Coronavirus: Aucklanders travelled to Queenstown before alert level 3 on Wednesday - Mayor

Visitors on ski holidays are among those seeking COVID-19 tests in Queenstown on Thursday, with some Aucklanders going ahead with trips to the resort town.

Many Aucklanders got out of the super city before Wednesday's midday alert level 3 lockdown took effect. The Government placed Auckland into lockdown and the rest of New Zealand into alert level 2 following new community transmission of COVID-19.

Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult says there are quite a few Aucklanders in the region planning to stay for the time being.

"I think we did see a lot of people arrive here yesterday [who] left Auckland before noon and I think there are quite a few Aucklanders in Queenstown and Wanaka at the present time, who are intending to stay rather than go back to Auckland," Boult told Newshub on Thursday morning.

"Our prime concern is for the health and welfare of local residents but they were perfectly legitimate in coming here.

"The issue, of course, is to be alert to this. My hope is [the] Government get on with contact tracing and get this nailed down as fast as possible."

One Auckland woman told the Otago Daily Times at Queenstown Airport on Wednesday she never thought about not going ahead with their holiday.

"Our flight was before noon, so we were like, 'if we can go, we should get out'," she said.

And social media users haven't held back.

"So ignorant," one Twitter user said.

"It just frustrates me, Queenstown would be stuffed if businesses have to close again due to community spread. It's just plain selfish," another wrote.

"Something is not right about this," said another.

Boult, meanwhile, is calling for the coronavirus wage subsidy to be extended as the town takes a big hit from Auckland's lockdown.

Queenstown was expecting a record number of flights this weekend from Auckland - its biggest domestic market, he said.

"I understand the need to do that [lockdown] - I have no argument with it whatsoever but the reality is that it's a complete kick in the guts for the tourism industry."

There were 14 new cases of COVID-19 announced in New Zealand on Thursday - 13 of which were linked to the new Auckland cluster and the other was linked to overseas travel in managed isolation.

It brings the total number of active cases in the country to 36. 

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield told reporters on Thursday that all confirmed COVID-19 cases will now be managed in quarantine.