Police issue warning over Auckland church gathering in lockdown

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Police have issued a warning over a group of people attending a church service at a house in Māngere East in breach of level 3 lockdown rules.

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A man was issued with a written warning over the gathering on Sunday. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

They said they received calls about the gathering on Sunday which involved a number of people who did not live there.

A man at the house was spoken to about the risks to the public if alert level rules were not followed.

He was issued a written warning.

The breach happened the day after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced alert level changes. At the briefing at 9pm on Saturday, Ardern announced Auckland would go into level 3 from 6am on Sunday.

The government has faced criticism that its Covid-19 messaging has been hard to grasp and simply not getting through in one of Aotearoa’s most multicultural centres.

Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield told RNZ the ministry supplemented its regular media updates with use of various social media platforms and worked with community figures and online influencers to get their message across.

Meanwhile police said motorists had been mainly complying with level 3 restrictions on travel into and out of the Auckland region.

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From 6am on Sunday to 3.30pm on Monday 38,997 vehicles were stopped and 583 vehicles were turned away.

They say delays at the checkpoints had been minimal since Monday.

This is an official government Covid-19 announcement:

On 28 February, the Auckland region moved to Covid-19 Alert Level 3. The rest of New Zealand moved to Alert Level 2. This is for a period of seven days. Further community cases of Covid-19 have been identified in the Auckland Region. If you are in Auckland, stay home where possible, and follow Alert Level 3 guidelines. This will stop the transmission of Covid-19 and save lives. For more information on the alert levels go to covid19.govt.nz.

RNZ is the statutory Lifeline Utility responsible for radio broadcasting under the Emergency Management Act 2002 and it has a memorandum of understanding with Government which has been activated to help deal with potential health issues related to the pandemic. RNZ’s Lifeline Utility obligations do not affect our editorial independence as a public media organisation or the rigour of our news gathering and reporting operations.

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As New Zealand’s Lifeline Utility radio broadcaster, RNZ is required to maintain essential public information channels and news during times of national emergency and we are committed to supporting all New Zealanders. We are also committed to looking after the health and well-being of our staff.

RNZ will continue to provide essential information services – broadcasting and publishing critical public service announcements on air, on our website and via social media channels. Comprehensive news will be available on air and via our website and digital services.

If necessary RNZ Concert and RNZ Pacific will carry news and information from RNZ National. Parliament will continue to be broadcast on the AM network when the House is sitting. As the country’s public service media organisation, RNZ is committed to supporting all New Zealanders.

Kia Kaha – Stay Strong

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