Jacinda Ardern admits police set up border checkpoints "some distance" away from Auckland's legal boundaries.
Eight checkpoints were set up around Auckland's regional boundaries as the alert level 3 restrictions came into effect at midnight Sunday.
However there was confusion earlier on Monday after checkpoints were mistakenly set up inside Northland, angering locals who were prevented from travelling.
Questioned about this at the Monday post-Cabinet press conference, Ardern said there had been a "very clear miscommunication".
"Just to clarify, the issue we have is we've got the legal border which is exactly the same in the north as it was the last time we moved to alert level 3. However we had a checkpoint in this case set up in the morning that was some distance from that legal boundary," she explained.
"The police have now updated their information, they are going to be moving that boundary where they are undertaking a checkpoint to align more closely with where the legal boundary sits.
"The most simple message I can send though is the boundary that was in place last time is the same as this time."
Ardern was then questioned why, when a public health order map issued earlier on Monday showed the boundary just north of Wellsford, police then set up at the wrong location.
Ardern said it was "not fair" to place blame on the police.
"There appears to have been a very clear miscommunication around what was contained in the order and where the boundaries needed to be. So that needs to be very clear up front."
Ardern said she suspected what had happened is Auckland's northern border had been extended to allow more people to travel widely through the region, but this had meant some communities were included when they shouldn't have been.
In a statement, police said additional checkpoints were being set up and the location of existing checkpoints was being "refined" to ensure they are as close as possible to the boundary. This was expected to have been completed by 6pm Monday.
"The current three existing checkpoints north of Auckland will be relocated back to the same five locations from the last regional lockdown in 2020," a spokesperson said.
"All other checkpoints will remain in their current positions however this is being regularly reviewed and assessed.
By 6:00pm tonight the checkpoints will be confirmed at the following locations:
- SH1/Mangawhai Road (Twin Coast Discovery Highway)
- Mangawhai Road / north of Coal Hill Road
- Black Swamp, west of Rako Road
- Mangawhai Road and Cames Road
- Mangawhai Road and Ryan Road
Note: Mangawhai Road also known as Twin Coast Discovery Highway
- Mercer off ramp / Koheroa Road - (South bound traffic on SH1 and Mercy Ferry road).
- SH1 / Oram Road - (North bound traffic on SH1)
- Mangatawhiri Road / Koheroa Road / SH2 off ramp (All East and West Bound traffic)
- East Coast Road (Waharau Regional Park)
- Pukekawa-Churchill / Highway 22 and Highway 22 / Logan Road
- Tuakau Bridge-Port Waikato Road intersection with Klondyke Road
"Police are continuing to work with a graduated response and with today being the first day of checkpoints coming into effect, Police's focus has been to first engage with and educate motorists at the checkpoints about the current travel restrictions," the spokesperson adds.
"The key message for motorists is to plan ahead and expect some delays. Those who are stopped will be asked about their reason for travel, and to provide proof of an exemption."