Checkpoints at Auckland-Northland border; run by police and Iwi

By Taroi Black

When the government pulls its borders down, Northland Iwi are planning to set their borders up. But former New Zealand MP Shane Jones, who lives in the Bay of Islands, says it's all a misguided publicity stunt.

“I say to those who don't want to be vaccinated, what alternative option do we have? If the virus breaks out among you, you have to fend for yourselves.”

“Most of my relatives are walking in those stores around the Bay of Islands. If they are closed, who will feed them?”

Waitangi Marae chairman Ngati Kawa Taituha and police have agreed to manage and oversee those travelling in from Auckland. But they must be vaccinated.

'Leave the roads open'

Jones says that is going to affect the local economy. 

“We must leave the roads open so money can come in, so people can come in to spend their money and be entertained in the north.”

The intention of mana whenua of the north is to cut visitors off from Ōpua, Paihia, Waitangi and Russell. It also seems to be the sentiment from other rohe with low vaccination rates, such as Ngāti Porou and Ngāi Tuhoe.

If this were to happen during the Christmas holidays, then it may prevent a community transmission.

“We have to remember most Māori from Muriwhenua are in Auckland. These people are dividing our people. Most of us have been vaccinated.”

Sympathy for Hone Harawira

“I'm sick of those who are late to get their vaccine and are leaving us aside to wait for them to be vaccinated. I'm fed up.”

Some political parties have taken aim at iwi leader Hone Harawira for leading the checkpoints but Jones sympathises.

“I'm seeing why Hone is setting up checkpoints but I say to you we'll get more value if we open our shops to those from Auckland who'll spend money.”

“It's easy for the Prime Minister to say to the police, 'the roads will remain open', despite the objections of some of my relatives in hapū.”