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The Police Minister can't say whether the officers who arrested Auckland's MIQ escapee were fully vaccinated.
A Covid-positive man left an Ellerslie quarantine facility in Auckland around 1am yesterday morning.
He was arrested early afternoon - and charged with failing to comply with the Covid-19 health order. Three police officers in full PPE gear recaptured the man and loaded him into a van.
Police Minister Poto Williams said 68 per cent of sworn police staff have had one jab - with 44 per cent fully vaccinated.
However she is unable to speak about specific officers.
Asked by Newstalk ZB's John MacDonald if she could go and get that information, Williams sighed, and suggested he put in an OIA.
The OIA is an Official Information Act request to government agencies - which must be responded to within 20 working days.
Northland enjoys its threedom
The Government is facing heat over the two latest major lockdown breaches - an escape from managed isolation and a third student who flew out of Auckland without a travel exemption.
All this comes as Northland woke up this morning to its first day in alert level 3 lockdown leaving Auckland the only region to remain in level 4.
With case numbers continuing to fluctuate some academics believe Auckland could be in for an extension to the level 4 lockdown beyond the September 14 date the Prime Minister had given so far.
With 720 community cases in Auckland, 42 of those in hospital including six in intensive care, the city's residents will be keenly awaiting today's 1pm announcement to see if case numbers will drop for a second day in a row.
But concerns about further spread have been raised among the community after police yesterday afternoon revealed they were about to arrest a Covid-positive person in Otahuhu who had escaped managed isolation in Ellerslie.
Superintendent Steve Kehoe said police were alerted to the escape about 10.30am yesterday morning.
This morning, Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson told media Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was informed of the escape on her way to yesterday's 1pm press conference, while it was still a live police operation.
She had "the sketchiest of details" and would have been "irresponsible" to share them at that point, he said.
STORY CONTINUES AFTER LIVE BLOG
He said the case of the MIQ escapee was "clearly not an acceptable situation" but was deemed relatively low risk because he had gone out into a level 4 community where everyone should have been wearing masks and staying at home.
The escapee went "pretty much straight to his residence" from the MIQ facility, but they were still working on exactly where he had been, Robertson said.
Asked why people were not kept in their rooms, Robertson stood by MIQ staff saying it was "not prison...this is a managed isolation facility".
The facilities were doing a good job and no system was perfect, Robertson said.
There had been 16 absconders from MIQ in New Zealand - around 1 in 10,000. This was the first case since July 2020.
The man's family informed police he had left the Novotel in Ellerslie when they realised he was missing about 10.30am, Robertson said. Police had been called earlier in the day when the same man left his Otahuhu home after getting a positive Covid test result.
Speaking to TVNZ, the mother of the 23-year-old escapee apologised for his actions which put others in the community at risk.
She, her two teenage daughters, her sister and her nephew had all been in managed isolation at Holiday Inn since Monday after testing positive.
The woman's three sons tested positive on Wednesday morning and were taken to the Novotel Ellerslie MIQ facility that evening.
The family realised he had escaped after the woman called her youngest son, who was in a room with the 23-year-old, to see how they were doing.
Her youngest son informed reception while the woman rang her husband who found the 23-year-old asleep in their sleepout.
"It's hard for us parents to speak up and report our own son. We want to protect him but when we think about the community, that's what makes us change our mind," she told TVNZ.
She said her son ran and walked from Ellerslie to Ōtāhuhu in the middle of the night because he missed home.
He was charged and appeared in Auckland District Court via audio visual link yesterday and his parents were deeply worried about his well-being.
He has been moved to the Jet Park MIQ facility.
Joint Head of MIQ Brigadier Rose King said CCTV footage showed the man leaving his room three times between 11.40pm on Wednesday and 1.04am on Thursday.
The last time he left he went down the fire stairs and hid in bushes near the outer fence as security passed by. He left at 1.07am.
ACT Leader David Seymour told Newshub's The AM Show it seemed hard to believe the situation had gone on for two hours without the Government knowing.
"I don't know what's worse, if she didn't know or she didn't tell."
Withholding information had been a theme of the Government's Covid response, he said, citing vague vaccination numbers and the number of times the virus had been transmitted between households.
Police have also confirmed this morning that a third student was being spoken to after she managed to slip out of Auckland without an exemption on a flight to Wellington on Wednesday morning - before security was beefed up following the previous cases.
Senior Sergeant Jason McCarthy, officer in charge of Wellington Youth and community, said police were made aware of the second trip on Wednesday, the first day of alert level 3 restrictions south of Auckland.
"Police were made aware on 1 September that a person without an exemption had flown from Auckland to Wellington.
"We will be undertaking an assessment as to what enforcement action may be taken."
A fellow Victoria University student managed to travel from Auckland to Wellington on Sunday and another student made it from Auckland to Dunedin on Monday under alert level 4 without an exemption.
On Wednesday evening it was announced that security at Auckland's domestic terminal would be beefed up because of the breeches. Security was now stationed at the terminal entrance asking people to produce evidence of their exemption to travel before they were allowed in.