Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk
Auckland, 4pm Saturday, August 15: 50,000 vehicles stopped, less than 700 turned back.
These statistics yesterday were “frightening”, says Hone Harawira of the Tai Tokerau Border Control.
“We’re not panicking, but we’ve briefed our crews,” he declared today on social media. “We’re talking to Tai Tokerau iwi, Northland police, and health authorities, and if we have to go, we’re prepared.
Harawira said the government had announced a lockdown last Wednesday to keep Aucklanders “in Auckland to help contain the virus”, but authorities had allowed 50,000 vehicles to leave since then.”
Health Minister Chris Hipkins announced today that at 4pm yesterday, 50,468 vehicles had been stopped at checkpoints around Auckland, RNZ News reports.
Of those, 676 were turned back. 428 of those were seeking to leave Auckland – the rest were trying to get into Auckland.
“We went down to check out the police checkpoint at Te Hana and it was slack,” said Harawira.
Travel for medical reasons
“The rules say you can travel for medical reasons, moving home, moving freight or you’re an essential worker.”
But he said the checkpoint let people “drop furniture off, go and visit people, drop people off, pick people up, go and see their animals, travel up from places south of Auckland”.
“Hell, they let one guy through on a house-bus who’d driven all the way up from Invercargill, and then said he’d isolate for two weeks when he got to Whangarei!”
“Police have been too accommodating. They haven’t challenged strongly enough, and they’ve let people through who should’ve been turned back.”
Harawira also condemned singer Billy Te Kahika Jr and the NZ Public Party for claiming covid-19 was a “hoax” and that people should march against the lockdown – “just like Trump supporters are saying in the Southern United States”.
“My message is simple,” said Harawira. “There’s no whanaungatanga in being separated from those going through the trauma of covid-19. There is no mana in the desperate, clawing death of covid-19. And there is no rangatiratanga in the lonely funeral of a covid-19 case.”
‘Don’t jeopardise lives’
He pleaded, “Don’t jeopardise the lives of your whānau.
“Covid-19 is a killer virus. It is not a hoax.”
Harawira called on Tai Tokerau Border Control crews to be ready – “if we go, we’ll go fast and hard.”
He also appealed to others that is they saw “tourists, campers, boaties” or anyone iwho should not be in their area to let the iwi know, police know or call 0800 TOKERAU.
“If they’ve sneaked in, we’ll help them sneak right back out again,” he said.