Coronavirus: Hone Harawira defends Northland to Auckland trip, meal at sister's house as 'safe' and 'essential'

Hone Harawira says a 620km trip from Northland to Auckland and back - with a stop-in at a family member's house for bacon and eggs - was safe and essential.

On Sunday, Te Tai Tokerau's COVID-19 border control leader drove to Auckland from his Kaitaia home, before heading back later that day - despite the nationwide alert level 4 lockdown.

Controversy about the trip was sparked after the former MP shared photos of the trip to his public Facebook profile. In one photo, he can be seen sharing a meal with another person in the backyard of a west Auckland property.

Coronavirus: Hone Harawira defends Northland to Auckland trip, meal at sister's house as 'safe' and 'essential'
Photo credit: Facebook / Hone Harawira

"Life can be tough... but not today," he wrote.

Harawira has since revealed to Stuff that the other person in the photo is his brother, who he works with in his role as chief executive of Aupōuri Ngāti Kahu Te Rarawa Trust.

The trust is an essential service that provides support for families in Northland.

The reason for the trip was to visit a community testing centre to pick up medical supplies and learn more about coronavirus testing and personal protective equipment, Stuff reports.

However, Harawira also stopped in for a meal of bacon and eggs at his sister's house in west Auckland, where the photo with his brother was taken.

His sister is a nurse, but Harawira said his visit there was safe, as he and his brother sat outside and followed hand hygiene protocol.

When asked by Stuff whether he thought the visit was okay, he replied: "Are we not supposed to have a meal?"

Harawira has not responded to Newshub's request for comment.

According to alert level 4 rules, Kiwis should remain in their respective household 'bubbles' at all times in an effort to restrict transmission of COVID-19. The only time leaving the bubble is allowed is to access essential services or attend essential work.

Harawira has been vocal in his criticism of the Government's handling of the coronavirus outbreak in New Zealand. Last month, he accused those in power of doing nothing to stop tourists travelling around the country.

As a result, he set up community roadblocks in Northland in a bid to catch tourists who weren't following self-isolation protocol. The roadblocks have remained in place to prevent access to all those flouting the alert level 4 lockdown rules.