Walkers and hikers continue to ignore directives to stay home amid New Zealand's Level 4 COVID-19 lockdown, with people visiting some of the Waikato's most scenic locations.
David Speirs, the Department of Conservation's (DOC) Incident Management Team lead for the Waikato, says residents near Bridal Veil Falls and Mt Karioi have reported people continuing to visit the two scenic locations.
These activities blatantly disregard clear Government instructions for people to exercise in their immediate communities, and that recreation in the great outdoors must be put on hold while we are in lockdown.
"This is extremely frustrating, given the repeated communication about exercising locally," David says.
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"Although Mt Karioi and Bridal Veil Falls are beautiful locations, this is not the time to be visiting them for a walk or a trail run."
David says a landowner whose property adjoins the Karioi forest park alerted DOC to the situation when three people ignored his advice not to enter the area. People continued to visit nearby Bridal Veil Falls, as well.
DOC staff have relayed the information to police.
Allan Sanson, Waikato District Mayor, says people ignoring the Government's advice put themselves and others at risk.
"Not only are these tracks narrow in places – meaning you can't keep that 2m social distance – if you get into trouble and need to be rescued, you're putting other people in harm's way."
"Stay at home and exercise in your immediate area: jumping in the car and heading off to go tramping or walking isn't acceptable," Allan says.