Coronavirus: Grant Robertson fires warning at Kiwis after reports of house parties

"Don't be an idiot" is Grant Robertson's warning to New Zealand, following reports that some Kiwis have been throwing parties at their houses despite strict COVID-19 restrictions banning them from doing so.

The Finance Minister, who was standing in for the Prime Minister during the coronavirus briefing on Friday, said there have been 325 reports of mass gatherings since alert level 3 began at 11:59pm on Monday.

While these reports are being followed up, Robertson was eager to remind Kiwis before the weekend got underway that even though we're now out of lockdown, such gatherings are still not allowed.

"I have two clear messages for anyone considering [attending a house party]," he told media from the Beehive Theatrette on Friday.

"First, cancel your plans now. Secondly, be aware that the police will be particularly taking a dim view of this activity as part of their level 3 enforcement activity this weekend."

Robertson says the virus has already "proven it will spread easily at events like this", and warned they could slow New Zealand deescalating its COVID-19 response to alert level 2 if they go ahead.

"Any uptick in cases as a result of parties will mean that we have to stay in level 3 longer," he said. "So please, don't be an idiot. Stick to your bubble and everyone will be better off.

"It is paramount that we do not lose our hard-won health gains as we move to reboot our economy."

Earlier, Robertson revealed that there had been 2818 breaches at alert level 3, resulting in 77 prosecutions, 180 warnings and 24 youth referrals.

A total of 2101 reports from members of the public have been received since we came out of lockdown; 991 of those about businesses, 785 about individuals, and 325 about mass gatherings.

"I want to make clear that most New Zealanders are indeed doing the right thing and this is actually reflected in those calling out those who are doing the wrong thing," Robertson said.

There have also been 2064 police assurance patrols and 2790 crime prevention patrols in neighbourhoods and business districts over the last two days.

Robertson said the increases in these numbers are an indication that police are stepping up their enforcement response, and this will continue over the weekend.

Earlier on Friday, the Director of Public Health revealed there were three new cases and no new deaths from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.

This brings New Zealand's total cases to 1479, while the total number of deaths remains at 19.