Covid-19 Public Health Response Bill ‘appears to be consistent’ with Bill of Rights Act – MoJ

The Covid-19 Public Health Response Bill is currently progressing through Parliament under urgency.

The Ministry of Health advice is that the Bill ‘appears to be consistent’ with the Bill of Rights Act.

We have considered whether the COVID-19 Public Health Response Bill (‘the Bill’) is consistent with the rights and freedoms affirmed in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (‘the Bill of Rights Act’).

We have not yet received a final version of the Bill. This advice has been prepared in relation to the latest version of the Bill (PCO 22923/4.2). We will provide you with further advice if the final version includes amendments that affect the conclusions in this advice.

We have concluded that the Bill appears to be consistent with the rights and freedoms affirmed in the Bill of Rights Act.

It seems that Andrew Little is Acting Attorney General because the Attorney General, David Parker, introduced the Bill and someone else had to advise him on it.

Click to access COVID-19-Public-Health-Response-Bill.pdf

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24 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  13th May 2020

    A spineless yes man acquiescence to everything on the basis that virus fear trumps all rights. No attempt to assess actual risk or the myriad of situations in which it may be minimal or manageable while imposing blanket bans.

    Basically completely useless and pointless.

    Reply
    • Ray

       /  13th May 2020

      Harsh but true.

      Reply
    • Duker

       /  13th May 2020

      Blanket bans is how quarantines work and how every country manages them, and Constitutional in US
      BORA exemption
      5 Justified limitations
      Subject to section 4, the rights and freedoms contained in this Bill of Rights may be subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

      Reply
  2. NOEL

     /  13th May 2020

    On reading a second time good to see a “sunset clause”.
    Would expect that on any Covid related legislation.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  13th May 2020

      It’s an indication of kneejerk legislation that won’t stand the test of time. There is no known timeframe or severity for the virus threat. Two years is just a number pulled out of thin air – a symbol of incompetence.

      Reply
      • It could go on for two weeks, two years or two decades. If there are 0 cases in the near future, will we still be restricted to 10 people at funerals and church services and be obliged to keep 2m apart indefinitely ?

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  13th May 2020

          Level 1….
          Quite the reverse, no cases for a month would probably no restrictions….your life of complaining will be over

          Reply
      • NOEL

         /  13th May 2020

        Rather have a sunset clause that plucked out of where ever, than none.

        Reply
        • Yes, and who knows if it will be lifted then ? It won’t if Labour has anything to do with it.

          Reply
          • NOEL

             /  13th May 2020

            It’s a sunset clause Kitty. Gives you the ability to challenge in Court unlike attempts to date.

            Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  13th May 2020

          Fine if that satisfies you. Incompetence has never seemed a worthy objective to me.

          Reply
  3. Reply
    • Duker

       /  13th May 2020

      More bizarre comments from Edgeler
      ‘, but it clearly limits the section 15 right to manifest religion’
      Even with the US and its constitution the courts have always held that there isnt a general exemption for Religion from existing laws.…oh and Quarantine was constitutional too , even when a particular person had no sickness. Naturally it had to be to combat an epidemic, of which they were once much more common

      Reply
  4. Pink David

     /  13th May 2020

    This simply tells everyone the Bill of Rights was no such thing.

    Reply
    • Tom Hunter

       /  13th May 2020

      It’s the usual nonsense you get when nations simply pass bits of paper into law and call them things like Constitutions and Bills of Rights. Every Communist nation had stuff like that, filled with more “rights” than anything in the West.

      But it was all worthless in reality. Rights were breached regularly and with no consequences.

      Same here. And that’s not because of the cynicism of our political leaders, although there may be some of that.

      No, it comes from the simple fact that for things like this to work they have to be buried in the psyche of the people of the nation. That it becomes something we more than know intellectually; that we know such right instinctively and we’ve seen consequences for those who have tried to breach them.

      The USA population has it in their bones, and even then it gets breached and constant vigilence is required, with cases in courts and Police and other law enforcement authorities, and even occasionally their political masters, held accountable in meaningful ways. Meaningful in terms of firings, resignations, fines or even jail time.

      Here in NZ we simply have not had enough pass for our BOR to be meaningful, and the more situations like this that we have the less meaning it have. People will just shrugh their shoulders and say that it is the supremacy of Parliament, just as we always did before our BOR.

      What a pathetic joke.

      Reply
    • Duker

       /  13th May 2020

      Section 5 Exemption in BORA
      5 Justified limitations
      Subject to section 4, the rights and freedoms contained in this Bill of Rights may be subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

      There is no doubt about demonstably justified. Its only the squawkers about their freedumbs who will complain …

      Reply
  5. The PM is shedding crocodile tears over the funeral restrictions but saying it’s necessary although she can’t imagine going through it. Other people aren’t just imagining it, they are having to do it, Jacinda. They may be tired of hearing how their ‘pain is necessary’.

    A young man whose business, a Mad Butcher franchise, went bust because of the lockdown, has killed himself. Why butchers couldn’t at least keep trading until their stock ran out is a real mystery, especially when they were told that they could stay open the day before. I know of one who did until the stock was gone. Good for him.

    Reply
  6. Human Rights Commission concerned about Covid-19 Public Health Response Bill

    It says that for weeks the government has known it would be moving to level 2 but it has not allowed enough time for careful democratic consideration of the legislation.

    Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt says the commission expressed concern to the Attorney-General yesterday about the two-year sunset clause in the bill, so he is pleased to see that will be changed to 90 days.

    Hunt says because the legislation encroaches on civil liberties there are serious concerns about whether the powers are proportionate.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/416475/live-covid-19-updates-from-new-zealand-and-around-the-world-on-13-may

    Reply

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