Blatant disregard for staying off the water is risking lives

Waikato authorities are alarmed at the numbers of people flouting national direction by going out on the water in boats and other vessels.


Waikato Regional Council’s harbourmasters have reported seeing people in launches and yachts, some trailer boats and kayaks in waters off the region’s east and west coasts in recent days.


“Boat ramps remain open for the sole purpose of enabling commercial fishing vessels and boats like ours to go onto the water,” said Waikato Regional Council chief executive Vaughan Payne.


“They are not for recreational water users wanting to escape lockdown.”


Waikato Regional Council harbourmasters are identified as an essential service, but are on the water to ensure navigational aids are secure for the safety of commercial fishing vessels and freighters which are continuing to operate.


Waikato Region Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group Controller Julian Snowball said the reasons people can leave their home have been made repeatedly clear.


“Don’t go where you might need rescuing. We need to make sure our emergency services are available to help those in the greatest need.


“We’re not trying to be killjoys. What we are trying to do is save lives, and this blatant disregard for others is putting themselves and others at risk,” Mr Snowball said.


“Stay at home. Only leave if you’re accessing an essential service, working in one, or exercising.


“There are many people in the region who are doing the right thing – thank you for doing what you can to protect yourself and others. We’re in this together and it’s only with all of us keeping calm and doing the right thing that lives will be saved,” My Snowball said.


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