Eight people with gang links spent last night in police cells after they were busted breaking level 3 Covid-19 restrictions at a house party in Christchurch.
Police were alerted to the party in Kowhai Tce, St Martins, by a member of the public mid-evening.
The party was booming when officers arrived, Senior Sergeant Paul Robertson told Mediaworks.
"Staff have gone in and found people there that were breaching the restrictions. From the staff who have turned up, it was pretty obvious that some people there did have gang links."
Gatherings of people not living in the same bubble - generally a household - were banned during the almost five weeks the country spent in the level 4 lockdown.
Those rules were eased slightly under alert level 3, which began on Tuesday, but only allowed people to extend their bubbles to support, or get support, for the vulnerable or isolated, or to see close family members.
Those arrested spent the night in custody before being bailed this morning. It's not clear when they'll appear in court.
Police went to "several small gatherings or parties" around Christchurch last night, and would follow up on those they weren't able to get to, Robertson told Mediaworks.
The parties came hours after Finance Minister Grant Robertson told Kiwis planning or planning to attend any bubble-breaking parties to "cancel your plans now".
He warned that police would be "particularly taking a dim view" of parties as part of their level 3 enforcement efforts.
The plea to not undo all of the nation's hard work came as Robertson yesterday revealed a steep increase in breaches of alert level 3 restrictions.
There had been 281 breaches overall since level 3 began on Tuesday, with an increase of 96 in the 24 hours to yesterday afternoon.
Of those, 77 had been prosecuted, including 31 in those last 24 hours.
There were a further 180 warnings and 24 youth referrals between Tuesday and Friday afternoon.