More than 3000 motorists fled Auckland and headed north just hours before the entire country went into lockdown on August 17.
The number of vehicles registered to Auckland addresses fleeing the city tripled the amount that passed through the northern toll booth the previous Friday evening.
Although some of those vehicles travelling through the toll booth would have stopped at Warkworth, Mahurangi Peninsula and Wellsford, Whangarei-based National MP Dr Shane Reti estimated more than 2000 of the Auckland vehicles carried on into Northland, bringing about 5000 extra people.
Reti is now demanding answers from the Government about why nothing was done to stop holiday makers heading into the area as soon as it announced the lockdown at 6pm.
“Not only have several thousand people brought their Auckland risk into Northland, but this has also unfairly burdened Northland infrastructure during Level 4 including supermarkets, health and police resources,” he said.
“The Government should’ve planned for a future lockdown and worked on a strategy so that the Northland boundary could be implemented far sooner.”
Reti also questioned whether the huge numbers of Aucklanders fleeing to Northland contributed to the region staying in level 4 for a few extra days despite it having no positive cases.
The figures support what Northland leaders had described at the time as ”selfish and appalling” behaviour by Aucklanders.
Kaipara mayor Jason Smith said the numbers were disappointing, but not surprising.
“I had people reporting to me about the stream of vehicles piling over the Brynderwyn Hills into the night on the evening before lockdown occurred.”
Smith said the Northland mayors had been concerned about the safety of their communities especially because vaccination rates for their areas were lagging at that time.
“We need to be working both compassionately and safely to get good protocols in place for if or when there is a next time.”
Whangārei mayor Sheryl Mai earlier told NZME anecdotal evidence indicated Aucklanders had again exited north in droves ahead of Tuesday night’s level 4 Covid-19 lockdown.
She said this placed Northlanders, in their home, at risk.
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