Boaties told to stay home as Level 4 continues
Boaties cruising around Coromandel’s Mercury Islands are being told to stay home as New Zealand’s Covid-19 restrictions continue over the weekend.
The country has been in a Level 4 lockdown since August 17, when cases of the highly infectious Delta variant emerged in Auckland. Level 4 means everyone should stay at home, with a small number of exceptions – primarily for people considered essential workers.
Those outside Auckland and Northland will be moving down to Alert Level 3 on Wednesday which will undoubtedly come as a relief for many. Some boaties, however have been flouting lockdown rules.
Nick Kelly, the Department of Conservation’s Coromandel Operations Manager, says he has received reports about pleasure boats cruising around from people with properties looking out over the islands.
“We’ve got reliable information – from my staff and the crew of an essential supply vessel - about a steady stream of boats making their way to Ahuahu and the wider archipelago during this lockdown,” says Nick.
“It’s completely unacceptable. Boating and island hopping are not permitted at Level 4. People need to be adhering to the Government’s direction.
“DOC is committed to stamping out the virus and keeping communities safe from Covid-19. Anyone caught breaking the Covid-19 rules will be reported.
“The islands are not a part of boaties’ immediate ‘local area’, and access to these islands for recreational activities is not permitted.”
The public can report Covid-19 level breaches through Covid-19 compliance section of the official Government website.
As well as flagrant breaches of the Level 4 rules, unauthorised visits to pest-free islands risks compromising the biosecurity of the islands and years of conservation work.
“It’s critical people do not make landfall on predator-free islands and risk introducing pests,” says Nick.
“These islands are sanctuaries to some of New Zealand’s most endangered species which are in ‘perpetual lockdown’ to ensure their survivability.”
Further south, in DOC’s Hauraki district, Kauaeranga Valley Rd near Thames into public conservation land has been closed. The closure is to prevent people entering the valley to go tramping or hunting in what is usually a popular conservation recreation area.
The Broken Hills recreation area has also been closed to the public. The closure of the locations will remain in effect until Covid-19 alert levels drop and New Zealanders can again enjoy the outdoors beyond the immediate vicinity of their homes.
All DOC Great Walks, huts, campsites and other facilities nationwide are also closed, and people must not go hunting, fishing from boats, tramping, skiing or swimming, or do any water-based activities or other activities that expose them to danger, or which may require search and rescue services.
People are also prohibited from isolating in DOC huts, lodges or campsites.