MSD client who fled from Auckland to Whakatāne made to return

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) have contacted police after one of their clients fled Auckland’s lockdown to travel to Whakatāne.

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This time, a person travelled to Whakatāne before being made to return to Tāmaki Makaurau by police. Source: 1 NEWS

Mike Bryant, regional commissioner for MSD, told 1News a client from the Auckland region contacted the organisation on Wednesday said they had travelled to Whakatāne.

“The client did not visit our service centre,” he said.

“As a result of the client contacting us we got in touch with police and encouraged the client to visit the local police station,” Bryant said.

A police spokesperson told 1News the "person in question spoke to staff at the border checkpoint and was able to continue their travel due to concerns for their safety.

"Police engaged with the individual again when they arrived in Whakatāne and after support from other agencies was put in place the person was able to return to Auckland."

It’s understood the person also visited a number of retail outlets and has subsequently undergone Covid-19 testing. 

In a separate statement on Wednesday, police said people should expect officers at the northern and southern-based checkpoints to be questioning people's reasons for travel.

"Anyone who does not have a permitted reason for crossing the boundary or without correct paperwork will be turned around.

"There are enforcement options available for instances where people are found to be in breach of these requirements."

Checkpoint figures

As of 11.59pm on Tuesday, a total of 117,247 vehicles have now been stopped at the 10 checkpoints on Auckland’s northern and southern boundaries since 11.59pm on 31 August. 95,935 vehicles have been stopped at the five southern checkpoints.

Of these, 1,072 were turned away for non-essential travel, including 100 yesterday.

At the five northern checkpoints, which have been in place since Northland dropped to Alert Level 3 at 11:59pm on 2 September, 21,312 vehicles have been stopped. Of those, 313 vehicles were turned away for non-essential travel, including 18 yesterday.