Coronavirus: Police report 423 COVID-19 alert level 4 lockdown breaches in just 24 hours

There have been 423 breaches of New Zealand's coronavirus lockdown rules in the last 24 hours alone, the Police Commissioner has revealed.

The staggering figure represents a daily total almost three times the daily average since the Government escalated its COVID-19 response to alert level 4.

There have been 4452 breaches of the Civil Defence Emergency Management or Health Act since lockdown began 29 days ago, at an average of 154 breaches per day.

In a press conference from the Beehive on Thursday afternoon, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said while the incidents "reflect just a small minority of the population", they're still cause for concern.

In addition to the breaches, police have also recorded 477 prosecutions, 3844 warnings and 131 youth referrals, Coster said - as well as fielding more than 55,000 reports of breaches from members of the public.

He explained that while New Zealand is edging ever closer to alert level 3 - and the many new freedoms that come with that - it is still level 4 for now, and Kiwis should not be complacent.

"As we move towards level 3 it's important to note that police will continue to enforce level 4 restrictions until 11:59pm on Monday night," Coster said.

"For the next five days, we all need to continue sticking to the rules; that means staying at home, only undertaking essential travel and keeping it local."

He added ANZAC weekend would not be an excuse to break alert level 4 protocol and warned that, like the Easter holiday, police would be introducing checkpoints all over the country to stop people leaving their bubbles.

Coster says at alert level 3, police would enforce rules with an education-first approach. He says there is likely to be an adjustment period, but says that won't stop police taking more extreme measures to stop rule-breakers if absolutely necessary.