Government significantly increases fines for breaking COVID-19 rules

The Government has drastically increased the fines for breaching COVID-19 rules with the maximum you can now be fined at $12,000.

These changes will take effect in November, subject to the passing of the COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill. 

The maximum fine written up by a cop has increased more than tenfold from $300 to $4000. If your fine is imposed by a court, the maximum has increased from $4000 to $12,000.

The maximum fine for more serious breaches - deemed criminal offences - will be up to $12,000 as well. Companies can be fined up to $15,000. 

Locals Newshub spoke to at Maraetai Beach on Tuesday didn't seem to mind what appeared to be rule-breaking with an influx of visitors from the city. 

A couple of people admitted they weren't from the area, while another said he just "came to have some fresh air". 

"People need to get out," an elderly couple said. 

It's a stark contrast to the vitriolic response to recent rule-breaking. 

The most recent was a man stopped at the southern checkpoint at 2:40am on Monday night with a buddy hiding in the boot. 

Then there were the most infamous cases: the couple who winged their way to Wanaka from Auckland, and the man who allegedly escaped MIQ. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the rules need to be enforced. 

"We've always got to make sure that people understand the rules but also that they understand the consequences of breaking those rules," she said on Tuesday. "We need to make sure that the fines really do reflect the gravity of the situation."

So no more Mr Nice Government. If you can't comply, they're coming for your cash.

Wellingtonians Newshub spoke to seemed to love that.

"We do have to do it all together and they've gotta play their part," one man said, while a young woman said: "Do your part, stay at home."

This latest Delta lockdown, police have issued nearly 2500 fines in Auckland alone, the vast majority for failing to stay home, while 87 people have been charged for breaking lockdown rules with 91 charges among them. 

There's rule-breaking going on in level 2 as well. Police told Newshub one fine has been issued for failing to display a workplace QR code and they've written up nine people for not wearing masks.

Come November when these fines are officially hiked, that could cost you $4000.