The Taxpayers’ Union cautions that it is probably unconstitutional for the NZ Government to charge citizens for compulsory quarantine, but the Government can charge foreigners - including residents and those on work visas - coming over the border.
Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Jordan Williams said, “Inherited from British constitutional law is what is called the ‘right of return’. Governments can’t put barriers up preventing their own citizens from coming home. Putting a tax or ‘co-payment’ on citizens, even to cover the costs of quarantine, is almost certainly unlawful.”
“Most New Zealanders would make a distinction between Kiwis returning home and tourists or foreign workers. There may be many more New Zealanders who may lose their jobs in Britain or Australia and are unable to rely on state support."
“For tourists or foreign workers, such as those coming to work on movies or the America’s Cup, we back efforts to have them cover their quarantine costs”
The Right of Return can be found in the Magna Carta:
In future it shall be lawful for any man to leave and return to our kingdom unharmed and without fear, by land or water, preserving his allegiance to us, except in time of war, for some short period, for the common benefit of the realm. People that have been imprisoned or outlawed in accordance with the law of the land, people from a country that is at war with us, and merchants - who shall be dealt with as stated above - are excepted from this provision.
In addition, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), article 13:states that Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
Mr Williams says “The purpose of these rules are to prevent statelessness. While it’s painful for taxpayers, it’s a true public good, and the cost is right to be socialised.”