Tai Tokerau border control to discuss new Northland border plan - Hone Harawira

Hone Harawira says there will be discussions on Friday about how to protect the Far North community after the Tai Tokerau border control checkpoint was shut down.

The checkpoint near Kawakawa was set up on Thursday morning in response to the new community cases of COVID-19.

Sunday's case - a 56-year-old woman - had visited over 30 locations in southern Northland and northern Auckland and the two new confirmed cases on Wednesday had been to several places in Auckland’s North Shore.

The checkpoint wasn't stopping motorists getting into the region, instead they were issuing drivers with important COVID-19 information, including where to find local testing centres.

However, just hours after setting up, the police shut the operation down due to "safety concerns".

On Friday, Harawira told the NZ Herald the decision would "come back to haunt them".

He said the group will not stop trying to find ways to protect the community and they would be meeting later in the day to discuss how they can continue to protect the community.

Harawira said the latest outbreak, which was confirmed to be the more transmissible South African variant, posed a fatal threat to many Northlanders who were already marginalised by poverty and ill health.

"South African COVID-19 might be new, but we already know it's 50 percent more contagious than COVID-19, less responsive to vaccines, and is responsible for the huge surge in South African cases from 2000 a day to 18,000 a day in just two months," he said.

"Coupled with the UK variant which has also hit our shores, there will be more cases, more hospitalisations and possibly more deaths."

He said it was particularly important to protect locals ahead of the summer-time long weekends.

"We're heading into Auckland Anniversary weekend when tens of thousands of Aucklanders will head north, and testing facilities will be closed," he told the NZ Herald.

Harawira told Newshub on Thursday that he has heard several iwi from outside of the area didn't plan to travel to Northland for Waitangi out of COVID-19 concerns.

Co-leader of the Māori Party Debbie Ngarewa-Packer has also said her party won't be attending the celebrations following advice from people in the North.

Harawira said he thought it was timely the celebrations were called off completely.