Coronavirus: Queenstown Lakes District Council shames social-distancing rule-breakers jumping off bridge and swimming amid lockdown

A group of about a dozen people have been slammed by the Queenstown Lakes District Council after they were seen jumping off a local bridge into the river, violating New Zealand's COVID-19 alert level 4 restrictions.

The council says the activity is "not acceptable" during a national lockdown and urged people to follow the rules.

In a Facebook post, accompanied by a photo of the group jumping off the Albert Town Bridge near Wānaka on Thursday afternoon, the council said the police were notified.

"Do we really need to say that this activity is not acceptable at a time of national lockdown?" the council said. 

"Please don’t do it, for the good of your community, and out of respect for our medical professionals and emergency services."

The council said people were upset by the behaviour and this was reflected in the comments.

"Do what’s right people. The sooner we get this under control, the sooner we get back to work," one said.

"People have family members dying all over the world because of this virus and can't say goodbye to them or attend their funerals, that's how serious this situation is," another wrote.

"The longer people do things like this the longer we can't do things like see our families and friends."

On Tuesday, Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult called for people to respect the lockdown.

"We've got a few people in the community who are just giving the middle finger to that," he told Newshub. "I'm sorry, that's not acceptable."

On Sunday, police announced the establishment of a new online form for the public to report breaches of lockdown protocol.