April 28, 2020
Checkpoint foils fishy getaway
The organiser of Ngati Hine’s community checkpoints says a lot of people seem to think the drop to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 is a chance to burst their bubble and go roaming.
Pita Tipene says in its first two days the checkpoint has turned back a lot of people who had no legitimate reason for travelling past Whangarei.
While essential workers were waved through, there were people from Auckland and beyond who said they were heading for the Bay of Island to fish, or to sightsee as far as Cape Reinga.
"While the whole country is trying to be collectively disciplined, we've still got a whole lot of people who still think they can go and do whatever they like. Unfortunately for them, they got turned around because this kaupapa is about keeping our community's health and well being together and safe," he says.
Pita Tipene says while some people objected to being stopped by Māori people on a public road, most people appreciated the efforts being made to protect the community.
Meanwhile, Ngāti Hine member David Seymour is calling on police to start tackling unlawful COVID-19 checkpoints.
The ACT Party leader says iwi leaders across the country are taking the law into their own hands by setting up so-called community checkpoints.
He says he has heard numerous stories about members of the public being stopped and detained, including a 70-year-old man in the Bay of Plenty couldn't get past a checkpoint to buy milk.
Mr Seymour says if there is a need for checkpoints, they should be operated by police.
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