18 Oct 2021

Covid-19: North Shore party apparently in breach of rules 'thoughtless and stupid'

12:12 pm on 18 October 2021

Police have received multiple complaints after a video showing people apparently partying at an North Shore house was posted online.

Video posted to Twitter shows a party in Auckland under alert level 3.

Video posted to Twitter shows a party in Auckland under alert level 3. Photo: Twitter

Footage has been circulating on Instagram of the event attended by dozens of young adults who appeared to be flouting Covid-19 restrictions.

One partygoer posted that attending the party and breaking the rules was "a huge regret" and a "selfish" and "stupid decision".

About 2000 people attended an anti-lockdown protest rally at the Auckland Domain on Saturday.

Waning compliance has been a growing concern in this Delta outbreak, and the government has blamed it for the rise in cases.

Albany Ward councillor John Watson said the party believed to be in Redvale had angered people in light of sacrifices everyone had been making.

"This is kind of a one-fingered salute to the community as a whole I think."

The vociferous backlash once the video emerged was understandable as it was potentially a superspreader event, he said.

"They're really annoyed that people could be as thoughtless and stupid to do something like this at this stage."

The expectation is that police will pursue an investigation otherwise it wouild be a terrible example to set to the rest of the community.

Police have said they do not have any further comment at this stage.

Though he didn't believe it was a political statement Watson said it went beyond people being tired of restrictions. "I don't think there'll be much sympathy for the 'we're getting tired of the lockdown' routine."

Psychologist Jacqui Maguire said there was very high compliance last year when people took on the message of following guidelines to protect family and community members.

"Whilst in 2020 people might have been very scared for their own health, we may now have a very large proportion of the population that says 'I've done my bit and I'm vaccinated and therefore I'll be okay'.

Maguire said behavioural psychology and psychology of motivation showed people's self-interest often came first.

"When we think of the longevity of the restrictions there isn't a clear plan out for some people," she said, and those who are vaccinated will feel they are in the restrictions potentially for those who are not.

Psychologically people were looking for some benefit for having done what was asked of them, such as an easing of restrictions and clarity about the path out of lockdowns.

"Behaviour works on a risk benefit analysis... From that self interest point of view which we know is where people come from, often, is what are the benefits for adhering to the rules because the risk now of personal illness or impacts from personal illness has dropped from people so that risk has gone down."

"The real benefit is really going to be when is New Zealand going to start opening up again and when are we going to get our freedoms back.

"That's a really fine balance that the government's going to have to manage."

She said anti-lockdown protests were more a case of political ideology, with research from the US suggesting the view was aligned more with right wing attitudes on social norms and was from those were less open to taking actions for others.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says people flouting lockdown restrictions must be very disappointing for Aucklanders who had been putting in the hard yards.

He told Morning Report there was no doubt people were tiring of the situation, and that was understandable.

"But there's a difference between being tired and inadvertent breaches of what the rules are under alert level 3, and something that is blatantly flouting that.

"I think people are rightly a bit annoyed about that."

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