Auckland couple apologise to New Zealand after travelling to Wānaka

The couple who allegedly breached Auckland's lockdown to travel to Wānaka have apologised to New Zealand for their actions, calling it "completely irresponsible and inexcusable".

They've become the targets of locked-down Kiwis' outrage.

Police say last Thursday the couple used their essential worker exemptions to cross Auckland’s lockdown border, before driving on to Hamilton. They then flew to Queenstown via Wellington, driving on to Wānaka.

But police were alerted after the couple were dobbed in online via the COVID-19 compliance reporting tool.

The couple have not yet been charged by police but face up to six months in prison or a $4000 fine if found guilty of breaching the lockdown rules.

News of the breach has outraged Kiwis, many of whom are struggling through Auckland's lockdown. They've been labelled "selfish", "self-entitled" and "arrogant" on social media, with many calling for the maximum penalty.

Now, they've apologised, sending a statement on Tuesday evening saying they are "deeply sorry". 

"We are deeply sorry for our actions and would like to unreservedly apologize to the Wanaka community, and to all the people of Aotearoa New Zealand, for what we did. 

"We can confirm that as part of routine testing for essential workers when crossing the Auckland border, we both received negative COVID-19 tests prior to undertaking the travel, and on our subsequent return to Auckland. We can also confirm we were not considered close contacts nor had we had visited any locations of interest. 

"We initially sought name suppression after receiving death threats and we had genuine fear for our safety. However, we remain committed to taking responsibility for our actions and will not be seeking further name suppression," they said.

"We understand that strict compliance is required to stamp out COVID-19 from our country. We have let everyone down with our actions, and we wholeheartedly apologise."

The couple's names remain suppressed until a High Court judgement later Tuesday.