State Control – Loss Of Freedom
First we had the lockdown.
Then we had what were to all intents and purposes “Government Approved” private citizen’s roadblocks.
Then we had the government releasing 317 documents online late Friday afternoon as part of a proactive release to provide COVID-19 material. A leaked memo showed the Prime Minister's office instructed ministers not to speak to the media, and that due to public buy-in the Government didn't have to explain its response to the crisis.
Now we have the Government trying to get approval for “Warrantless Powers of Entry”.
This is nothing short of a dictatorship.
The Heartland Party is totally opposed to any form of Warrantless Power of Entry for this purpose.
We have a Police Service that we are constantly told is the equivalent of any other around the world and we have a system of laws and regulations that are able to be used to control the spread of Covid-19 without the need for warrantless powers of entry.
This is a massive undermining of human rights and there is no justification for this bill.
There is absolutely no justification for the Government to take away the freedom of the population that so many New Zealanders have fought for.
If this bill passes it will be one of our greatest democratic failures ever.
The new legislation, if passed in its current state, will result in sweeping police powers unseen in this country for many years.
In its current form the legislation encroaches on the civil liberties of New Zealanders.
The bill currently lacks any explicit reference to the Government's international human rights obligations.
The Government states that the law is required for them to enforce Covid-19 Alert Level 2 rules, such as social distancing and restriction on gatherings. It would give police powers to enter homes without warrants.
It limits the range of people to whom enforcement power can be delegated and it confines the power to appoint authorised persons to persons employed or engaged by the Crown.
The proposed legislation states that only constables and enforcement officers acting under their authority can totally or partially prohibit or restrict public access, with or without vehicles, to any road or public place in an area.
These new unprecedented powers come amid speculation the Government lacked the legal power to enforce the alert level 4 lockdown, with leaked Crown law advice to the media purportedly showing police were initially told by Crown Law they had little power to enforce the rules.
Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt has expressed “deep concern” about the lack of scrutiny and rushed process for the bill.
The Commission received the exposure draft bill on Monday evening and its legal team urgently prepared a short response.
“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,” Hunt said.
“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.”