Four-hour trip among breaches

The Makarora River. Photo: Getty Images
The Makarora River. Photo: Getty Images
A Dunedin man travelled four hours to go jet-boating with six people from separate bubbles at the weekend.

Many people also appear to be travelling to southern beaches despite Alert Level 4 restrictions and people were seen driving along John Wilson Ocean Dr and parking at the St Clair beachfront over the weekend.

In Wanaka, police have resorted to leaving notices on some vehicles in remote areas, in an effort to deter people from tramping and hiking.

However, despite a few "concerning" incidents across New Zealand, the vast majority seemed to be doing the right thing in lockdown, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said yesterday.

Police began issuing infringement notices for Covid-19-related breaches as of August 19.

As at 5pm on Saturday, police had issued 174 infringement notices nationwide. Of these, 146 were for failing to remain at a current home, 13 for failing to comply with physical distancing rules, 11 for failing to wear face coverings either on a premises or on public transport, and four for obstructing or hindering a medical officer or person assisting a medical officer.

"Overall, police are encouraged to see how well people are behaving across the country but there is a small number of people who are continuing to flout the rules," Mr Coster said.

That included seven men from six separate bubbles who were found jet-boating by a police officer who was patrolling along the Makarora River in Otago, he said.

One of the men had travelled from Dunedin, a four-hour drive.

"Enforcement action will be taken against the men and this is currently being processed," Mr Coster said.

Since lockdown began, 23 people had been charged and 27 offences had occurred nationwide, as of 5pm on Saturday. The arrests were primarily the result of protest activity.

Police received a total of 4487 105-online breach notifications — 2550 about gatherings, 1542 about businesses and 395 about individual people.

Police would not be interviewed when asked to speak specifically about behaviour in Otago and Southland.

However, Otago Lakes Central area prevention manager Senior Sergeant John Fookes confirmed Wanaka police were leaving notices on vehicles in remote areas of the wider Wanaka area.

"We have had persistent problems with people travelling to areas outside of their neighbourhood to exercise or undertake recreational activity, such as tramping, hiking, mountain biking and even jet-boating ... the potential for injury means emergency services are exposed to risk when they have to rescue people."

The behaviour was "concerning" and breached Level 4 restrictions, he said.

It is also understood that whitebaiters have been among those flouting the rules.

Southland Recreational Whitebaiters Association president Roger McNaughton said in a statement on Friday it was "disappointing" that some whitebaiters were going to the river during lockdown.

"[It] should be known by now that these people are breaking the law and is an irresponsible attitude by these individuals. The welfare of the landowner, police, search and rescue and our medical people are at risk."

He hoped strong action would be taken against the offenders.


Name and shame

Agreed, name and shame. The majority of NZers want to feel pride in our intelligent response to this Delta Covid. We don't have to like lockdown, we don't have to like missing out on activities and social events but we know what the word "team" means. Like any big team we have our differences but when it comes to an outside enemy most of us unite. Name the people who feel entitled to sabotage the efforts of the team, it is obvious they can't be relied on in times of any difficulty since they put themselves above the majority. For their own pleasure they don't care if the rest of us have months of lockdown, long as they can get out and about because they are so special. We should have the right to know who to trust in future, in any important matters.

This is a final warning and we'll be around again to give you a warning.