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Unconstitutional Border Tax Should Be Denied Entry

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is urging the Government to reverse its plan to charge citizens at the border for use of managed isolation facilities and is calling on the Human Rights Commission to comment.

The right of return, found in both Magna Carta and the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, shouldn’t be undermined by a rent-seeking Government. Although the Taxpayers’ Union normally supports user-pays systems, it draws a line at eroding human and constitutional rights for the purpose of lining Treasury’s pockets.

Taxpayers’ Union spokesperson Islay Aitchison says, “Although the Government could circumvent its constitutional obligations by legislating for a charge, it would still be an outlier in New Zealand policy. Quarantine isn’t a kind of customer service – it’s a public health mechanism to keep the wider public safe. Our health system is overwhelmingly socialised and there's no reason to depart from this approach for quarantine.”

“Neither delaying the implementation of the charge nor means-testing are appropriate safeguards. How can citizens reliably plan ahead in such an unpredictable environment? How could the Government accurately calculate means when assets are stored in foreign jurisdictions?”

“A more sensible middle-ground would be allowing any citizen to enter the country once for free if he or she is already overseas. After that, or if someone were presently in New Zealand, a re-entry charge would be permissible. Premiums for higher-quality accommodation should also be explored.”

“Taxpayers will be questioning where the Human Rights Commission has been on this issue. The public spends millions every year funding the Commission to protect our rights, but it is clearly too busy publicising an anti-racism PR campaign to take a stand on a major threat to citizens firmly in the Commission’s ambit.”

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