12 Sep 2021

Auckland couple to be prosecuted after flying to Wanaka

5:41 pm on 12 September 2021

Police are criticising a couple who used their essential worker status at a boundary checkpoint to get to Hamilton and then flew to their holiday home in Wanaka.

A police checkpoint in Mercer, near Auckland's border with Waikato.

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

The couple crossed the alert level 4 border out of Auckland with essential worker exemptions before driving on to Hamilton Airport, a police spokesperson said in a statement.

"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."

The couple - a 26-year-old woman and 35-year-old man - will be prosecuted for breaching the current Health Order.

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

Queenstown Lakes Mayor, Jim Boult, said their actions were selfish and disappointing.

"These people just flout the laws and come to our part of the world endangering us, endangering our economy, endangering the health of the folk in our part of the world."

Boult said he was worried the couple may have been in the community, and will be seeking assurance from the authorities tomorrow.

Police also picked up a "clearly intoxicated" motorist at the Orams Road checkpoint overnight.

The driver was travelling towards Auckland but was taken to Huntly police station to be processed.

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

Separately, three people tried to cross the Auckland boundary claiming they were essential workers.

The police say they presented checkpoint staff at Mangatawhiri Road/State Highway 2 yesterday with documents containing a letterhead of an essential business, but following questioning admitted they did not have an exemption.

They were issued with a warning and may still face prosecution.

Police have repeated earlier warnings that there are strict requirements in place for anyone looking to cross alert level boundaries.

They say the latest incidents are disappointing, and detract from the overall high level of compliance shown by most members of the public.

Border staff continue to report low traffic volumes at all of the checkpoints set up.

Since alert level 4 came into place, in Tāmaki Makaurau 67 people had been charged with a total of 71 offences by 5pm yesterday.

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