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Police have taken action against 59 people who breached Covid restrictions in Queenstown during the three-week lockdown that ended last month.
They include resort property developer Min ‘Homy’ Yang, who this week denied a charge stemming from alleged travel from Auckland to Queenstown last month, a surfboard paddler who allegedly made a double crossing of Lake Wakatipu, and an accommodation manager who allegedly threw a party at her workplace.
The trio are among six people facing criminal prosecution, while cops dished out six formal warnings, one verbal one and issued 47 infringement notices, which carry a $300 fine.
Among those hit in the pocket is a young woman flown to Dunedin Hospital with neck and facial injuries on August 27 after she fell off her mountain bike while riding the McNearly Gnarly trail in the Fernhill Bike Park.
That incident sparked a scolding from the country’s top cop, police commissioner Andrew Coster, who expressed irritation at his officers seeing more than 50 other riders on the grade 3 track while assisting the rescue.
Coster’s comments may have come as a surprise to many of the thousands of locals who pedalled the Queenstown Trails network during lockdown — bits of which are just as potentially risky and remote as McNearly Gnarly.
The breach numbers, which Mountain Scene requested under the Official Information Act, cover the area inside the Queenstown police station boundary.
They’re for the period between August 18 — the first day under Level 4 — and September 7, when all of New Zealand, except Auckland, moved to Level 2.
The 60 proceedings relate to 54 incidents, and stem from breaches of the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act or the Health Act, including unnecessary travel.