The Prime Minister’s fiance has a simple message to fellow fishermen, boaties or surfers wanting to go out on the water during lockdown – “It’s not worth the risk”.
Earlier, Clarke Gayford copped flak online for a Tuesday post telling fishers they can still take to the water.
Gayford told the Herald today that the post was accurate at the time and based on now-outdated information.
He wrote in an updated post on his television show Fish of the Day’s social media page: “You will have heard by now that the first rule of movement over the next month is stay home and act like you have Covid-19, this should be the basis of all decision making. If in any doubt just re-read that sentence.
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“However, while I won’t contradict Coastguard’s advice, I do want to recognise that we (unknown to most NZers) have a community of people who live semi-subsistence lifestyles where the sea is their supermarket.
“In my line of work I get to meet these good salts and I have had lots of concerned messages. While I get that, on the other side of this is Coastguard who if they have to rescue anyone unnecessarily risk exposure to themselves and their family and we all risk breaking the chain.”
He said a good example was the report yesterday of a surfer in Gisborne having to be airlifted to a spinal unit.
“That surfer, who would have thought he/she was keeping safe distances etc, not doing anyone any harm, just put the lives of his rescuers and their families at risk, through exposure to not only them but the rescuers to each other. They’ve also taken up a hospital bed that might be urgently needed.
“Basically it’s not worth the risk to your fellow mates.”
He said the only time he needed help from the Coastguard was his first trip back out after having his engine serviced.
“The best thing about being a NZer and our solid attitudes to getting out and doing stuff though is that we can equally apply this to activities like finally learning how to tie a proper reverse FG knot or reading up on NZ fish species, or changing that dicky boat trailer wheel bearing.
“The internet is rammed with ‘how-to’ videos and the lockdown is a gift to schooling yourself up on some new tricks that you’ve been putting off that you can have polished for when you get out there next.”
He added that he was home toilet-training his daughter Neve “with average to poor results so far.”
The Tuesday post was shared hundreds of times with many people saying they were using it as justification to take to the water.
“So the PM’s [fiance], who just so happens to have a fishing show on TV, is now telling people it’s totally fine to go out to the beach and do a bit of fishing. This is getting confusing,” said one person.
“Pretty sure [Jacinda Ardern has] been telling the whole country to stay home. Good luck telling a copper that it’s essential for you to go out for a quick flick,” said another.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was asked during a press conference yesterday about outdoor activities, and advised everyone to stay inside as much as possible: “New Zealanders should act as if they have Covid-19” and stay at home, she said.
Coastguard New Zealand asked people to refrain from heading out on the water during the lockdown period to avoid putting themselves or Coastguard volunteers in harm’s way.
Coastguard New Zealand CEO Callum Gillespie said the service had received calls and messages from the public asking if they were able to go out on the water during the lockdown period.
“The answer is no. Should you get into difficulty, you will quickly want help from Coastguard volunteers and staff, requiring them to leave self-isolation and come together to help you,” Gillespie said.
“Please don’t put yourself or others at risk, stay off the water and out of harm’s way as we unite against Covid-19. As individuals, we need to recognise that our actions can have an effect on others.”
Fish & Game New Zealand also urged all anglers and hunters to do the right thing and stay at home while New Zealand was at Covid-19 alert level 4.
“The advice we have is that at alert level 4 anglers and hunters should not undertake activities that expose them and others to higher levels of risk,” CEO Martin Taylor said.
“We are also advised that Department of Conservation huts and campsites are closed as they do not meet minimum separation requirements.”
New Zealand Search and Rescue (NZSAR) is also asking people to stick to simple outdoor exercise and avoid areas where they could get lost or require search and rescue.
Meanwhile, rescue workers highlighted how a Gisborne surfer needed to be flown to Middlemore Hospital in Auckland with spinal injuries yesterday, just prior to the lockdown.
“Every accident/incident we attend during this lockdown exposes our crews, our families and all the health care people to all the dangers this lockdown is put in place to prevent,” an Eastland Helicopter Rescue Trust spokeswoman said.