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Police Area Commander: Masterton letting the region down

Wairarapa Police Area Commander Scott Miller. PHOTO/FILE

Essential services under pressure

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“Go home and stay home because if you don’t, after we have educated you, we will arrest you,” frustrated Wairarapa Police Area Commander Scott Miller said on Tuesday.

Miller said Carterton and South Wairarapa were quiet, but many Masterton people were not complying with the rules.

“It is like a normal day here with far too many cars on the road,” he said.

“We are catching people driving to nowhere in particular and they are risking making people sick and are wasting police time.”

Grocery stores have been telling police of “repeat offender” customers coming in for one item then coming back on the same day, sometimes several times.

Miller said it was obvious that some drivers were heading off to see friends.

“We are watching people driving around and visiting people,” he said.

“One lady was ‘delivering a pie to a friend’. Others are going to ‘get a tiny bit of petrol’ a few times a day. This is not acceptable. This is breaking the rules.

“As far as I am concerned, the people who are driving around Masterton are risking this situation going on for longer.

“They are risking people’s jobs and the mental stability of others who are not coping in isolation.”

Just after 5pm on Tuesday, a motorcyclist was arrested for failing to stop for police.

Two people were seen riding a motorcycle without helmets on Michael St, Masterton at about 5.15pm.

The rider failed to stop when signalled to do so by police and fled.

The motorcycle came to a stop a short time later on Church St.

Charges are likely.

Police have also seen Facebook posts from people who have gone hunting and are bragging about it.

“This is totally wrong because anyone that gets hurt or lost brings a whole lot of essential service workers and rescue services out of their bubble to help them,” Miller said.

“This puts them all at risk and takes them off other work. It is not okay to go hunting or fishing.”

Miller reported that people were speeding more than usual, and said this was unhelpful because it was illegal, time consuming for police, and crashes brought already busy essential staff in.

“Essential services are under huge pressure and having to deal with so many people out on the streets is making it worse.”

The Pak’nSave, New World, and Countdown supermarket car parks were almost full on Tuesday afternoon at around 2pm, and a Times-Age reporter counted 18 cars travelling through the Bannister and Dixon St intersection in two minutes.

Meanwhile, Masterton fire station officer Garry Nielsen wants people “locked down” in their homes to be extra vigilant about fire safety so that staff and volunteers were not travelling to put out preventable fires.

Nielsen said the normal rules to not leave stovetop cooking unattended, or not having combustible material near heaters or fireplaces were particularly important during the national state of emergency.

He said fire service staff and volunteers needed to remain well and the less they went out for fire assistance jobs, the less they were risking their own personal health.

“Everyone is under stress and we are working hard to keep in our bubbles,” Nielsen said.

“Firefighters are operating in two bubbles, their own, and one at their fire station.

“It takes a lot of commitment to stay safe and protected from the virus.

“Our emergency services are vital at any time but during this pandemic we need to reduce the workload of our emergency service workers, especially volunteers and reduce their exposure to the virus.

“However, we will always aim to be there when we are needed.”

But Nielsen said the fire service did not want to be called out and into other people’s bubbles if they were having illegal burn-ups in their backyard.


  1. From day one of Lockdown Bannister St has become a main highway. It has never been so busy since I moved here a few a month ago. As well as that very high speeds are occuring. It’s only a matter of time before someone gets hurt. Also who is ridding their scooter around every night at 2am?

  2. People who think this lockdown is a joke are idiots. Because of your stupidity we are facing a longer lockdown. I am high risk for health reason so i am not about to go out & get close to anyone. I would like to go to the supermarket and know people will keep their distance but sadly this is not the case. Wake up NZers!!! We need to start bringing the numbers down not being aholes and carrying on as if it don’t matter because it does.

  3. If this photo was taken on Tuesday people, think about it, most or all of those people would have just been paid and going to get there groceries for the week, so before people start criticising stop and think for a minute, we all have to go get our groceries at some stage and alot of people get paid either Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday and at least they are not standing together, they are at 2metres or more apart, so come on people, we know that there are some that don’t care, but over 90% of us do and the police in this town know who those people are that are flouting the rules of lockdown all the time. Stay safe everyone and just do what we need to to get though this. Amen

  4. The police have the power to enforce the lock down, if people are out and about it is up to the NZ Police to do something about it.

    Actions speak Louder than words MAN UP NZ POLICE.

  5. People need to consider, it’s not just the officer/ fireman/emt your putting at risk, it’s their families also.

    Also think of the financial aspect, how long can the govt & employers carry on paying people for not being at work if the lockdown carries on?
    I for one would love to get back to my job, my employer is currently paying me 80% of my wages, if they can no longer afford to do that I’m sunk.


  6. Tuesday was payment of super and gold card day at 2 supermarkets I got my groceries then and I am sure many others did as well so there was more vehicles that day.

  7. Bring in the military. It’s the same in Upper Hutt. I had to go to hospital, in trying to keep it to one trip i did grocery shopping on the way home. There was a queue of people waiting to get it and when i left, there were so many cars on the road I had to wait for approximately 3 minutes to exit the car park.

  8. Really? Let’s get on with creating an anti-virus or build immunity.. we won’t do that sitting at home or nagging as you get paid to do your job.

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