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Covid borders leaving Port Waikato residents facing 'dangerous' 90-minute drive for their shopping

Port Waikato residents feel like they have been forgotten about as Auckland’s Covid-19 alert level border leaves them having to drive 90 minutes down a “dangerous” single lane gravel road to do their shopping.

Port Waikato, in Waikato. Source: Google Maps

The placement of the roadblock at the Klondyke Rd-Tuakau Bridge-Port Waikato Rd intersection left residents with a choice of driving 90 minutes or shopping at a small local dairy, with limited essentials and no medicine.

The situation led Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson to call for Port Waikato to be included in Auckland’s Alert Level 3 so they could make the 30-minute drive to Tuakau or Pokeno, which have been included in Auckland’s border.

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Instead of a 10 minute trip to neighbouring Tuakau, locals are faced with a 1 hour 30 trek to Te Kauwhata. Source: 1 NEWS

This evening, DPMC Covid -19 Response Group Deputy Chief Executive, Cheryl Barnes released a statement saying the Government is now offering support to Port Waikato residents.

"People living in Port Waikato , caught up in the Auckland Alert Level 3 cordon, are being supported by Government agencies and Waikato Tainui, to make sure their needs are met over the coming days.

"After talking to the community, the Ministry of Social Development has agreed to cover the cost of food parcels, with around one week’s worth of supplies.

We acknowledge the inconvenience to the community," Barnes says.

Port Waikato should be in Alert Level 3 so residents can shop in nearby towns - mayor

Matt Haldane says he doesn’t know what authorities are thinking as the drive to Te Kauwhata was incredibly dangerous.

“They’ve put a roadblock five minutes out of Port Waikato so we can’t leave, we have to go to Te Kauwhata which is like an hour and a half down this single lane gravel road out Limestone Downs,” Haldane told 1 NEWS.

The Beach at Port Waikato (file picture). Source: istock.com

“’Cause I go surfing down there quite a bit, you’ll never see another car you know, you’ll come round the corner and it’s single lane, massive cliff drops.

“It’s a really dangerous road, having traffic on there is not an option, I don’t even know what they’re thinking, especially having an old person having to drive that road. It’s super dangerous, they use to have a stage of the WRC rally down there.”

“We’ve just got one little dairy and that’s it, so they sell ice creams, chips, microwave a few pies, they have a little bit of frozen meat, then the vegetables are like three tomatoes that are squishy, and that’s it.

“It’s pretty bad.”

Haldane said even police officers manning the roadblock were apologetic after he was "ready to blow up".

“He [the police officer] was pretty much on my team, he was like ‘look mate honestly, I don’t know why I have been put here, my boss just told me I had to be here but it’s stupid,’” Haldane said.

“Cause I said to him, ‘how are we meant to go shopping? How are we meant to go to the pharmacy.’”

“I was ready to get angry, but he was so nice.”

The roadblock would only need to be moved five minutes down the road to include Port Waikato residents in Auckland for the duration of the lockdown, Haldane said.

“There’s only like 200, 250 people who live here permanently, bugger all people, if they put it just past the turnoff then that’s us in the bubble and there’s no one else past us so I don’t know why they cut it off from where we are.”

“We’ve been left out here like they have forgotten we even exist.”

Haldane said he understood the inclusion of Tuakau and Pokeno in Auckland’s borders.

“I understand why they put Tuakau and everything in there, cause that border last time was really messed up for work and stuff,” he said.

“Now that they haven’t put us in there, we can’t go to work, can’t go to the supermarket, can’t go to the pharmacy, we actually can’t do anything.”