Nearly 300 people have been caught breaking the rules since lockdown began - most of whom have been sent home with a warning.

However, police told the Herald they have taken action against 16 people who are now facing prosecution for not adhering to the lockdown rules implemented to try slow the spread of Covid-19.

Police have also told the Herald that Health Minister David Clark is not among the 291 breaches recorded under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act and the Health Act and has not received a police warning.

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Of the 291 breaches recorded by police, 263 have been warned and 12 have received a youth referral.

Clark was first caught flouting the rules when he drove a van, plastered with his image and name, to a mountain bike track near Dunedin.

Herald cartoonist Rod Emmerson's view on David Clark's blunder.
Herald cartoonist Rod Emmerson's view on David Clark's blunder.

Then today it was revealed he also drove his family 20km to a beach during the first weekend of the lockdown to go for a walk.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Clark would normally be sacked for such an offence but instead moved him to the bottom of the Cabinet rankings and stripped him of his Associate Finance portfolio.

He will remain the Health Minister - for now.

Police told the Herald they did not have a reason to speak to Clark on either matter.

"We understand the minister has already been spoken to about his actions and has apologised."

The police spokeswoman also said police continue to take an "education and encouragement" approach to the enforcement of the level 4 restrictions.

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Yesterday, Auckland-based Senior Constable Jamie Dormer said the Police Maritime Unit was patrolling the water to ensure people were complying with the rules.

"The majority of people have been complying over the last few days, and police are overall pleased with the response from the boating community, particularly the trailer boat community," he said.

"However, there have been a small number of instances where people have been found swimming, paddle boarding, fishing or kayaking when they should not be and that is disappointing."

In some instances warnings were issued and in one case police say a paddleboarder will receive an infringement notice from the Auckland Harbourmaster for fishing off a buoy.

According to police this not only breached the lockdown but also the Harbourmaster's rules which required wearing a lifejacket and prohibited climbing on a navigational aid.

"The Police Maritime Unit want to remind people to stay off the water, stay home and stay safe," Dormer said.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website