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Auckland couple to be prosecuted after flight

A police checkpoint in Mercer, near Auckland's border with Waikato. Photo: RNZ/Nick Monro.

Police have been made aware this weekend of an Auckland couple who crossed the Alert Level 4 border with essential worker exemptions, drove to Hamilton Airport, then flew to their holiday home in Wanaka.

"This calculated and deliberate flouting of the Alert Level 4 restrictions is completely unacceptable and will be extremely upsetting to all those who are working hard and making great sacrifices in order to stamp out Covid in our community," says a Police spokesperson.

The couple – a 26-year-old woman and 35-year-old man – will be prosecuted for breaching the current Health Order, by failing to return to their place of residence within the Alert Level 4 area after leaving for approved essential personal movement.

The couple will be issued with a summons to appear in court in the coming week.

Police are reiterating to the public that there are strict requirements in place for anyone looking to cross Alert level boundaries.

This comes as a small number of disappointing incidents have occurred at Auckland’s southern boundary in recent days.

"What is most frustrating for Police is that these incidents detract from the overall high level of compliance shown to date by the public," says a Police spokesperson.

"Our border staff continue to report low traffic volumes at all of the checkpoints set up."

At the checkpoint situated at Mangatawhiri Road/State Highway 2 on Saturday, three people attempted to cross the boundary claiming they were essential workers.

"They presented our checkpoint staff with a document containing the letterhead of an essential business," says a Police spokesperson.

"Following questioning by Police, they admitted they did not have an exemption or the correct documentation.

"Their details have been recorded, they have been issued with a warning and directed to return home."

Police say that enforcement action remains a possibility if they are found to be breaching restrictions in place again.

"Our staff working on the Orams Road checkpoint overnight stopped a vehicle attempting to travel northbound into Auckland," says a Police spokesperson.

The driver was visibly intoxicated, and they were taken by Police to Huntly to undergo EBA procedures.

"It is fortunate this driver did not cause any harm to themselves or any other road users overnight."

Auckland compliance update

Since Alert Level 4 came into place, in Auckland 67 people have been charged with a total of 71 offences as at 5pm on Saturday September 11, 2021. 

Of these, 56 are for Failing to Comply with Order (COVID-19), 12 for Failure to Comply with Direction/Prohibition/Restriction, one for Failing to Stop (Covid 19-related), and two for Assaults/Threatens/Hinders/Obstructs Enforcement Officer.

In the same time period, 158 people were formally warned for a range of offences.

To date, Police have received a total of 7,530 105-online breach notifications relating to businesses, mass gatherings or people in Tāmaki Makaurau.

-RNZ.

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6 Comments
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The real injustice here...

Posted on 13-09-2021 22:05 | By morepork

...is the contempt and selfishness they have shown to others who are really trying to make a difference. Their punishment should reflect that. Obviously, they live a privileged lifestyle and they need to get more contact with ordinary people. I’d like to see Community Service or Charity work imposed by the Courts, with serious hours that they MUST comply with. It might help them to change their minds and grow up a bit.

Jail time!

Posted on 13-09-2021 19:20 | By Lyrch

No point fining people who have parents of influence and a holiday home in Wanaka. Make them a shining example of how privilege is not above the law. They’ll probably hire an expensive lawyer and be served with a wet bus ticket while us plebs would get the book thrown at us.

Slow down Team

Posted on 13-09-2021 14:16 | By

Is this any different from Greens MP travelling to Ireland during the same timeframe. And then will of course automatically get a spot in MIQ - or maybe just a quick test then off to his home.

Throw the book at them

Posted on 13-09-2021 08:35 | By waiknot

This type of thing is hard to enforce, so the penalty must be a deterrent.

Selfish!!!

Posted on 13-09-2021 07:46 | By

What a selfish pair of morons. It is time for the courts to get tough and make an example of these two idots. A fine of at least $10,000 each. If I was a lawmaker and subsequently a judge, I would confiscate their holiday home in Wanaka, sell it and give the proceeds to charity. Of course, it is more likely that they will have their hands slapped and told never to do it again. SOFT, SOFT, SOFT NZ!!!

This will be interesting

Posted on 13-09-2021 06:42 | By Astoreth

Will they get "a bit of a growling", or maybe "quite a telling off"? Once I’d have suggested a slap with a wet bus ticket likely, but these days that’s just not being kind..