National leader Judith Collins ridicules 'raving mad' idea of allocating times to leave Auckland over summer

The Auckland border is on track to stay put but the Government is promising summer roadies could still be on for the double-vaccinated. 

If the city hit's 90 percent of the eligible population, at least 1.3 million Aucklanders would be eligible to hit the road and possibly be stopped at a vaccine checkpoint, turning summer dreams into traffic nightmares.

"We're just working through what the practical options are to ensure that we don't end up with people, you know, spending days sitting in their cars and all of Auckland grinding to a halt," COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told Checkpoint on Wednesday. 

"We're working through our options on that at the moment and ways to potentially spread, for example, the travel, so it might be that people get allocated a time in which they can travel." 

Yes, you heard that right - you might have to apply to the Government for a time slot to take your trip.

"I thought they'd actually gone stark raving mad," National leader Judith Collins told Newshub. 

Aucklanders Newshub spoke to had mixed reactions. Some just laughed, while others had genuine concerns about how such a policy would work. 

"The system would be stuffed where you can't get the slot that you need when you want to travel," one man told Newshub.

"I think it would be really hard for families because they'd have to organise their time off work around that special slot," a woman said. 

Another woman commented: "That can become really difficult especially if you're going away with other people."

The Government mop-up was initiated on Thursday, with Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson hosing the idea down during morning media. 

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield told The AM Show Hipkins was simply musing. 

"There is a range of ways in which it could be done and my reading of what the minister said last night was floating some of the options that are thought about or considered," Dr Bloomfield said. 

Newshub has been told it is the least best option on Cabinet's decision table - and the Police Association president agrees.

"Double-vaxxed and tests to get through - look, it's a theory waiting to turn into a shambles, from what I can see," Chris Cahill told The AM Show. 

But the official statement doesn't rule it out at all.

"We are committed to ensuring Aucklanders are able to leave Auckland for Christmas and the summer holidays," the statement from Hipkins says. 

"At the same time, we need to do what we can for the rest of the country to try and ensure it is people, and not the virus, that moves beyond the Auckland boundary.

"No system will be perfect, and it will be challenging, but we are looking at how we can use tools like vaccine certificates and testing to achieve these goals.

"While no decisions have been made, we are talking with different sectors and groups who will be key to making a land boundary work safely and as smoothly as possible, and will keep the public up to speed with developments."

Collins didn't hold back. 

"I think the Government is looking like the Grinch Government. They're trying to take Christmas away from people."

Newshub requested interviews with the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and COVID-19 Response Minister to clear things up, but they all refused. 

Newshub has been told the one key line in the official statement the Government really wants Aucklanders to hear is the commitment to letting Aucklanders leave their city this summer. Take that as a promise.

Newshub understands the ninth floor of the Beehive isn't happy with Hipkins for opening his gob and blurting this out. But the feeling is mutual, with some ministers' offices not so stoked the Prime Minister started it all by reiterating that the border might be in place all summer long.

And instead of front-footing it by clearing up intentions and giving Aucklanders who already have enough anxieties to deal with some certainty, the Government is pointing fingers behind the scenes and ducking for cover in public.

Aucklanders are hanging off their Government's every word for a little hope. This was messy and fueled unnecessary uncertainty.