Category : News
Author: Debbie Jamieson

Police have arrested and charged a man who allegedly travelled from Auckland to Wānaka in breach of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

The 36-year-old allegedly left Auckland, which is in Covid-19 alert level 3, and travelled to Wellington on October 8. He allegedly travelled to Wānaka on October 12, a police spokesperson said.

He has been charged with failing to comply with a Covid-19 order and is due to appear in the Queenstown District Court on October 18.

It is understood the man returned a negative Covid-19 test before leaving Auckland.

The arrest follows an investigation into a man who travelled to Queenstown from Whangārei on the weekend.

No charges have been laid at this stage, police said.

The Queenstown Lakes region has attracted a growing list of travellers breaching lockdown restrictions, prompting police to remind people they need an exemption to travel outside a Covid-19 alert level 3 area.

“Police will not hesitate to take enforcement action against those who are deliberately breaching lockdown restrictions,” they said.

Other similar cases include William John Lawrence Willis, 35, and Hannah Rawnsley, 26, who are charged with breaching the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act by crossing the Auckland border unlawfully, using essential worker exemptions, on September 9.

William Willis at the Norwood Cup in 2017.

They then are alleged to have driven to Hamilton Airport, where they took a commercial flight to Queenstown, via Wellington, rented a vehicle and drove to a holiday home in Wānaka.

After it became public they initially sought name suppression but later apologised for their “completely irresponsible and inexcusable” actions.

Jade Lake managing director Min (Homy) Yang has denied breaching lockdown conditions and travelling from Auckland to Queenstown.

On Monday, high-profile Queenstown developer Min Yang, 41, denied breaching lockdown conditions to travel to the resort town from Auckland on September 2.

Yang, also known as Homy Yang, is the managing director of a 120-unit high-end development under construction in the suburb of Fernhill.

Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult has used the incursions as a rallying call for the district to get vaccinated.

It already has some of the highest vaccination rates in New Zealand with 63 per cent fully vaccinated and 93 per cent having had at least one dose, as of Wednesday.

Boult wants the district to hit 95 per cent double-jabbed.

Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult wants as many people as possible vaccinated before Aucklanders and international visitors return to the town.

The district relied significantly on visitors and the tourism and hospitality industry, he said.

Being vaccinated would protect the community’s livelihoods as well as their health and wellbeing when visitors return in 2022, he said.

Queenstown police took action against 59 people for breaking Covid-19 regulations during the three weeks the area was in Covid-19 alert level 3 and 4 lockdown, according to figures released to the Mountain Scene.

Six people face criminal charges, while six formal warnings and one verbal warning were given, and 47 infringement notices were issued.

Other high profile breaches in the district included seven men who allegedly went jetboating in Wānaka.

Dunedin man Martin Karl Nolan was the first of the group to appear in court.

He admitted a charge of failing to comply with a Covid-19 order in the Queenstown District Court on Monday and was sentenced to 60 hours of community work.


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