The New Zealand Human Rights Commission is deeply concerned by the COVID-19 Public Health Response Bill being rushed through Parliament without due process. It’s third and final reading is set to become law by midnight tonight, Wednesday.
For weeks the Government has known that we would be moving to alert level 2. It has not allowed enough time for careful public democratic consideration of this level 2 legislation. There has been no input from ordinary New Zealanders which is deeply regrettable,” said Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt.
“This is a great failure of our democratic process. The new legislation, if passed in its current state, will result in sweeping police powers unseen in this country for many years.
The Bill gives the Government absolute power to force people to comply with any request without limitation, broad powers to enter people’s homes without a warrant and removes people’s right to refuse medical treatment. The relevant section of the Bill can be read here: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/government/2020/0246/latest/whole.html?fbclid=IwAR3aOyq-NbVc7FdNdrV2NvW7xdwha9O-x8B9RSY72peiFPH1SExzFVGNbwk#LMS344177
New Zealanders wishing to protect their basic freedoms should find ways to make their views of this very un-Kiwi act known.
In the words of Maureen Pugh, National List MP:
We have serious reservations about the totalitarian powers this bill gives to Government. We are hopeful that in the next few days the pressure may bring about a change to the decision regarding the number of people who can attend church services and funerals.
The Opposition Parties were given the bill late on Monday afternoon and it was introduced into the House on Tuesday. As we pointed out in the debate (which is not over yet if you wish to catch it after Question Time) the Government has known all along that we would be coming out of Level 4 & 3 at some point so have had weeks to prepare for this, but we have seen it too many times now to believe that they are open and transparent. The rhetoric does not match the reality.
History will judge. Civil liberties are not something we should give away to one person. We are a democratic country and the Parliament, not one person, represents NZers.
A petition is attracting mass support.
Prime Minister: Jacinda.Ardern@parliament.govt.nz
Subject: Deep Concern over COVID-19 Public Health Response Bill
I share the deep concern of the NZ Human Rights Commission over the COVID-19 Public Health Response Bill. The Bill is being rushed through Parliament without due process, without consultation and gives government the absolute power to force people to comply with any request without limitation, broad powers to enter people’s homes without a warrant and removes people’s right to refuse medical treatment.
It is the most un-Kiwi legislation ever presented and should be immediately abandoned.