A Tauranga parent is horrified to learn that their son has been attending class all week with Auckland students who travelled to Tauranga during the Auckland Alert Level 4 lockdown.
Three students who travelled from Auckland to Tauranga earlier last week have been attending classes at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology.
“We all expected that we are safe here in Tauranga,” says the parent. “That’s why we have this border control. No one thought this would be happening.”
Toi Ohomai have confirmed that the Auckland students have been on campus attending classes with Tauranga students.
“We have been made aware of three students who attended our Windermere campus this week after travelling from Auckland,” says Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology Chief Executive Leon Fourie.
The students arrived in Tauranga on Monday September 13 and went straight to their class on campus. It has been confirmed by Toi Ohomai that they attended four classes during the week.
On Friday September 17, Toi Ohomai was made aware of the students’ travel history and immediately stood them down from class.
“Prior to leaving Auckland, the students contacted the Ministry of Health for guidance, produced negative COVID tests, and relevant documents to border staff and were permitted to travel through,” says Fourie.
“As soon as Toi Ohomai was made aware of the students travel history, as a precautionary measure they were immediately stood down from class and instructed to self-isolate at home. They have all since returned a second negative test yesterday. As an additional precaution, the students will not be returning to campus until 14 days since they arrived in Tauranga.”
The Tauranga parent is outraged that this situation has been allowed to happen.
“Where does it come that students are essential? They are not essential workers. Is this happening all throughout NZ?” says the parent.
“We have a friend whose daughter is refused to come out of Auckland to see her father in Tauranga who has been given weeks to live. How do we have these double standards? The Aucklanders are all there doing their bit. And the rest of the country are assuming that we are safe? How can this be rubberstamped by health officials?”
SunLive received a separate report from a reader who was also attending the same classes that they were unaware the students had arrived from Auckland during Auckland’s Alert Level 4 and expressed concern that the Auckland students were in close proximity to other students each day.
Police have also confirmed that the group of three travelled from Auckland to Tauranga.
“Police are aware of three people who travelled from Auckland to Tauranga earlier this week,” says a Police spokesperson.
“Police have spoken to the group and the matter has been referred to the local health authorities.”
SunLive requested further information from the Ministry of Health.
"Police have spoken to the group and the matter has been referred to the local health authorities. The people have returned negative tests," says a Ministry of Health spokesperson.
Two people have been arrested after allegedly travelling from Auckland to Wellington during alert level 4.
A police spokesperson confirmed a 24-year-old woman and a 41-year-old man had been arrested in Wellington on Saturday after allegedly travelling from Auckland in breach of alert level restrictions.
“They have been charged with failing to comply with order (Covid-19) and are expected to appear in Wellington District Court on Monday,” says the Police spokesperson.
“As the matter is before the court, police are not in a position to provide anything further at this time.”
This is the latest in a string of alleged lockdown breaches police have dealt with. On Thursday, three essential workers were arrested in Ohakune after travelling from Auckland to Tūroa ski field, police say.
Police had charged them with failing to comply with Covid-19 restrictions and taking, obtaining or using a document for pecuniary advantage. The trio were bailed and are set to appear at Auckland District Court on September 23.
Last week, an Auckland couple allegedly used their essential service exemptions to travel to Wānaka.
Another Aucklander who travelled to Whakatāne this week made headlines, as well as a polytech student after travelling from Auckland to attend class in Taranaki.