For those of you who are not Kiwis, the rapidity with which we can have things torn away is shocking. For Kiwis, this is what the minor parties in any coalition are there for: to stop this kind of fast legislation happening. The lockdown may be illegal, so do not merely pardon those who acted, but ensure you can do far more in the future. Hat tip Cam Slater, but this is from idiot savant. I am quoting him in the entirety of his post, and he links to the draft bill, but the emphasis is mine.
With the move to level 2 later in the week, the government has to legislate urgently to provide a legal framework. So, tomorrow we’ll be seeing a bill introduced and passed under all-stages urgency, without a select committee process. Because that has never gone wrong before. But in a token move towards democracy, they’ve released an exposure draft to the opposition and (hand-picked) experts for comment. I’m not a fan of that sort of secrecy, so if you’d like to, you can read it here (no, I’m not violating any obligation of confidence here). If you have comments, you should send them to Nicholai.Mumford@mbie.govt.nz by 10am, Tuesday, 12 May (yes, just nine hours away).
The most obvious feature of the bill is that while the government is talking a big game over the legality of the lockdown, it basicly yields the point: all future lockdown orders will be made under the new regime, not under the Health Act powers it says are currently sufficient. Which is if not an admission of illegality, at the least an admission that they’re not certain of winning. So the bill will make the point academic. This isn’t actually a bad thing – the outcome of a declaration of illegality would have been urgent legislation to fix the issue. This way we’re just getting the fix in advance (which is what the government should have done in the first place if it had any doubts).
The overall scheme – orders from the Minister, automatically revoked if not quickly confirmed by Parliament, and revocable – is sound, but needs tweaks around duration (currently indefinite; should be time-limited and renewable like an Epidemic Notice), and around activation (notice from the PM does not have the same safeguards as the other two mechanisms). And the whole thing expires in two years, or earlier by order, which is I think at the upper limit of how long we will need it for, but I’m not sure people would want to risk it being too short (OTOH, its a very short bill to extend a sunset clause, and difficult to fuck up even under urgency, unless you’re the PCO I suppose).
And now onto the bas stuff. There’s a disturbing warrantless entry power for police, which will make “I hear a party” the new “I smell drugs”, and an even more disturbing “papers, please” power for (ill-defined) “enforcement officers”, which goes well beyond any ability to require identifying particulars currently in law (currently police can only demand your name, address and so on if you have been arrested, or to issue a summons, or when you are stopped in a vehicle – not just randomly on the street). But the real concern is the order-making power, which is so broad as to be virtually unlimited. As we’ve already seen, lockdown measures prima facie violate the freedoms of assembly, association, movement, expression, and the manifestation of religion. Those violations may be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society, as I think we almost all believe the current ones are – but it will depend on the exact content of the orders,and there are no specific safeguards in place to ensure that. Legislation requires the Attorney-General to report any inconsistency to Parliament, so our legislators supposedly know what they’re doing; this bill should go further, and require the Attorney-General to table a formal opinion on the consistency of each order in Parliament, so we can all see what we are sacrificing (and check that they are doing their job and giving an opinion that passes the laugh-test).
The bill also includes a power to require classes of people (and specifically not individuals) to “report for medical examination or testing in any specified way or in any specified circumstances”, which prima facie violates the right to refuse to undergo medical treatment, and potentially the right not to be subjected to medical or scientific experimentation (e.g. depending on the tests and what is done with them). At present, Medical Officers of health can order individuals to do these things, but not whole classes of people, and as we’ve seen this week, they can simply refuse. So that’s a pretty significant expansion of state power, with no real specifics on how it is intended to be used.
Obviously, all-stages urgency is not the ideal way to pass this sort of legislation. A select committee process would be better. But the government left itself with no choice with its lockdown decision. Hopefully they won’t fuck it up again.
I read this at 12 noon — two hours after any submissions closed.
About every five or so years someone in Parliament argues for elections to be spaced out longer than three years because efficiency of government. This is why Kiwis reject such. We have learned to never, ever, trust our politicians, particularly when (as Idiot Savant does) we agree with them. Australian states are not much better.
I despise Scientology. But the State of Victoria went from banning Scientology to Hate Speech, which means anything in scripture that the Karens do not like.
Section 116 limits the powers of the Commonwealth but not the States. It does not restrict the powers of the States to prohibit “the free exercise of any religion”.
Hence the State of Victoria was able to (and did, by Act of Parliament) prohibit the free exercise of Scientology from 1966 for about 20 years.
It looks like the bastards from Labour (socialist), the Greens (More socialist) and NZ First (National Socialist) have the numbers to pass this redolent turd of a bill. Firstly, it is too vague.
An order made by the Minister or the Director-General (as the case may be) under this section may do 1 or more of the following things:
(a)require persons to refrain from taking any actions that contribute or are likely to contribute to the risk of the outbreak or spread of COVID-19, or require persons to take any actions, or comply with any measures, that contribute or are likely to contribute to preventing the risk of the outbreak or spread of COVID-19, including (without limitation) requiring persons to do any of the following:
(i) stay in any specified place or refrain from going to any specified place:
(ii) refrain from associating with specified persons:
(iii) stay physically distant from any persons in any specified way:
(iv) refrain from travelling to or from any specified area:
(v) refrain from carrying out specified activities (for example, business activities involving close personal contact) or require specified activities to be carried out only in any specified way or in compliance with specified measures:
(vi) be isolated or quarantined in any specified place or in any specified way:
(vii) refrain from participating in gatherings of any specified kind, in any specified place, or in specified circumstances:
(viii) report for medical examination or testing in any specified way or in any specified circumstances:
(b) in relation to any places, premises, crafts, vehicles, animals, or other things, require actions to be taken, require compliance with any measures, or impose prohibitions that contribute or are likely to contribute to preventing the risk of the outbreak or spread of COVID-19, including (without limitation) any of the following:
(i) require things to be closed or only open if specified measures are complied with:
(ii) prohibit things from entering any port or place, or permit the entry of things into any port or place only if specified measures are complied with:
(iii) prohibit gatherings of any specified kind in any specified places or premises, or in any specified circumstances:
(iv) require things to be isolated, quarantined, or disinfected in any specified way or specified circumstances:
(v) require the testing of things in any specified way or specified circumstances.
