A frustrated Clover Park resident says locals continually breach the lockdown, but police fail to enforce alert level 3 restrictions after multiple complaints.
Craig Bridewell said the violations include residents who have parties with friends and people who do not wear masks in public while hanging out with friends.
“I have called the police at 105 twice regarding this, but their only response was to email them,” he said.
“This happens every day. I have seen police officers pass through a park with 20-30 kids playing basketball and they keep driving. While my next door neighbor has friends all the time to party, it is very frustrating.
“It’s totally out of control.”
Clover Park is one of the suburbs of interest, which also includes Henderson, Papakura, Clover Park, Māngere, Favona, Manurewa, Mount Wellington / Sylvia Park, and Red Beach. Hotspots where there are known clusters and unlinked cases.
Local Democracy Reporting caught up with Bridewell at a local basketball court at the Manukau Sports Bowl on Tuesday, where a group of 10 young men, without masks, were playing basketball.
They claimed to be from the same bubble, but Bridewell said it was a sign of continued local violations.
“If the lockdown were respected, we would not be in this situation,” Bridewell said.
Auckland Manukau District Councilor and former police officer Alf Filipaina agreed that some are breaking the rules.
“You can talk until you’re sad, but the message just doesn’t get through,” he said. “But what happens if you infect one of your family members and you end up in the ICU?”
Filipaina said the alert level restrictions have been based on public goodwill and police cannot be expected to be everywhere at all times to enforce the shutdown.
Manukau County Police Inspector Scott Gemmell said that since Alert Level 3 went into effect, he has received a total of 2,531,105 non-compliance notifications online for people in Tāmaki Makaurau and parts of Waikato.
He said police do their best to respond and educate and enforce the rules proactively, but said there are limits to what officers can respond to.
“We depend on our community to do the right thing and follow the rules.”
The South Auckland suburb made headlines last month after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern asked all Clover Park residents to get tested for Covid-19, symptomatic or not.
Ardern said Clover Park was not a large geographic area, but where enough cases had been reported to encourage officials to take action.
Local Democracy Reporting is a public interest news service supported by RNZ, the Association of News Publishers, and NZ On Air.