Have your say: Should police get tougher on COVID-19 lockdown rulebreakers?

  • 19/08/2021

Every COVID-19 lockdown there is a small number of people who choose to break the Government's COVID-19 restrictions.

New Zealand was plunged back into alert level four on Tuesday night following the news of a new community coronavirus case.

But since then hundreds of people appeared to ignore official advice to stay at home and decided to try to escape Auckland.

"We went on to turn around 200 cars heading from Auckland towards Coromandel to holiday homes," Police commissioner Andrew Coster told The AM Show.

Other people unhappy with the alert level four restrictions set up unlawful anti-lockdown protests in Nelson, Tauranga and Auckland.

Four people were arrested at the 100-strong Auckland demonstration, including conspiracy theorists Billy Te Kahika and Vinny Eastwood who will appear in court on Thursday, each facing three charges.

"We gave plenty of opportunities for that crowd to disperse and when that did not occur we began arresting people," Coster said.

"We have a low tolerance for unlawful gatherings but particularly in the context of a Delta variant outbreak."

In Nelson and Tauranga groups of around 20 people gathered at each city's police stations. Four people were arrested at the Tauranga protest.

Coster told The AM Show he predicts more protests will occur.

"We suspect there will be things that happen here and there. It's important to recognise that's a very small group of people compared to what everyone else is doing - which is the right thing. We will deal with them as they come along."

But do you think police should get tougher on COVID-19 lockdown rulebreakers? Have your say here.

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