Auckland couple who flouted lockdown rules to escape to holiday home seek name suppression

The lawyer for an Auckland man and his partner who police say could be charged for flouting alert level 4 lockdown rules to fly to Wanaka, says she will be seeking name suppression for her clients. 

Police say the pair, a 35 year old man and a 26 year old woman used their essential worker exemption to get through Auckland’s southern boundary at Mercer on Thursday.

They drove to Hamilton, boarded a commercial flight and travelled to Queenstown via Wellington.  Police say once there they rented a vehicle and drove to Wanaka where the man’s family has a holiday home.

The 35 year old man’s mother is a high profile public official in Auckland.

Rachael Reed QC says her clients will not be making any comment. 

On Saturday police say they were notified of an “unacceptable flouting of the level 4 rules” and located the pair who “indicated they would return to their usual place of residence.”

Locals in the Queenstown Lakes District are furious. 

Stephen McGregor, from Clyde told Newshub, “We’ve been COVID free for so long for someone to do this and jeopardise the income of thousands of people is just disgusting". 

Police are now considering charges under the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020. 

Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult says he’s “horrified and surprised that anybody could be that selfish”.

He says there’ve been a few instances of people doing this and “I cannot understand it, I totally support police throwing the book at these people". 

The pair has now left Wanaka, and returned to Auckland where police say they’re considering charges for breaching the Health order.