Man on phone reporting crime speech bubble in front of window
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Peter Williams: Are we still a nation of dobber-inners?

Peter Williams 30/08/2021

The police have issued 1,829 infringement notices since the 19th of August for people not obeying the Public Health Order. Of those 1,679 were for people failing to remain at home, and 58 for failing to comply with the physical distancing rule.

Who was measuring? There are also 41 notices issued for failing to wear a face covering on premises.

So more than twice as many police infringement notices for breaching the public health order have been issued than there are positive tests for COVID. Isn’t that just somewhat of an overreach? And the police were happy to tell us in their release yesterday afternoon of a case in the Rodney area north of Auckland who was not wearing a face covering in a supermarket.

Now I don’t know what went on beforehand, but the Public Health Order is quite specific here. Section 17B, clause g says you are exempt from wearing a face covering if you have a physical or mental illness or condition that makes wearing a face covering unsuitable. There is no requirement under the order to prove what your condition or illness is, or provide any sort of exemption card. Yet police say they examined her exemption document and found that it was forged and now charges under the Crimes Act and the Health Act are being considered. 

Um, how can you be charged with producing a forged document when there is no requirement to even produce one in the first place?  Is there some serious police overreach going on here?

And jeez, are we still a nation of dobber-inners? As of yesterday, 11,816 possible breach notifications had been notified to either the 105 number or online. Shouldn’t we just mind our own business? Let people have a modicum of pleasure in this life. I went for a bike ride yesterday.

I was probably outside my immediate neighbourhood because I was all of 6 kilometres from home, and I might have been breaking some rules. But guess what I saw on a sunny Sunday morning? People on the side of the road talking to each other in groups of 7 or 8, without masks. And the gaps between them were less than two metres. Shock, horror. And I saw some kids playing soccer in a park, and I bet they weren’t all in the same bubble. It’s just terrible - not.

We are struggling enough as it is with the restrictions on life so do the police need to be out patrolling to ensure we are all keeping to the rules? And do we need to be dobbing in other people who are just trying to enjoy a modicum of normality - especially those in places outside of Auckland where the vast majority of the cases are?

This oped was written by Peter Williams from Magic Talk Mornings.