Coronavirus: Dunedin councillor Lee Vandervis issued trespass notice for attending council meeting without COVID-19 vaccine pass

A Dunedin City Councilor was issued a trespass notice for trying to attend a council meeting without a COVID-19 vaccine pass.

Councillor Lee Vandervis was declined entry to Tuesday's first full meeting under Orange of the new traffic light system as he did not have proof of vaccination.  

This saw the meeting delayed but later resumed in a new location inside Civic Centre. 

"He was asked to leave, but declined, and as a result has been issued with a trespass notice served by police," Dunedin City Council (DCC) says. 

Police confirmed there was a trespass incident  at around 2:10pm in the Octagon on Tuesday.

Under the COVID Protection Framework, the DCC has mandated elected members are required to show their vaccine passes to attend meetings in person.

For those councillors who cannot show proof of vaccination, they're able to attend the meetings by Zoom. 

"The decision to issue the trespass notice has not been taken lightly, but the DCC has a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act to protect its staff, the wider public and elected members," DCC chief executive Sandy Graham says.

Councillor Vandervis is a critic of vaccine mandates and argued the council's policy about vaccine passes is impeding his ability to carry out his role as an elected official.

''Any attempt to restrict me, based on vaccination status, is illegal,'' Vandervis said according to the Otago Daily Times.