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Kiwis travelling for non-essential reasons over Easter weekend could face arrest

Kiwis still hoping to escape to the bach for Easter weekend, despite the coronavirus lockdown, will have to rethink their plans or potentially face being arrested.

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Police Commissioner Andrew Coster says there will be checkpoints around the country. Source: 1 NEWS

New Zealand police have announced their presence will be ramped around the country over Easter weekend, and are urging Kiwis to stay home and stop the spread of Covid-19.

To help prevent non-essential travel police will be setting up checkpoints at a number of locations, including popular holiday spots.

For anyone flouting the rules, like taking a trip to the bach, new Police Commissioner Andrew Coster told TVNZ1’s Breakfast police will take enforcement action.

That action includes the possibility of arrest.

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Officials are cautiously optimistic the Covid-19 lockdown is working, but they say an increase in movement could change that. Source: 1 NEWS

“Now is exactly the time to knuckle down and follow through so we get the result we want,” said Mr Coster.

“If police find people flouting the rules then we can and will take enforcement action if the circumstances dictate it.”

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Mr Coster said police will be checking people leaving towns and arriving into holiday places, but won’t reveal exact locations.

“We’re not going to advertise where we will be doing this. It’s pretty obvious if you live in Auckland and you’re turning up in Coromandel what is going on and we just really encourage families to stay at home.

“I know its hard, but we’re all in it.”

Since the night the Level 4 lockdown period began everyone in New Zealand has been required to stay at the residence they were in. But, there has been some concern from those living in popular holiday destinations -  like the Coromandel - that people aren't following the rules. 

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The Government has ordered all Kiwis to have a staycation this holiday weekend as the battle against coronavirus continues. Source: Seven Sharp

Over the weekend a Cooks Beach resident told RNZ about 70 holiday houses had become occupied in recent days.

The Easter weekend checkpoints will be put in place in collaboration with local authorities and Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups.

Police have said the first step is to educate, but if people continue to break the rules, they will use their discretion to warn people, or if necessary, they could be arrested.