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Police de-escalating domestics

Recycling put on hold until post-Easter. PHOTO/FILE

Confirmed and probable cases of covid-19 had reached 514 by 9am on Sunday, with the first death as a result of contracting the coronavirus recorded on the West Coast.

The good news for Wairarapa was that its tally of cases has remained at five since last Thursday’s daily announcement.

A further 138 confirmed and eight probable cases were announced nationwide over the weekend.

By Sunday only nine people were hospitalised, and 56 had recovered from the virus.

Further details of Wairarapa people who have contracted the virus emerged at the weekend. All have been confirmed cases. Three involved international travel. That trio arrived back in the country from March 12 and March 20.


Incidents of family harm have not increased in the region since the covid-19 lockdown, Wairarapa Police Area Commander Scott Miller told the Times-Age on Sunday.

A TVNZ Q & A item on Sunday reported that there had been a spike in family harm incidents.

But Miller said, “In most cases, we have been talking to parents dealing with children during this tense time. All our domestic call outs are put together, but it isn’t just [disputes] between adults we are called in for.

“Things are pretty quiet, and we have found a quick visit to calm things down has been helping. We’ve found them fairly easy to deal with.”

Many of the disorder call outs in the community were to those with no connection to media or who rely on mental health support and were not coping in isolation.

“We engage, educate and advise and once these people have been spoken to, we are aware of them and monitor if they are complying with the lockdown rules,” he said.

“We can arrest people for breaking the rules once they know them, if we need to. We don’t want to, but we will.”

From previous experience, he knew that people dependent on mental health support would cope for a few days and then as their routine was increasingly disrupted, they would find it difficult to cope.

There had been an increase in mental health calls, he said.

The Times-Age spoke to a woman in Masterton last Thursday who had come from Featherston to go to the Pathways support office because she had waited for over an hour on the phone to talk to someone.

When she got to Masterton, she found the office was closed.

She was dependent on Pathways for approval for medication supplied by her doctor. She said it was very stressful to not know about the closure of Pathways and she didn’t know what to do.

Miller said, “When people can’t get through to their doctor or mental health agency that is where they can stop communicating altogether and then this can end up with us.”

Miller’s advice was to “take time out to sort it out” for domestic situations and mental health needs.

He urged the community to look after each other. It would take time for everyone to understand what being in lockdown for at least a month really meant for themselves and their family.

But his team was expecting disorder to increase as it had in other countries where people were still congregating, for example around supermarkets.

Detective Senior Sergeant, Barry Bysouth said, “New Zealand is now at alert level 4, everyone must stay at home.

“Make no mistake, police in Wairarapa will be keeping a close eye on activities around the area.

“We will be making sure you are all okay and keeping your distance from your neighbours.

“We want people to feel safe and be safe also and we can do this by making sure we stick to these rules.”

The Wairarapa police intend to brief the Times-Age regularly over the next few weeks.

105 is the number for police non-emergencies. 111 is the emergency number for Police, Fire and Ambulance. Go online to 105.police.govt.nz to report any situation that doesn’t require immediate police or emergency services attendance.

Rubbish and recycling

Changes have been made to rubbish and recycling for urban and rural residents throughout Wairarapa, by Masterton, Carterton and South Wairarapa district councils.

Kerbside rubbish collection will continue as normal, but recycling has been suspended until after Easter [April 10-13].

Transfer stations have also been closed to all but essential services whose representatives will need to show their driver’s licence.

The councils said for urban and rural residents, “Recycling collection will be suspended until after Easter while we ensure a safe protocol is in place for pick-up and processing – this includes Riversdale and Castlepoint.”

Those whose rubbish was collected by a private provider will need to check that services were still running.

Some rural residents may need to find a dry place to keep rubbish and recycling for the time being.

“While it may be inconvenient, stockpiling rubbish and recycling for now will help save lives by stopping the spread of the virus,” the council said.

“Still use the council rubbish bags as you will be able to drop off when the transfer station reopens fully.”

The council said, that now was the time, more than ever, to try and reduce and reuse wherever possible to minimise your stockpile.

Its tips included: washing all recycling to stop it getting smelly; starting a compost for food waste if you don’t have one; keeping non-compostable food waste in a high location where animals and children can’t get to it [it’s best not bury it, this will attract vermin if it contains bones etc], or another option was to put meat bones into a deep freeze if you have space, or put carcasses in a fire [but not other household rubbish like plastic].

More tips are available here: https://lovefoodhatewaste.co.nz/r…/non-avoidable-food-waste/

For Wairarapa updates on COVID-19, go to: https://www.facebook.com/COVID19Wairarapa/?ref=settings

Highway signage

New NZTA signs popped up on State Highway 2 on Friday to reinforce the seriousness of the covid-19 message for people to stay home if possible.

Essential services include trips to the supermarket and accessing medical services when required.

NZTA Regional Transport Systems Manager Mark Owen said, “It is important people in New Zealand stay at home to help stop the spread of covid-19. Our signs have been posted on state highways across the country to reinforce this message”.

A mobile bubble

Self-sufficient Timaru couple Pam and Tim O’Connor’s temporary home is on wheels at Henley Lake, which is around 680 kilometres from their Timaru home. Their two daughters told them to stop their ‘OE’ up the North Island and find a good place to pull up their campervan.

By midnight last Wednesday Pam, 63, and her husband Tim, 67, had to urgently establish their covid-19 bubble. O’Connor’s police office daughter said getting back to Henley Lake would make sense.

“We’d already stopped here, and it is fine to stay,” Pam said. “We have the hospital across the road. My husband’s immune system is no good so he must be isolated now but near medical help if we need it.”

The couple set off on their “overseas experience” across Cook Strait on March 1 but it has been a “yo-yo” experience. Before the lockdown they went back to Wellington to get their daughter’s dog Mack.

“My daughter is in the Wellington police and it’s full-on so we have her dog with us to keep us company, which is lovely.”

The O’Connors are parked at the lake for a month at least.

The main inconvenience is that they can’t find a dump station in Masterton and are having to drive to Carterton to empty out ablutions. But remaining upbeat Pam O’Connor said it was a good time for people to “reset” and “think about things”.

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