COVID-19: Waitākere councillor frustrated by surfers breaking lockdown rules

Frustration is mounting as surfers in Auckland flock to West Coast beaches, despite the COVID-19 alert level 4 lockdown.

Waitākere ward councillor Linda Cooper told The AM Show while she understands the temptation surfers are facing, it's not worth it.

"We all think nothing will ever happen to us, don't we..but things could happen and you could risk infecting our first responders and those people are really precious."

Under COVID-19 alert level 4, water-based activities such as boating, surfing, and swimming are prohibited as they put people at risk of contact with others.

The danger is surfers or boaties could come into trouble and need rescuing - thus increasing the chances of Delta spreading in the community.

But the risk isn't stopping everyone - in the Wellington region, police have set up checkpoints by the Rimutaka Ranges to catch surfers heading over the hill to the Wairarapa.

Sergeant Ian Osland told Stuff police set up “spontaneous checkpoints” at the southern entrance to Wairarapa during alert level 4 lockdown, and the surfers were travelling between regions.

“We’ve had people coming to the Wairarapa with reasons that don’t fit with the [alert level 4] criteria, so we have been turning motorists away and returning them back over the hill.”

Since Alert Level 4 came into place, 44 people have been charged with a total of 48 offences nationwide as of 5pm Tuesday.

In the same time period, 108 formal warnings were issued and 507 infringement notices were issued to people for COVID-19 related breaches.