Thursday, December 9

Anti-blockade protests are ‘disappointing’: Police Commissioner Andrew Coster


Police came out again today enforcing the Level 4 lockdown rules concentrating on dealing with any illegal gatherings, ensuring all travel is essential, and providing security for patrols in places like supermarkets.

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Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said that currently 40 percent of police officers are vaccinated, but they will seek to increase that rate.
Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Yesterday there were eight arrests in anti-lockdown protests and drivers across the country were screened to ensure trips were for essential purposes only.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said the Delta variant is different and needs a firmer approach because any meeting is problematic.

He said that so far the police are pleased with people’s compliance with the rules.

“Alright, we’re very happy with the way things are going, you know it always takes a couple of days to adjust to the rhythm of this, but the vast majority of people have been doing exactly the right thing, so I’m very happy.” .

Coster said yesterday’s anti-lockdown protests were disappointing and that while police respect people’s right to protest, now is not the time to come together.

He said they hope there will be more protests and that the police will take a similar approach to yesterday when the arrests were made.

“You know that people have the right to express their views, but we really just have to get down to business and get through this, and the more we do, the shorter this lockdown is likely to be.”

Coster said that about 40 percent of law enforcement personnel are vaccinated, but they would like it to be 100 percent.

“They are clearly protecting our communities and obviously their level of risk is higher as a result of doing that.

“Everyone is wearing protective gear, but we are working as hard as we can to accelerate that vaccination rate that depends on the ability to access and do the vaccines.”

Coster said the police’s internal vaccination program starts again tomorrow and it looks like they should be able to speed up the vaccination rate.

He said police will focus on any meeting today to make sure it is dealt with quickly, ensure that any movement on the roads is for essential purposes only, and then reassure patrols in areas like supermarkets.

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This is an official COVID-19 ALERT.

All New Zealand You are now at Covid-19 Alert Level 4.

The alert level will be reviewed after 3 days for all areas EXCEPT Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula, which will likely remain at level 4 for an initial period of 7 days.

A community case of Covid-19 has been identified.

Stay at home whenever possible and follow level 4 alert guidelines. This will stop the spread of COVID-19 and SAVE LIVES.

All are asked to:

Wear a mask and keep a distance of 2 meters from others when you leave your house.

If you are sick, call your doctor or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on getting tested.

Keep scanning QR codes every time you leave your home.

Practice good hygiene: wash your hands often.

Services that include supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics and gas stations will remain open at alert level 4. Face covers are mandatory for all people, both employees and customers, in companies and services that operate at alert level 4 that involve contact with the client.

For more information on Alert Level 4, go to [the government website www.covid19.govt.nz]

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