AM hosts react to hours-long traffic jam at Westfield Newmarket shopping centre carpark

AM hosts and viewers have had mixed reactions to Auckland shoppers getting stuck in a massive backlog of traffic at a major shopping centre.   

It was reported that Westfield Newmarket shoppers were forced to wait in their cars for up to three hours on Sunday afternoon, with traffic grinding to a halt as customers tried to leave the shopping centre.   

The New Zealand Herald reported that one woman wet herself while waiting in the backlog.   

"I was with my girlfriend, and she has had to pee herself due to the fact we were stuck for so long. Not ideal, but desperate times call for desperate measures," a shopper told the publication.  

"We didn't think it was safe to leave the vehicle, so we [were] thirsty and hungry, and this is just a complete disaster."  

AM's hosts discussed the debacle on the show on Monday morning, with newsreader Nicky Styris confirming her daughter was one of those stuck in the traffic.  

She said it took her daughter an hour and 20 minutes to travel from the shopping centre to the suburb of Meadowbank: according to Google Maps, that journey should normally take 15 minutes.  

While AM co-host Ryan Bridge acknowledged that waiting in traffic can be "annoying", he said he finds the story "a little bit much".

But Styris was quick to hit back, saying: "I'd like to see how you'd cope with that."

The discussion then moved to the woman who reportedly wet herself while waiting in the queue, which divided the hosts and left many confused as to why she couldn't have popped into the mall to use the bathroom - considering they were sitting in standstill traffic.

"I think the moral to that story is the next time she goes to the supermarket she should buy some Poise pants, just have them in the car just in case," Styris joked.  

But fellow co-host Melissa Chan-Green had sympathy for the woman.   

"If it was me, I would've pulled in and gone to the bathroom, but who knows what situation they were in," Chan-Green said.   

Another issue raised was the layout of the mall's multi-storey car park, with Styris saying it can be a nightmare to navigate.   

"It's a real rabbit warren. I think it's quite poorly designed actually and there's a lot of ins and outs and they all converge together, so it can be an absolute nightmare," she said.  

AM viewers were quick to email in with their thoughts, with one person saying: "These people were not stuck in traffic, they were the traffic."

But Bridge hit back: "They're not mutually exclusive concepts. You can be both the traffic and in traffic. In fact, in order for one to be true, the other must be also."

Another viewer emailed in: "People shopping at malls have parcels and groceries and presents and small children, not to mention the disabled and the idiot councils/mall owners don't want cars, which are essential if you want people to shop. A bunch of idiots, multi-storey car parks are a must."  

Another person, who said they were at the mall at the time of the traffic, emailed in saying people didn't have to be stuck in the backlog.   

"People were not stuck. I was at the mall and had no problem. I was in traffic for half an hour. I did not move from my car park, so ended up repacking my car, went to the toilet and went to Countdown, then went to watch a movie, simple," they wrote.

"I don't know why people think they're obligated to be given compensation or need to be offered water if they're sitting and waiting in their cars."

According to NZ Herald, Westfield's head office reportedly said heavy traffic on Broadway was behind the delays exiting the mall.  

Watch the full video above.