Covid-19: Aucklander who fled level 4 lockdown to Whakatāne may face prosecution

Christel Yardley/StuffThe person is understood to have visited a number of retail premises in Whakatāne.An Aucklander who fled the city’s level 4 lockdown to go to Whakatāne this week may face prosecution. Police have confirmed they located the Aucklander overnight on Monday and the person was taken into custody. Senior Sergeant Al Fenwick told the Whakatāne Beacon he was unable to make any further comments on the specifics of the person’s visit – such as whether they were alone, why they were there, and where they had been – because the matter was under investigation and police might prosecute.STUFFPrime Minister Jacinda Ardern comments on the Auckland couple who flouted Covid-19 lockdown rules and flew to Wanaka from Auckland. In response to questions police media said the person in question spoke to staff at the border checkpoint and were allowed to continue their travel due to concerns for their safety. The Beacon understands the person visited a number of retail premises and contacted the Whakatāne Work and Income office. READ MORE:* Covid-19: Confusion reigns over rules as whitebaiters hit rivers in lockdown* MSD figures reveal $631m paid in benefits across Bay of Plenty last year * ‘Day of reckoning’ for father-son mobsters Frank and Slobodan Milosevic Ministry of Social Development regional commissioner Mike Bryant said the ministry could confirm a client from Auckland made contact with Work and Income, and said they had travelled to Whakatāne. “As a result of the client contacting us we got in touch with police and encouraged the client to visit the local police station,” he said. Bryant said the client did not visit the Pyne St service centre. Police are following instructions from the Ministry of Health and the person has undergone Covid-19 testing. They will be transported back to Auckland in due course.WHAKATANE BEACONSenior Sergeant Al Fenwick, of Whakatāne police, said the breach was disappointing. Fenwick said it was disappointing these people would blatantly break the rules. “Every one of these people who do this are putting our community at risk. It is very selfish, people just need to do the right thing,” he said. “Even if they don’t have Covid it presents as an opportunity for it to come into our community and that is the last thing we want.” Anyone who knows of people from the Auckland region that have come to the eastern Bay of Plenty are asked to report them directly to police via 105 or call the Whakatāne station. – Whakatāne Beacon

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