Cyclone Gabrielle updates: Cabinet to discuss more financial support

7:13 pm on 20 February 2023

In Monday's post-Cabinet conference, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins responded to reports of crime in flood-ravaged areas and people setting up community checkpoints to deal with incidents.

Hipkins said police were not reporting an increase in crime over and above what they would normally expect to deal with in Hawke's Bay, but 140 extra police were supporting the efforts there.

"Any suggestion that things are out of control is just wrong, and amplifying those kind of rumours isn't helpful and it doesn't help the police to do their jobs."

People were being arrested but there was no "evidence to suggest that there's a degree of lawlessness as some of the rumour mill might be suggesting".

The threshold for invoking military support for local policing was a very high one and police had "not given us any indication that we're anywhere near that", he said.

He said if people were setting up checkpoints they need to be doing that in consultation with police.

Where incidents of people filming have been reported to police, that "more accurately falls into the rather sad category of disaster tourism, so people filming and taking photographs of damaged areas rather than .. for the purposes of coming back and committing criminal activity", he said.

Rumours and people speculating can lead to heightened fear, he said. He knows of only one instance where a firearm has been presented.

Look back at how Monday unfolded with RNZ's blog:

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