During the COVID-19 epidemic, all New Zealanders are subject to lawful travel restrictions designed to protect public health, and which are enforceable by the police. Those who blatantly flout the restrictions can be arrested. There is however one group which appears to be above the law, and community group Democracy Action is calling on the government to take immediate action against the illegal blockades on public roads.
Democracy Action spokesperson, Lee Short, said:
“This already worrying situation has taken an even more sinister turn when we see gang members becoming involved. For the police to allow ordinary people to be harassed and intimidated at illegitimate roadblocks by iwi, with gang members amongst them, is a significant and chilling step towards anarchy.”
“The passive and accepting Police position is untenable. They are failing miserably in their primary duty to uphold the law by not disbanding all unauthorized roadblocks. Instead, they have made weak and pathetic excuses for collaborating. Blatant intimidation on our roads is being effectively condoned by police.”
“I suspect that if any other self-appointed group of ’community activists’ blocked public roads, the police response would be very different. This inaction by the police in response to clear offences is atrocious enough to justify an official public inquiry” said Mr Short.