More than 50 seen lining Auckland street for tangi

Still from supplied video via NZ Herald
Still from supplied video via NZ Herald
A group of more than 50 people broke Auckland's lockdown rules to attend a tangi in Avondale yesterday.

Newstalk ZB has obtained a video showing the group lining the road and footpath in groups as a hearse slowly makes its way up the road.

Police confirmed reports of a "gathering of people" congregating in a carpark as a hearse passed, "following an online funeral" at 12.30pm yesterday.

The people were, however, outside together in a group of more than 50 – a clear breach of Auckland's lockdown restrictions.

Sources say many had been congregating before the procession.

"In this case police were aware they were dealing with people visibly going through the grieving process," Auckland City West Police Inspector Glenn Baldwin said.

"When approached by police the group were compliant and dispersed from the area shortly after. Our staff continued to monitor the area, however there were no further issues."

But the video also shows some of the same people at a burial site later that day.

"Police will be reviewing the matter to identify any relevant offences," Baldwin said.

National's police spokesman Simeon Brown says the video shows a clear alert level breach.

"The rules are the rules – they have to be applied consistently."

He says the police have taken a hard line in going into supermarkets to make sure people are wearing a mask – but it appears in this instance, they've taken a very "slow attitude to intervene".

A spokesperson for Police Minister Poto Williams said this was an operational decision for the police, so it would not be appropriate for her to comment.

But asked about the event, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she did not want to give a view on how police "undertake their operational duties".

"They are best placed to make those decisions in the moment in time and they know the orders that they are able to enforce and we leave it to them to be able to do that job."

She says the ability to enforce breaking up level 4 breaches exists, but it's up to the police to decide "how and when that's done".

"These are all operational decisions."

Ardern said lockdown breaches are not representative of what the vast majority of New Zealanders are doing.

Baldwin said: "Police appreciate that these situations are difficult when people are grieving, but we remind the public that under alert level 4 gatherings cannot take place".

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