30 Mar 2020

Covid-19: Reports of isolation breaches crash website

7:14 pm on 30 March 2020

A police website for reporting suspected lockdown breaches was so overrun with complaints it crashed just hours after being launched.

Police generic

(File image). Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

If you suspect a business or individual is breaching the Covid-19 level four isolation rules you can now head online to fill out a report.

Launched yesterday, the new service has proved an immediate hit with 4200 reports made in the first 24 hours.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said it was clear people were not just passionate about following the rules, but enforcing them too.

"The vast majority of Kiwis or people inside New Zealand are complying brilliantly ... they know that to stay home saves lives. At the same time, those people who are complying are very passionate to ensure that others comply."

The new system received so many reports after being launched at 1pm yesterday it crashed, Bush said.

"Again, it shows how determined Kiwis are to ensure that everyone complies with this. We've crashed that system and put it up again so it's working."

Of the 4200 reports so far, 1000 related to businesses suspected of breaching the essential services rule while the rest of the reports related to individuals, Bush said.


  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP - don't show up at a medical centre
  • The new website was set-up to ease pressure on the 111 line after 2000 calls related to Covid-19 breaches were made last week.

    The figures did not come as a surprise to clinical psychologist and senior lecturer at Massey University's School of Psychology, Ian de Terte.

    He said people following the rules would be annoyed others were not.

    "People get frustrated by other people doing what they've been told by the government. Some people can't tolerate differences when people don't do what they've been told to do."

    Dr de Terte said people would also be mindful that how people behave now would affect how long the lockdown lasted.

    The current level four restrictions are in place for four weeks but will only be lifted when it is safe to do so.

    "Some people will realise that if we don't do this the lockdown or level four period might go on longer than the four weeks."

    Police have the power to arrest and detain people for breaking the rules and have so far arrested three people found breaching them even after official warnings.

    Some people have taken matters into their own hands as iwi in some parts of the country have asked the public to stay off their land during the lockdown.

    Bush said police were not using checkpoints themselves but were supporting others to do so lawfully.

    "We're working with a lot of local communities. A lot of people want to set up checkpoints and keep people out of their places, areas and towns. We want to work with them to make sure that's absolutely lawful."

    Dr de Terte said seeing others bending the rules could add to an already heightened sense of stress and anxiety at this time.

    He had two pieces of advice for anyone struggling with rule breakers; the first to focus on what you can control and the second to lead by example.

    "You can only control what you can control, if you're doing the right thing by staying away from people that's good, and also modelling to people what you should be doing."

    Authorities are clear that if it is an emergency you can still call 111, but if you are calling to complain about a gathering you have spotted or a park or beach overrun with people, your first port of call is the police's website or calling the non-emergency number 105.

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