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One charged after Tauranga anti-lockdown protest

New Zealand Police Commissioner Andrew Coster. Photo: RNZ / Ian Telfer.

One person has been charged under the Health Act following anti-lockdown protests in Tauranga yesterday. 

Four people were arrested in Tauranga yesterday after refusing to move on from a protest outside Tauranga Central Police Station. 

Three of those people were issued with formal warnings but one, a 56-year-old woman, is now due in court. 

“Of the four people arrested yesterday, three were issued with formal warnings,” says a police spokesperson.

“A 56-year-old woman is due to appear in the Tauranga District Court on August 23 facing one charge under the Health Act 1956.

“As this matter is now before the court we are unable to comment further.”

New Zealand Police Commissioner Andrew Coster confirmed yesterday that a group of 20 people gathered at Tauranga's police station and that four had declined to move on.

“We have a low tolerance for unlawful gatherings particularly in the context of a Delta variant outbreak,” he says.  

“People can expect we will move more quickly to enforcement action in that context.”

Arrests were also made in Auckland, including those of prominent conspiracy theorists Billy TK Jr and Vinny Eastwood. A crowd in Nelson dispersed, without arrests, following intervention from police.

The small protests were taking place on the first day of New Zealand's return into Level 4 lockdown, following positive cases of the Delta variant of Covid-19 in the community.

Today, Coster has suggested further protests are a possibility across New Zealand and a similar approach to yesterday would be taken.

"You know people are entitled to express their views,” he says.  

“But we really just need to knuckle down and get through this and the more we do that the shorter this lockdown is likely to be."

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12 Comments
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@Slim Shady

Posted on 21-08-2021 16:46 | By morepork

Your friend can laugh all he likes but it comes down to a simple question: "Would you rather be in the U.K. right now, or here?" Pretty much a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned.

@ Justin T

Posted on 21-08-2021 15:15 | By

WOW, that’s quite a reply. Thank you, you put it extraordinarily well with a history lesson too. I did wonder what angle MO was coming from and I think the question you end with is very pertinent.

Loonies

Posted on 20-08-2021 15:00 | By

I told my mate in the UK we’d been told to “stay calm” after 1 case and he just laughed his head off.

@Andrew64

Posted on 20-08-2021 12:50 | By morepork

I am more sympathetic to your position than you think. Free Speech has been something dear to me throughout my life and the right to protest is fundamental to Democracy. The Government may have an agenda to retain power as you say, but I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt. Level 4 lockdown has been invoked , not as a means of controlling the population, but because it is the best weapon we have against the virus. Even if, as you pointed out, the conditions written into it are not in effect, it is still our best shot for seeing that those conditions do NOT eventuate. We have been incredibly lucky and enjoyed freedoms during this pandemic that the rest of the world can only envy. If we want that to continue, we need Level 4 for a time.

@Major Orange

Posted on 20-08-2021 12:43 | By Justin T.

Those protesters were dangerous, potential spreaders of disease and misinformation. And in your analogy of 1930’s Germany; a young man despondent with the current government of 1920’s was involved in a protest movement called the German Workers Party that caught the attention of other radicals, demanding they were hard done by and had the right, once the movement gathered numbers to take what they felt was rightfully theirs. Shame those obviously dangerous protesters weren’t stopped. The party soon changed it’s name to the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP), more commonly referred to as the Nazi Party. So I ask you this Major Orange, which uniform do you wear, Stormtrooper or Allie?

@ Yadick

Posted on 19-08-2021 18:43 | By

@ Yadick....God help us if you were around in the 1930’s in Germany. You’ld be barking orders to have everyone arrested who had the foresight to see what was coming.

I disagree

Posted on 19-08-2021 16:42 | By

From the government website level 4 is for sustained and intensive community transmission with widespread outbreaks. Level 3 is multiple cases of community transmission with multiple active clusters in multiple locations. The olympics were held in Japan where there are 20,000 odd cases a day and hundreds of deaths. UK is fully open and getting 30 odd thousand cases a day with hundreds of deaths. NZ locks down after a single case in Auckland. By definition we are not at Level 4 OR 3. Respect freedom of speech. The government aren’t always right because they are the government. The leader has her own agenda and that is to retain power and create a legacy and I for one disagree.

Donkeys outside the Police Station.

Posted on 19-08-2021 15:33 | By morepork

A tiger and a donkey are discussing the color of grass. The donkey insists it is blue, while the tiger supports the green camp. The debate becomes heated, so they agree to let the lion (King) decide. The donkey prances around the lion mouthing off and being annoying. The lion says the grass is blue, and the delighted donkey demands that the tiger be punished. The lion sentences the tiger to a week of silence. The tiger is shocked and asks the lion for an explanation. The lion says: "You are not being punished for the color of the grass, which is obviously green, you are being punished for wasting time arguing with an idiot, and consequently making me waste my time adjudicating something that was self-evident and obvious."

low tolerance...

Posted on 19-08-2021 15:20 | By morepork

...(especially at the moment) is exactly the way to go. I fiercely defend the right to free speech and the right to disagree with Authority. But having stated your objection and made it a matter of record, you are NOT entitled to obstruct the Law in its execution of duty.

civid

Posted on 19-08-2021 11:07 | By brickie

the sooner these people respect the governments orders the better , unbelieble how some people still want to ignore covid

I Agree

Posted on 19-08-2021 10:27 | By

That people are allowed to express their views BUT not unlawfully and not at the risk of other people’s lives. Arrest and charge them all.

Should have charged them all

Posted on 19-08-2021 09:55 | By Kancho

Four people refused police instruction to leave or be arrested. So the police should have charged all those arrested and hopefully a heavy fine imposed as a minimum. Failure to act just encourages people to mock the police and the law.