(2) An order made by the Minister may specify which breaches of an order made by the Minister or the Director-General are infringement offences for the purposes of section 25(3).
This is too vague. You can do anything with this: from demanding people stay two metres apart from each other to banning churches. But let’s hold our breath and look at the penalties.
(1) A person commits an offence if the person intentionally fails to comply with a section 11 order. (The section quoted above)
(2) A person who commits an offence against subsection (1) is liable on conviction to—
(a) imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months; or
(b) a fine not exceeding 4,000.
(3) A person commits an infringement offence if the person does anything specified as an infringement offence in a section 11 order.
(4)A person who commits an infringement offence is liable to—
(a) an infringement fee of300; or
(b) a fine imposed by a court not exceeding $1,000.
I’ve been worried for a while that the government would push too far. They may have. Brian Tamaki is a Maori prosperity preacher most pentecostals have problems with. His church has been working from lockdown and preaching from kitchen benches, as has mine. But he’s had enough. So he’s going to have as service on Sunday, despite our government limiting any — and I mean any — gathering to no more than 10 people.
We could reclassify ourselves to be a cinema for a season, so we can have more than 10 people.
Or maybe we could open up our school or cafe on Sunday,so we can have more than 10 people. Or perhaps we could turn in to a sports venue, where we can have more than 10 people. But why should we have to?
A church meets essential spiritual needs as recognized in well-known models used in core Government health practises such as Te Whare Tapawhā.
We have up until this point been responsible in all requirements outlined by the Ministry of Health. Destiny Church over the Lock-down has even run a Covid-19 Testing Station in its spacious Manukau carpark.
We will now invite all our members to be tested in the next few days and will be holding our church service this Sunday onsite on our Premises.I invite all churches in New Zealand to act according to your rights (see the NZ Bill of Rights) and to not allow this government to treat us as non-essential or as an afterthought at the bottom of the heap.
Brian Tamaki, Destiny Church
The government has now engineered a crisis. I expect Tamaki will be arrested, and serve time: if he does not, churches, mosques, marae and footy clubs will just ignore this law. Kiwis are good at that. If he is we will need another Red Squad to enforce our prime ministers materialistic pantheism — with the tools of the old materialist atheists, the children of Stalin.
Stay away from crowds. This will not end well.
UPDATE: A day late the press gets hold of the story.
The Herald understands National will vote against the first reading, but are holding fire on committing their support in the second and third readings until the committee of the whole House stage of the bill, where the party will seek a number of changes.
But the bill is still highly likely to pass even without National’s support in all three readings, as it has the support of Labour, New Zealand First and the Greens.
All National’s MPs voted against the bill being rushed through the House under urgency.
Speaking to media before going into the House this afternoon, Bridges sounded the alarm over some elements of the bill – he said he “wouldn’t rule out” National voting against the bill.
He said his MPs would attempt to get some elements of it changed through what’s called the committee of the whole house phase.
This is where MPs can make last-minute changes to legislation before it becomes law.
Such changes, according to Bridges, include looking to increase the max gathering rules – bolstering the numbers from 10 to 100 across the board.
National also planned to change the bill to allow for funerals and tangi to be attended.
Bridges questioned why people would be allowed to go to the movies, but not to mourn a loved one.
“There can be sports games with physical contact and yet at one of the most tragic defining points of life, a funeral, direct family members cannot attend them.
“That’s not just not kind – it’s inhumane. We can do better than that.”
The level 2 law basically gives effect to what was announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday.
It will go through the House under urgency, meaning it will go through all three readings in one sitting so it is law before the country goes into level 2, tomorrow night at 11:59.
That means there is no select committee process, where the bill can be scrutinised by experts.
Attorney-General David Parker said the Bill would ensure controls on gatherings of people and physical distancing are still enforceable.
“There will be fewer restrictions under alert level 2 but those remaining still need to be enforceable. We don’t want these narrower controls to rely on a National State of Emergency,” he said.
Although he believes New Zealanders would ‘do the right thing,’ it’s important to have a “regulatory backstop” to address behaviour at alert level 2 that is particularly harmful to the public health objective.
Otago Daily Times
The bill passed anyway. Straight party line vote, with NZ first showing that they don’t care about human rights. Even our staunch Corbynite Human Rights Commisioner considers this bad law.
The Covid-19 Public Health Response Bill was rushed through Parliament in time for Alert Level 2 but came under intense scrutiny from the Opposition.
It passed 63 votes in favour with 57 against.
The National Party and Act didn’t support the Bill, saying it was an overreach of powers, distrusted New Zealanders and didn’t allow for orders to have proper scrutiny.
But the Government said it was necessary to ensure the continued fight against Covid-19 and created more accountability, not less.
The Human Rights Commission said it was “deeply concerned” about the lack of scrutiny of the Bill and its rushed process “is a great failure of our democratic process”.
The law sets up the legal framework for future alert levels as there is no longer a State of Emergency. It effectively allows the Health Minister to issue an order that would make alert level rules legally enforceable.
That might include, for example, the ability for police or “enforcement officers” to close certain premises or roads, ban certain types of travel or congregations, or require people to be physically distant or to stay at home in their bubbles if necessary.