Vandervis criticises city’s police

Dunedin city councillor Lee Vandervis has taken a swipe at police in Dunedin over the way he was served with a trespass notice from the council earlier this month.

Cr Vandervis - a vaccine mandates critic - has argued the council’s policy about vaccine passes is impeding his ability to carry out his role as an elected official.

Lee Vandervis
Lee Vandervis
Over the weekend, he posted video on social media of the event on December 7 which resulted in him being trespassed from the council for three months.

In the video, he can be seen walking into the DCC to attend a council meeting, where security staff ask him whether he has a Covid-19 vaccination pass.

He says, "No", and security tell him he cannot enter, but he continues to walk past them anyway saying, "That’s where you’re wrong — get your legal advice right."

The video ends with Cr Vandervis being served a trespass notice at his home by police, and him trying to pass Ministry of Health guidelines to police in his defence.

It is followed by text on the screen saying: "Their [New Zealand Police’s] one and only job is to do as they have been instructed to do.

"No interest and not able or/and willing to extend their efforts for the rights and what is just for the people of New Zealand."

Yesterday, Cr Vandervis told the Otago Daily Times he put the video up because he wanted the public to see what really happened on the day.

He said the police were "completely unwilling" to look at the Ministry of Health evidence he had prepared for them.

"They didn’t want to know. I think that represents a less than desirable way of dealing with the public.

"If the police are only there to do their master’s bidding, and not prepared to listen to another side of what might be going on, then I don’t believe they’re doing their entire job."

Cr Vandervis’ supporters encouraged his actions on social media and one said, "Makes our police look completely stupid, like a ‘Not The Nine O’Clock News’ skit for those that remember that show."

However, the video did not go down well with many other social media users, who called Cr Vandervis a "plonker", and an "idiot", among other things.

A police spokeswoman said that in the usual course of their duties, officers could be called upon to assist in issuing trespass notices to individuals on behalf of others.

"Police act on behalf of the issuer of the notice and do not have to give the recipient of the notice a reason for why they are being trespassed."

The DCC requires a vaccination pass to be produced for entry into council buildings under the Orange setting of the Government’s Covid-19 traffic light system.

Elected members who cannot produce a pass can attend meetings remotely by using a Zoom link.

At the time, DCC chief executive Sandy Graham said attending meetings via Zoom allowed councillors to exercise their roles as elected officials.

She said the decision to issue the trespass notice was not made lightly and the council had a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act to protect staff, the public and elected members.