Auckland traffic: Man arrested after 'reckless behaviour' closes motorway lanes

The 57-year-old man whose 'reckless' stunt has enraged mental health campaigners and police will appear in court on Thursday charged with endangering transport and offensive behaviour.

Lawyer David Jaques is accused of putting on a safety harness on Monday morning before suspending himself below the East Tāmaki overbridge, in a publicity stunt to raise awareness for suicide prevention.

"It was a sheer act of stupidity. It was callous, it wasn't thought out and it was uncaring," said I Am Hope Founder Mike King.

The incident forced emergency services to close all northbound lanes between Cavendish Dr and East Tamaki Rd.
The incident forced emergency services to close all northbound lanes between Cavendish Dr and East Tamaki Rd. Photo credit: Newshub

The 57-year-old allegedly threw leaflets at speeding cars before emergency services arrived on the scene. Two northbound lanes had to be closed.

"This was a significant and unnecessary incident that in no doubt will have impacted many people over the disturbing sight," Inspector Danny Meade said.

"It is also incredibly lucky this man's reckless actions did not cause injury to himself, or any other road users."

King told Newshub "suicide prevention has no room for stunts, particularly one that endangers lives and triggers family members who have lost loved ones to suicide".

Mental Health Foundation CEO Shaun Robinson said the man's use of alleged 'shock tactics' were unhelpful.

"There are also thousands of people struggling at any one point in time, and sadly thousands who are bereaved due to suicide and to do it in a way that is triggering to people is dangerous, and counterproductive to suicide prevention."

Police say the 57-year-old has been charged in relation to offensive behaviour and endangering transport. He will appear in the Manukau District Court on Thursday.

"This person may be quite well-meaning in terms of preventing suicide but there's a lot to learn about how to prevent suicide and clearly this is not the right way," Robinson said.

Robinson said the way to address suicide prevention is to "focus on telling stories of hope, stories of the many thousands of people who are being supported through tough times and come out the other side to live rich and wonderful lives".

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