Team Of Six Million Calls For Government To Delay Quarantine Fees Regulations
7 August 2020: The Team of Six Million, a campaign group established to oppose the imposition of quarantine fees by the New Zealand Government, has expressed disappointment at the Government's urgent passing of the Public Health Response Amendment Bill to bring in a system of user-pays quarantine fees.
"This legislation passed under urgency is solving a problem that does not exist," says Lamia Imam, a US-based spokesperson for Team of Six Million. "The Government has acknowledged that this legislation will recoup very little cost, and that capacity is not driving its decision. The only problem it has identified is one of fairness. But it hardly seems fair for the Government to impose a user-pays system going against public health principles that will hit low-income New Zealanders the hardest, and asks Māori to pay the Crown to return to their own whenua."
The Team of Six Million has called for the Government to delay the regulations, due to be introduced on Monday 10 August, to allow an opportunity for proper consultation with all those affected, including Māori.
"There has been very little meaningful consultation with Māori in the development of this Bill, which is not good partnership. The Bill particularly impacts the rights of Māori to whānau, whēnua and whakapapa. Is it fair that Māori must plead their case for an exemption to a Crown official - is that what partnership under Te Tiriti o Waitangi looks like in 2020?" says Luke Claasen, a UK-based spokesperson for Team of Six Million.
The Team of Six Million will be sharing further stories of New Zealanders facing hardship as a result of this policy, and will continue to mobilise a range of responses to the policy, through political and legal challenges.
"Labour and the Greens spoke in Parliament about compassionate exemptions to this unfair policy, but have left the detail to be worked out by regulations. We've been told we'll see those regulations on Monday before they become law on Tuesday, but New Zealanders affected are being left completely in the dark about what exemptions will be in place and whether they'll receive an exemption," says Lamia Imam.
For more about the Team of Six Million group, visit the Team of Six Million Facebook group here.