closures if alert levels went up and the amount of community transmission increased.

Ruapehū mayor Don Cameron says he wouldn't be surprised if the area had an influx of Aucklanders. Photo / Bevan Conley
Ruapehū mayor Don Cameron says he wouldn't be surprised if the area had an influx of Aucklanders. Photo / Bevan Conley

"If any positives come out of it, it's quite likely that our border could be sealed off by police to protect communities.

"Speaking with police yesterday, I think what they're more expecting is communities themselves will be demanding that areas area sealed off to protect the community and particularly where there are a high number of Māori population.

"They want to protect their own, and that's understandable, to be honest."

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Closing roads would be difficult given the number of roads involved.

"If it gets to that point it would have to be in consultation with police.

"It is a shame and hopefully we won't have to do that but we do have a large number of Māori wardens in the district and they have the training and the manner to help deal with that sort of thing."

In the meantime, the increase in visitor numbers was a welcome sight to businesses.

"We've had incredible numbers in our weekends and even last week, the sheer number of people that are in the district."

In the Far North, Carter said he wasn't aware of any large numbers of people setting up in the area but he hoped if they had they were healthy.

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"Quite honestly we just ask people, particularly from Auckland as it happens at the moment because that's where the community outbreak is, that they please respect us. It's just that simple.

"As in, please respect us and don't come if you've got a risk, unless you know you're absolutely clear and you won't know that in two days, but please don't put us at risk.

"We want to know that people who come here are safe, we want to know that we're safe, that's why there's a huge number of people up here being tested."

Although there had been reports of significant numbers of cars on the road heading north, he said it didn't seem to have resulted many landing in the Far North.

"I think if there had been a significant increase I would have heard of it."

He said while a lockdown would have a good impact on Kiwis' health, it would be crippling for the economy.

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