Simeon Brown slams gang members breaking Level 3 rules at Auckland funeral

Source: 1News

National MP Simeon Brown says the flouting of lockdown rules by Auckland gang members is causing the rest of the city to suffer, after a large gang-related funeral was broken up by police on Friday afternoon.

The NZ Herald reported a hearse was followed by a procession of 50 full cars, with patched gang members "hanging out the windows" in Te Atatu and Henderson.

Police said the gathering was broken up at a Henderson funeral home and all members were compliant.

However, police said there were some groups that were still gathering in various locations in West Auckland.

In a statement, Brown said it was "demoralising" for Aucklanders to see people flouting lockdown rules "so brazenly".

“Many, many New Zealanders have tragically missed funerals for loved ones throughout this pandemic. Kiwis have had to say farewell to family members through a Zoom call. A father is likely to miss the birth of his triplets because he hasn’t been permitted to cross the Auckland boundary," Brown said.

Brown says National taxing Kiwis won't solve the problem.

“No doubt the gang members who gathered in West Auckland today were grieving the death of the person whose funeral they were attending. However, they are no more entitled than any other person in New Zealand to ignore Covid-19 restrictions."

Brown said it was time for the Government to address the issue, given the rising number of Covid-19 cases among gangs and their unwillingness to follow the rules.

The Ministry of Health told MPs on Wednesday the outbreak was "seated" within the gang community and those people were "less trusting" of the health system.

“Aucklanders are fed up. Businesses are shutting for good. The rest of the country can’t get on with life properly while our largest city is out of action. It is wrong that the rules are being applied in such an ad hoc manner by the Government," he said.

“This is just not good enough. The Government needs to make it clear that the rules apply to gang members and if they break them they will be treated just like everyone else.'

Police say they will monitor the situation on Friday and will be responding to any reports of gatherings