Fully vaccinated Kiwis welcome in Te Tai Tokerau, unvaxxed should stay away- Hone Harawira

Hone Harawira says fully vaccinated Kiwis are welcome in Te Tai Tokerau over summer, but unvaccinated people are being asked to stay away. 

Aucklanders can travel outside of the region from December 15 if they are fully vaccinated or have a negative test result. But there's concern among locals that a negative test isn't enough. 

Te Tai Tokerau Border Control founder Hone Harawira is calling for unvaccinated visitors to be barred from entering amid concerns of a COVID-19 outbreak. 

Harawira told The AM Show borders will be set up across the Bay of Islands and vaccine passes will be being checked. 

"I think the reality is that Māori are worried - whanau are scared of what they see coming and they don't see anything good coming. They want to know that their people are going to be protected first and foremost."

Harawira says northern regional District Health Boards and Te Tai Tokerau iwi leaders want only fully vaccinated people to be allowed into the region until it has a 90 percent vaccine rate for Māori and non-Māori.

"This is not just a call from Hone Harawira and the Border Control or from communities… This has now reached the level where it is a general call from all of the iwi and from all of the regional district health boards. This is huge. That's the level of concern that is being felt across the district."

"We are asking everybody - double vaxxed or please stay home… So the doors are still open and we want to try to make sure that if people are double vaccinated they are going to be welcomed into the territory."

Harawira said Te Tai Tokerau Border Control is working with police to manage roadblocks over the summer. 

It comes amid growing calls for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to bar unvaccinated people from travelling to at-risk communities.

Speaking with The AM Show on Wednesday, National's new leader Christopher Luxon said the situation needs to be closely monitored. 

"I think there are ongoing conversations with the hapu involved. But you know, we've got a lot of tourism businesses there, we've got a lot of people who've worked really hard trying to keep their customers safe, and we know that is the place New Zealanders want to go holiday in. 

"I think there's some inconsistency there. We're gonna release a border from Auckland, but you can't go to the Bay of Islands. And that issue does need to get resolved."

But Whangārei's Mayor said blocking off the region would be a blow for businesses that are desperate for visitors. 

"People who are in business in Northland who rely on visitor numbers, absolutely rely on our friends and family from Auckland," Sheryl Mai said.

"They desperately need their coffers to be filled with the wallets of people who have been in lockdown and want to come north and are desperate to have a good time. So it would definitely have a severe impact on our economy in the region."

Mai said tourism is the one thing that keeps towns like Russel, Waitangi and Paihia alive. 

"It would be devastating for them."

She said many locals are also hanging out to see their family members and friends from Auckland.  

ACT leader David Seymour has hit out at Harawira, saying he doesn't speak for New Zealanders and has "no right to stop our freedom of movement".

"New Zealanders rejected Harawira when he tried to get back into Parliament. He has no mandate, he doesn't speak for New Zealanders, he doesn't even speak for Te Tai Tokerau, he should follow the law like everyone else. 

"Whether Harawira likes it or not, the Government makes the laws, not him. Tourism businesses up north have been through enough without him standing in their way. 

"The Police and the Government need to take a clear stand against his road blocks. Jacinda Ardern can't afford to give more wishy washy comments about consulting with iwi. Tell Hone and his mates to go home."

Seymour said anyone running an illegal checkpoint should be arrested. 

"The Police shouldn't stand alongside them and help them with their illegal checkpoints. Tell them to pack up and if they don't - arrest them.

"If Harawira wants to help his community, he should be out encouraging people to get vaccinated, not restricting other people from moving around their own country."