Ex­iled from Main St

North­land po­lice went about in­form­ing vis­i­tors of the na­tion­wide lock­down yes­ter­day while there was an eerie quiet around our streets as peo­ple largely did the right thing and stayed at home, Kristin Edge re­ports.

The Northern Advocate - - Front Page -

Po­lice across North­land have been pa­trolling streets and scour­ing beaches to ed­u­cate peo­ple about the lock­down rules, with tourists and free­dom cam­pers be­ing di­rected to spe­cific lo­ca­tions in Whanga¯rei.

At least one group of free­dom cam­pers, who set up camp overnight at pop­u­lar Welling­ton’s Bay on the Tu­tukaka Coast, were vis­ited by po­lice of­fi­cers on day one of lock­down about 10.30am yes­ter­day.

It’s be­lieved the for­eign­ers, trav­el­ling in four vans, had been in New Zealand for a while and were from the Nether­lands, Is­rael and Germany.

Of­fi­cers took their de­tails and di­rected them to one of five sites in Whanga¯rei where they would be given in­struc­tions on what to do for the rest of the lock­down pe­riod. North­land Po­lice Dis­trict Com­man­der Su­per­in­ten­dent Tony Hill said po­lice staff across the re­gion yes­ter­day were stop­ping and talk­ing to mo­torists and tourists about why they were out and about.

“We are go­ing about speak­ing to vis­i­tors to North­land and we want them to come to a cen­tral lo­ca­tion in Whanga¯rei. This is about pro­tect­ing our vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ties and giv­ing these vis­i­tors the sup­port they also need.” There were two check­points set up dur­ing the day — one just south of Whanga¯rei and then in the af­ter­noon on Western Hills Dr, also in Whanga¯rei. “On the whole, there has been good com­pli­ance with most peo­ple hav­ing valid rea­sons but we were get­ting some peo­ple who were con­fused

about the de­tails,” Hill said.

“We have the power to com­pel peo­ple to do things but we would rather peo­ple clearly un­der­stood what is re­quired of them. I gen­uinely be­lieve most North­landers are do­ing the right thing.”

About mid­day in Kaikohe there were re­ports of a car­load of peo­ple turn­ing up with boxes of beers for a party. Po­lice were called and “ed­u­ca­tion” was given to the peo­ple at the prop­erty and they then dis­persed.

And in Whanga¯rei po­lice were called to a su­per­mar­ket af­ter a re­port of a man be­com­ing ag­gres­sive to­wards se­cu­rity staff.

Hill re­it­er­ated the clear mes­sage sent out by Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Mike Bush that New Zealan­ders should only go out in their cars to get es­sen­tial sup­plies and should not think about driv­ing to the beach.

“We are con­scious peo­ple would like to use the beaches and fa­cil­i­ties we use all the time in North­land. But stay home, save lives. Once this passes the beaches will still be there for us to use,” Hill said.

In a na­tional state­ment yes­ter­day Bush said if peo­ple breached the re­quire­ments, they will be warned and their de­tails taken.

“If peo­ple won’t comply, we do have the au­thor­ity to de­tain them, take them to our place,” and give them time to con­tem­plate their de­ci­sions.

Peo­ple would be pros­e­cuted for “se­ri­ous” breaches.

Bush made it clear peo­ple driv­ing to a park had to “keep it lo­cal” and should not be driv­ing “willy nilly” all over town. “You only go out in your ve­hi­cle if you need to go and get es­sen­tial food sup­plies, es­sen­tial med­i­cal sup­plies or med­i­cal treat­ment. Oth­er­wise, please stay at home,” Bush said.

Yes­ter­day online surf re­port com­pany Sur­f2Surf an­nounced po­lice and the Coast­guard would be us­ing its we­b­cams to check line­ups and carparks for rule-break­ers.

In North­land there are two cam­eras at Man­gawhai and one with mul­ti­ple an­gles at Sandy Bay.

Har­bour­mas­ter Jim Lyle urged ev­ery­one to fol­low the ad­vice of Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Bush and

Coast­guard to not ven­ture out on the wa­ter. At 10am Lyle re­ported the boat ramp at Opua was empty of ve­hi­cles with boat trail­ers.

He doubted if boat­ies ig­nored the lock­down and got into trou­ble and sank that a team would be able to re­spond.

“I doubt we would have con­trac­tors we could mo­bilise for a sal­vage op­er­a­tion. Pol­lu­tion, de­bris and en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lems would be su­per­seded by the Covid-19 health is­sue, ” Lyle said.

“It could all be avoided by just staying home un­til this health is­sue is over.”

Mean­while, po­lice were yes­ter­day called out to re­ports of a cou­ple hav­ing sex in a ve­hi­cle parked on the side of a Whanga¯rei street. The ini­tial call re­ported a fe­male and male kiss­ing at 9.10am.

Twenty min­utes later the amorous duo had moved to an­other ve­hi­cle on the same street and were re­ported to have stepped things up.

The caller was wor­ried they were not abid­ing by so­cial dis­tanc­ing rules.

We are con­scious peo­ple would like to use the beaches and fa­cil­i­ties we use all the time in North­land. But stay home, save lives.

North­land Po­lice Dis­trict Com­man­der Su­per­in­ten­dent Tony Hill

Photo / Mike Dins­dale

Bank Street, Whangārei

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