Police to arrest Easter holidaymakers who don't comply with coronavirus lockdown rules

New Zealand Police are putting in measures to catch people trying to head out of town during Easter weekend.

While the country is still in lockdown, people are supposed to be staying at home unless for essential travel but some are still being caught breaching the rules, and this is expected to increase during the popular travel weekend.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster says people need to stay home.

"We have issued a clear warning to those intending to travel out of town for Easter that they should change their plans immediately."

Those who don't comply need to be prepared to be pulled over.

Anyone caught travelling for non-essential reasons will be turned around and sent home - if you don't comply you will be arrested.

Dave Gaskin the Aoraki Police Area Commander says "obviously we are going to be stopping them for anything under the road transport act, asking them why they're on the road where they're going and the purpose of their travel."

Gaskin says some people need a little bit of an education if they've been living in a vacuum. 

"Most people know the rules and regulations now, and they'll be encouraged to go home."

Constable Kate Paddon on State Highway 79, is one of dozens of police who are patrolling popular holiday routes and stopping motorists trying to hit the road this Easter. 

The West Coast of New Zealand currently has only four cases of COVID-19 and they are desperate to keep it that way.

West Coast Civil Defence Group Controller John Canning says: "We have low figures. We want to keep low figures and get out of the lockdown as soon as we possibly can".

Civil Defence is asking police to put checkpoints up on the main routes in and out of the region, essentially putting the whole of the coast on a regional lockdown.

The message tonight is clear: Stay home.