Chris Hipkins says iwi shouldn't set up roadblocks to stop tourists

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says there shouldn't be any iwi roadblocks set up over the holiday period.

Aucklanders are allowed to leave the city from December 15 if they are fully vaccinated or test negative. But iwi leaders in Te Tai Tokerau say unvaccinated visitors pose a threat to the community.

On Wednesday Hone Harawira told The AM Show Te Tai Tokerau Border Control is planning to set up roadblocks to stop unvaccinated people from visiting the region.

"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.

"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 the roadblocks. But during the 1pm press conference on Wednesday, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said iwi shouldn't set up their own roadblocks.

"The only people who should be putting any roadblocks in place if they are justified by law are the New Zealand Police, so no there should not be any iwi roadblocks being set up," he said.

And he's not the only politician who thinks that. Earlier ACT leader David Seymour 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 roadblocks. 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."