PM declares National State of Emergency to deal with Covid-19

Jacinda Ardern
RT HON JACINDA ARDERN

A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

“Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent the very worst that we’ve seen around the world from happening here,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

“As the country moves into Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, at midnight, we need all the tools at our disposal to ensure everyone reduces down contact with one another across the board.

“Through the early and hard measures we’ve taken at the border, using the powers under the Health Act, the signing of Epidemic Notices, and now, being in a State of National Emergency, we have all of the legislative means possible, all the enforcement powers, all the tools we need, at our disposal to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002, today’s State of National Emergency declaration allows the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management to direct and coordinate personnel, material and other resources, and provides access to other extra-ordinary powers that will support delivery of an effective and timely response to COVID-19.

While in force, the State of National Emergency will allow the Director and local controllers, as needed, to provide for the:

  • conservation and supply of food, fuel and other essential supplies
  • regulate land, water and air traffic
  • to close roads and public places
  • to evacuate any premises, including any public place
  • and if necessary to exclude people or vehicles from any premises or place.

“Failure of anyone to play their part in coming days will put the lives of others at risk, and there will be no tolerance for that.

“We do not expect to use the full extent of these measures but, as with everything we have done in response to COVID-19, we plan, we prepare, we have in place everything we need to get through.

“For now, I ask that New Zealanders do their part. Stay home, break the chain, save lives,” Jacinda Ardern said.


More detail in Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice

Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of New Zealand under section 66 of the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 on March the 25th 2020 at 12.21pm.

This is to manage the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic within New Zealand.

The Minister of Civil Defence took this step because of the unprecedented nature of this global pandemic, and because he considered the response required to combat COVID-19 is of such a degree that it will be beyond the capacity of local Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups to respond to on their own.

This pandemic also requires a significant and coordinated response by and across central and local government.

Also, under section 5 of the Epidemic Preparedness Act 2006, yesterday I issued an Epidemic Notice, nationwide, to help ensure the continuity of essential Government business due to the unprecedented effects of the global pandemic, COVID-19, which is likely to significantly disrupt essential governmental and business activity in New Zealand.

This Epidemic Notice came into effect today, the 25th of March 2020, just after midnight and it will remain for three months with ongoing review, and from which, now further Epidemic Management Notices and Epidemic Modification Orders can be given – particularly across local government, immigration and social services – crucial services that now need flexibility to operate due to the effects of an epidemic in our country and an impending lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

At 11.59pm tonight, we move to the highest Alert Level of 4, and we, as a nation, go into self-isolation.

Statement continues…