The Government's Covid-19 response has lost its way and now Northlanders are paying the price, former deputy prime minister Winston Peters says.
Northland is currently in alert level 3 after it was revealed an Auckland woman with Covid obtained travel documents and spent several days in the region.
She is believed to have travelled around Northland, possibly with another woman.
Peters told The Country's Jamie Mackay that the region was in lockdown because of a lack of information.
"If the Government knows who these two women are and the background circumstances, then why aren't they sharing that with the people of Northland so that they can forewarn their neighbours and others?
"The system is a mess when you don't get proper disclosure."
On Newshub Nation this weekend Peters claimed the Mongrel Mob brought the woman to Northland via Auckland under false pretences.
Making this kind of information public knowledge was "critical" in tackling the virus in the region, Peters said.
"Māori and the general community up North need to know where they have been."
He thought the Government was vague when disclosing the region's places of interest.
"In other parts of the country they've said this town, this place, whereas in Northland they've said towns … that's no information – that's just misinformation."
This lack of communication was unfair to those following the rules, Peters said.
"We're expecting the team of five million to all contribute together and hold hands and try and get on top of Covid.
"We'll never get there with that sort of lack of accountability and transparency, or downright honesty."
There seemed to be one rule for gangs and another for the rest of the population, Peters said.
"We don't have one law for everybody.
"You've got all sorts of soft-peddling and misinformation and, how shall I say it - misexplanation - of what's going on, when that, at the end of the day, is the worst thing possible in a crisis like this."
Northlanders would be happy to help out if the Government shared information, instead, they were being "utterly left out of the loop", Peters said.
"I can tell you in very quick time Northlanders would tell them precisely where they've been and precisely what their neighbours need to do now."
The lack of information could have a disastrous effect on Northland's economy, Peters said.
"The cost to businesses in Northland and right down the rest of the country is massive.
"[Huge costs] are being racked up every day because of too many failures, one after the other, where Covid-19 is concerned."
Ultimately, the Government should have taken action when Pfizer made contact about vaccines in June last year, Peter said.
"We were smug in not rolling out the vaccine and if we had got on top of the thing before Delta even arrived in this country, we would've got the vaccination numbers up.
"We went from being world leaders to plain smug and lost the plot.
"That's why the Government [is currently] doing its best with public relations and spin officers - to try and show they're on top of it when they're not."
• Also in today's interview: Peters talked about Minister for Covid-19 Response Chris Hipkins suggesting immunity for one of the women and Covid vaccinations rates.