Aucklander fled to South Island during lockdown, says never questioned by airport, airline staff

"It didn't shock me. I just thought this whole thing's a sham."
"It didn't shock me. I just thought this whole thing's a sham." Photo credit: Reuters.

While Aucklanders have queued and struggled at road borders for weeks now, it seems those who really wanted to escape only had to hop on a plane to get out.

Newshub can reveal an unknown number of people fled to the South Island during lockdown without being stopped or questioned by authorities. 

Alert level 3 means no non-essential travel in or out of Auckland - or does it? 

One Aucklander told Newshub they travelled to Queenstown during lockdown for "fun" .

They say they were never questioned by airport or Air New Zealand staff - not once. 

"It didn't shock me. I just thought this whole thing's a sham," the person said.

"There was no police presence, there was nothing. That's what shocked me. I expected at least a couple of police cars, a couple of people with dogs or something just grooming around, and there was absolutely nothing."

While thousands of others queued and struggled for exemptions at the road borders, 13,500 people flew out of Auckland to other domestic locations.

The Aucklander said they didn't feel any sense of guilt for leaving the Super City during alert level 3.

"Not at all. What I'm sick of is the double standards. So, the Government holds us as citizens to account, but we're not allowed to hold the Government to account. You're doing this half-hearted, you're not doing it correctly, and I proved that you're not."

The Government says it's the job of Aviation Security. 

"The responsibility in terms of Auckland Airport lies with the Aviation Security Service," said Finance Minister Grant Robertson. 

Aviation Security told Newshub Nation it does a 'visual check' of passengers, stopping them at the door to see if they have a valid reason to travel, but they don't keep a record of the documentation that passengers provide. They're not required to by the Ministry of Health. 

The Aucklander Newshub spoke to said that is "an absolute crock of shit".

"That's a lie. That's a complete and utter fabrication. That's bullshit." 

Newshub filmed security screening passengers at the door of the international terminal last week. They knew we were coming.

It seems some still slipped through.