Home Freedom of Speech New Zealand’s First Authoritarian Lockdown Ruled UNLAWFUL by High Court

New Zealand’s First Authoritarian Lockdown Ruled UNLAWFUL by High Court

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New Zealand’s High Court has ruled that the country’s authoritarian lockdown was unlawful during the first nine days of its implementation.

The High Court of New Zealand ruled on Wednesday that the March 26 – April 3 stay-at-home orders were in breach of civil liberties after lawyer Andrew Borrowdale sued the government in July.

Three high court judges admitted that the New Zealand government should have written the order into law before threatening the population with police detention to keep them inside.

“While there is no question that the requirement was a necessary, reasonable and proportionate response to the Covid-19 crisis at the time, the requirement was not prescribed by law and was therefore contrary to section 5 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act,” the ruling read.

Rt.com reports: The panels added that the initial lockdown curtailed “certain rights and freedoms affirmed by the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990” including, but not limited to, “freedom of movement, peaceful assembly and association.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ordered the citizenry to remain in their homes on March 23 but the legislation reportedly wasn’t written into law until April 3.

Attorney General David Parker attempted to downplay the significance of the ruling, saying: “We always thought we were acting legally all of the way through.” 

However, despite Parker and Ardern’s attempt to put a brave face on things, the situation may cause issues, as anyone arrested or detained from March 26 to April 3 as a result of the lockdown orders may make a claim.

“Even arrests after April 3 will have been improper,” Auckland University of Technology Professor of Law Kris Gledhill wrote in May.

Meanwhile, New Zealand has delayed its general election, passed a law allowing for warrantless property searches by police, and Prime Minister Ardern has said openly that people will be forced to remain indefinitely in military-guarded “isolation hotels” unless they consent to Covid-19 testing.

Did we miss this?

COVID-19 Public Health Response Bill Enforcement

Powers of entry

(1) An enforcement officer may enter, without a warrant, any land, building, craft, vehicle, place, or thing if they have reasonable grounds to believe that a person is failing to comply with any aspect of a section 11 order.

(2) However, subsection (1) does not apply to a private dwelling house or marae.

(3) A constable may enter a private dwelling house or marae without warrant only if they have reasonable grounds to believe that people have gathered there in contravention of a section 11 order and entry is necessary for the purpose of giving a direction under section 21.

(4) A constable exercising a power of entry under this section may use reasonable force in order to effect entry into or onto the land, building, craft, vehicle, place, or thing if, following a request, a person present refuses entry or does not allow entry within a reasonable time.

(5) Any constable who exercises a warrantless entry power under this section must provide a written report on the exercise of that power to the Commissioner or a Police employee designated to receive reports of that kind by the Commissioner, as soon as practicable after exercising the power.

(6) Any enforcement officer (other than a constable) who exercises a warrantless entry power under this section must provide a written report on the exercise of that power to the Director-General, or an employee designated to receive reports of that kind by the Director-General, as soon as practicable after exercising the power.

(7) A report referred to in subsection (5) or (6) must contain—

(a) a short summary of the circumstances surrounding the exercise of the power, and the reason or reasons why the power needed to be exercised; and
(b) a description of any other action undertaken.
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20 COMMENTS

  1. This government did set aside established process for legislation on more than one occasion. They acted outside the law and breached the Bill of Rights Act 1990.

    Just not acceptable. Any citizen breaking the law can expect consequences. This government will find at the election there are consequences. This voter does not trust any of the parties in the current coalition now and at present does not believe any deserve re election.

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  2. The mad queen made a decree, that is all that is required in Cindy’s mind. //.
    I say sarcastically although I think she truly believed her call was enough!

    It took one of the media at her press conference to remind her she was running out of time to change the date of the election before it was taken out of her hands. Bothersome election laws were not a consideration until then.

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    • Liebour have often broken election law then fixed it with retrospective legislation.

      And the worst of the lot- Mar 15 to 18, 2019 when it was legal to pass on Brenton Tarrant materials – it was simply facebook content- they came in after the fact and prosecuted people who had acted within the law of the day.

      They don’t care about law when it comes to sexual assault.

      Laws, smaws, who cares

      Liebour do not.

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        • It will be full on electioneering. The circus performers will tell us how caring Ardern is and how she is needed to save us from the alt right etc

          It is a very simple sentencing matter that should take only minutes. He pleaded guilty.

          He should get 60 years. If they gave him the max cumulatively on each charge, then it could be appealed as manifestly excessive due to the totality principle. You can’t just add it all up together.

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  3. The Crown Law Office gave them advice right at the start and they ignored it. The National Party also, at the start, said they would work with the Government to get things lawful very quickly. They arrogantly turned the offer down.

    But about 50% of Kiwis will shrug the shoulders over the issue.

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  4. The noose is tightening a bit more on the Government.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/122532379/coronavirus-70-nz-post-workers-in-selfisolation-after-colleagues-test-positive

    These PO workers are in Auckland. That makes it harder for Ardern to reduce the restrictions this week even though she will know the good people of Auckland are getting angrier by the day. She will desperately want to reduce restrictions.
    Ardern has put herself in the proverbial “dammed if I do or dammed if I don’t” situation. That’s what happens when you are so arrogant and believe your own propaganda.

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