Submission on the COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH RESPONSE ACT 2020 (“the Covid Act”) by the NZ OUTDOORS PARTY
Prepared and lodged by Co-leader- Sue Grey LLB(Hons), BSc (Biochemistry and Microbiology), RSHDipPHI14 June 2020
firstname.lastname@example.org Ph 022-6910586
This submission is lodged by the NZ OUTDOORS PARTY, a registered political party under the Electoral Act.
The NZ OUTDOORS PARTY has a rapidly growing and active membership, who value freedom and New Zealand including its people, tikanga and environment. The NZ OUTDOORS PARTY promotes connection of New Zealanders with each other and with nature.
The OUTDOORS PARTY promotes:
- democracy where people play an active role in decision making, knowing their views are valued and will be listened to.
- freedom from excessive government and international interference in the lives of New Zealanders;
- more self-sufficiency for New Zealand and New Zealanders,
- better care of our water, land, soil, wildlife and of our people.
- natural and organic regenerative approaches to agriculture to promote community wellbeing and thriving rural communities and local businesses.
- transparent representation and informed decision making which will promote a long-term vision for protecting and promoting the interests of all New Zealanders, our children and grandchildren.
The NZ OUTDOORS PARTY wishes to be heard in person on this submission by the Select Committee.
The OUTDOORS PARTY seeks the immediate repeal of the COVID Act due to its conflict with fundamental rights and freedoms, and the undemocratic process by which this law was passed. It is bad law which has undermined trust in government and in Parliament, our Constitution and the rule of law.
- The law reform failed to apply due process, constitutional conventions or best practice for law reform. The proposed law was passed within just 24 hours or so of first being publicly notified and without a select committee hearings or other public public consultation or engagement. This is despite legal advice from the Attorney-General to the Cabinet several weeks earlier that law reform would be required if the government wished to restrict freedoms and rights in Level 2 as by then the risk from Covid would be too low to justify reliance on existing “Emergency” powers.
- Fundamental rights and freedoms of New Zealanders were severely undermined by the COVID Act without good cause or due consideration of the consequences. This has highlighted the fragility of the NZ Constitution, the lack of respect for Constitutional Conventions and undermined public confidence in the rule of law.
- The COVID Act create unprecedented police and other executive powers for an non-emergency situation. An NZ Bill of Rights assessment by the Ministry of Justice was conditional and not readily available.
- The COVID Act delegates excessive delegated power to the Minister of Health to create Orders which severely impact on the rights and freedoms of New Zealanders for non-emergency situations.
- The COVID Act allows the police to have excessive powers and excessive discretion, including the power to enter into private homes, without a warrant, in circumstances where this is not necessary to protect life.
- The COVID Act gives excessive powers to other designated “enforcement officers”, including the power to enter premises and stop and search vehicles. It is unclear what training or vetting these enforcement officers have , who they are accountable to, why these powers are necessary or how this protects the public interest.
- The COVID Act and the government’s Covid -19 response are based on an outdated perception of disease and risk management. It ignores the holistic concept of health encompassed by ‘Whare tapa wha’, the four-sided house concept of health developed by Professor Mason Durie: Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. (World Health Organisation, 1948) Whare tapa wha incorporates taha wairua, a spiritual focus; taha hinengaro, mental focus; taha tinana, physical focus; and taha whanau, extended family. (Mason Durie, 1998)1.
- The COVID Act and the government’s Covid-19 response ignores ways people can enhance their immunity and a more holistic integrated approach to health and wellbeing which recognises that “Food is thy Medicine”, the benefits of vitamin D from sunshine, and that our immunity is affected by our physical, mental and spiritual health and by the environment we are in. These factors, and overlooking the risks associated with vaccines, may help to explain why Covid resulted in far worse death statistics in some countries, and in some sectors of society, than in others such as Germany.
- The COVID Act is an excessive intrusion by the government into the lives of New Zealanders based on unfounded assumptions about risk of a corona virus and related media spin and hype. After initial concerns, Covid-19 was declassified by UK experts as a Highly Infectious Disease in March 2020, well before the COVID Act was passed.
- The result is that at least in the medium to longer term, the Covid-19 response, was disproportionate the the risk. In simple terms “the cure” was worse than the threat. The Covid-response resulted in government induced disarray of the lives of the majority of New Zealanders, the postponement of medical appointments and operations, our most vulnerable being isolated from family and friends in the last years of their lives, funerals with no guests allowed, postponed weddings, people being forced together in circumstances which promoted domestic violence, significant mental health consequences and reports of a sharp increase in suicides, students dropping out of school, significant loss of employment, significant and unjustified loss of rights and freedoms.
- The COVID response overlooked the importance of providing quality information to the public (rather than media spin) to enable informed decision making by the public about how they would like to manage risks.
- The COVID response resulted in a disproportionate inter-generational burden on our younger generations who will need to pay back the extraordinary sums borrowed by the government to manage its Covid response, and extraordinary isolation of our senior citizens as rest homes refused to allow visitors.
- The COVID Act has further undermined public confidence in the government of New Zealand and in the rule of law. These rushed and unjustified law reforms have cut across fundamental rights and freedoms, further undermining public confidence in the state, opening our homes and other places to invasion by the state and creating criminals out of otherwise law abiding citizens.
- The recent conduct of the government has shown there are currently no effective checks and balances on the exercise of legislative powers or on the delegation of legislative powers to Ministers of the Crown (who are able to create Orders pursuant to the Covid Act), further undermining public confidence in the rule of law and in the administration of justice in New Zealand.
a) The Covid Act must be immediately repealed. The current situation is not an emergency that justifies such draconian legislation. New Zealand already has adequate laws in place to enable a proportionate response to genuine emergencies.
1Complementary and Alternative Health Care in New Zealand Advice to the Minister of Health From the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Complementary and Alternative Health June 2004 https://www.moh.govt.nz/NoteBook/nbbooks.nsf/0/C64721A66307CAD4CC256EF200701547/$file/Complementary-and-alternative-health-care-in-New-Zealand.pdf