An MMA gym in Auckland was handed a five-figure fine for violating New Zealand’s stringent vaccine mandates.
Oliver MMA—a combat sports gym operated by Steve and Krissy Oliver, was found in violation of recently imposed mandates that require businesses, including gyms, to ensure that all attendees and staff have been vaccinated against Covid-19.
The new measures were implemented by WorkSafe, New Zealand’s workplace and safety regulator. The group fined Oliver MMA $12,000 NZD (approx. $8,000 USD) for knowingly violating the mandates and endangering attendees.
“Egregious breaches like this will be treated seriously,” said Simon Humphries, Head of Specialist Interventions at WorkSafe. “This business has continued to operate in breach of the rules. That’s not fair to the high number of businesses and organizations who have changed how they operate to keep people safe.”
Despite the hefty fine, Steve Oliver told the NZ Herald that his team were determined to stay open in order to serve unvaccinated attendees experiencing “extreme mental health distress.”
“We care about them and have put in extra measures to ensure that we are helping them to get the right support and [being] there for them…we’re doing our best to keep everyone happy here and safe.”
Humphries later confirmed that Oliver MMA was the first Covid-related financial penalty handed out by WorkSafe since implementing the new framework.