A Hamilton man who helped organise and attended anti-lockdown protests in the city has been charged by police.
The 56-year-old faces charges of organising a mass gathering between October 16 and 30, attending a mass gathering on October 30 and intentionally failing to comply with a Covid-19 health response by organising a mass gathering between October 11 and 16 at Claudelands, Hamilton.
The protests were organised by the Freedom and Rights Coalition and it is understood more than 1000 people attended the event on October 30.
The charges were laid in the Hamilton District Court and have a maximum penalty of six months' prison or a $4000 fine.
The event on October 16 coincided with the Government's vaxathon where almost 130,000 Kiwis were vaccinated.
Others who helped organise and attended have also been charged.
Three Auckland men, including Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki, have been charged in relation to the protest which marched through central Auckland streets brandishing freedom signs and flags, and blocking traffic.
There were an estimated 2000-plus people tightly congregated on an Auckland Domain field - many without masks on October 16, and a further 5000 that gathered on October 30.
Tamaki confirmed he was arrested earlier in October over a previous protest on October 2 in the Auckland Domain he helped organised. That also attracted 2000 people.
Papatoetoe resident and senior Destiny member Paul Thompson, 57, was also charged and pleaded not guilty to failing to comply with the Covid-19 Public Health Response Order by attending the gathering, along with 5000 people, during alert level 3 restrictions on October 2.
He also entered a not-guilty plea for breaching his bail conditions. It was revealed days after the October 30 protest - which he attended - that Thompson had contracted Covid-19.
One person was arrested in Taupō, and six in Bay of Plenty after lockdown protests on August 31.
90 PER CENT NOWHERE NEAR ENOUGH
The country has since hit 81 per cent, however, director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said today the country was "well on its way" to its 90 per cent goal, but epidemiologist Professor Rod Jackson, from the University of Auckland, believes that still isn't high enough.
"With Delta, it's so contagious, we believe everyone is either going to get vaccinated or get Covid. So I didn't think it was anywhere near enough," he told RNZ yesterday.
If 90 per cent of New Zealanders 12 and over were fully vaccinated a quarter of the country would not have the protection of inoculation.
Jackson said that would be a problem.
"We're going to see pockets - certainly households, but I think communities - where you might be lucky to get 50 per cent vaccinated. I'm really concerned that we're going to see some major outbreaks that are going to overwhelm local and indeed national health services."