31 Aug 2021

Fines issued after 'upsetting' anti-vaccination letters delivered to medical practices

6:05 pm on 31 August 2021

Two people have been fined after hand delivering offensive anti-vaccination letters to a number of medical practices in Nelson.


Acting Tasman District Commander Detective Inspector Paul Borrell said a small number of people had protested outside the Nelson Police Station on the first day of lockdown and it was understood the letters had come from the same group.

While the letters themselves did not constitute a criminal offence, he said the contents were extremely distressing for the recipients.

The letters referenced the non-consensual treatment of individuals by medical professionals in Germany following World War II.

"It was quite upsetting to those who had them delivered and our role is to keep our community safe and that includes investigating matters like this and holding those people to account."

The letters were hand delivered to three medical centres, which was non-essential movement in breach of the current health order and infringement notices were issued.

Police have responded to a number of other incidents in the Tasman district since alert level 4 restrictions first came into effect on 17 August.

As of 29 August, 472 reports had been made to the 105 service about breaches of the rules in the Tasman District, which covers Nelson Bays, Marlborough and the West Coast. Of those, 281 were about gatherings, 135 about businesses and 56 about people.

Borrell said police had not had major issues with people failing to wear masks while visiting essential services, but there had been some issues with people travelling for non-essential purposes, including someone who was stopped while heading south to Hanmer Springs.

Last weekend, checkpoints were set up on main highways in and out of Nelson to check those out and about were travelling for essential reasons, which the majority were.

Other than that, he said residents across the Tasman District had been well-behaved.

"We are really keen to encourage our community to follow the rules and at large they have, they have been fantastic."

Borrell said there was the odd person who came to police attention this lockdown that had also caused issues during alert level 4 last year.

"We know that the message is out there and they are blatant breaches that we have no option but to serve infringement notices."

Police respond to small protests around the country

Nineteen people have been arrested for flouting alert level 4 rules during anti-lockdown protests this morning.

Police say there were small gatherings at government and local council buildings around the country.

Six of the arrests happened outside the Tauranga City Council building while in Auckland, four people were arrested outside Government House in Epsom.

There were also arrests in Hamilton, Whanganui, Kaikohe, Whangārei, Taupō and Christchurch.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said protest is a normal feature of a well-functioning democracy, but the police have a low tolerance for people who deliberately ignore Covid-19 restrictions.

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