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Bridges pulls a stunt

Written By: - Date published: 7:46 am, May 7th, 2020 - 93 comments
Categories: health, health and safety, national, same old national, Simon Bridges, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, uncategorized - Tags: , ,

One of the first things they teach you in law school is the importance of legal professional privilege.

The Cabinet Manual, which I presume that Bridges has read, says this about legal professional privilege.

Legal professional privilege is a term applied to the protection of confidential communications between a lawyer and a client. If legal advice is protected by legal professional privilege, it may be protected from disclosure under the Official Information Act 1982 and the Privacy Act 1993, and will not be required to be produced for inspection during discovery in legal proceedings (see section 9(2)(h) of the Official Information Act and section 29(f) of the Privacy Act). It is therefore important that legal professional privilege in legal advice provided to the government is maintained, and not inadvertently
waived.

It is important. If advice is published or released it could severely compromise the rights of the person claiming the privilege. For instance litigation may get much more difficult and new ways of attacking a decision may appear.

The cabinet manual says this about requests from requests for information:

Ministers and their officials are expected to meet requests from committees to produce documents and to provide information, unless it is not in the public interest to do so.

The same sorts of considerations apply to senior public servants. I am sure the Solicitor General would rather crawl through broken glass than publicly disclose legally privileged information provided to the Government.

Which is why Bridges latest stunt, to threaten to issue summonses requiring the Solicitor General to present to the Epidemic Response committee legal advice concerning the issue of notices seeking legal advice concerning the lockdown.

From Yvette McCullough at Radio New Zealand:

The Epidemic Response Committee is to issue summonses to the Solicitor-General, the Director-General of Health, and the Police Commissioner seeking the legal advice for the lockdown.

The unprecedented move follows repeated public requests from the Opposition for this information over the past five weeks.

The committee chair, National Party leader Simon Bridges, said it was “inexplicable that the advice hasn’t been made public”.

“Serious concerns have also been raised by academics, lawyers and the Law Society.

“The people of New Zealand have given up their freedoms for this lockdown. We all deserve to know what the legal basis was for that,” Bridges said.

Parliament has never before summonsed the Solicitor-General.

All legal advice on the legality of lockdown and ongoing restrictions has been sought.

He will have a few problems. My reading of Parliament’s standing orders is that Mallard as speaker has to sign the summons and direct its service and I can imagine him not wanting to.

The original Health Act notice is being challenged in court. To be frank the argument has some merit and I would not guarantee that it would fail. As has been pointed out by Andrew Geddis when you read the enabling provision you wonder if it has been stretched out of shape by being applied nationwide, when it appears to be targetted at localised breakouts of disease. If there is no Covid-19 on Stewart Island or the Chatham Islands then why should they have been subject to the lockdown.

Having said that I believe that the decision was the right decision. But time will tell if legally it was robust and I would not rule out retrospective legislation.

As Geddis concludes:

[The lockdown] imposes the most extensive restrictions on New Zealanders’ lives seen for at least 70 years; perhaps ever. No matter how ‘necessary’ these may be, we should expect such restrictions to have a clear, certain basis in law and be imposed through a transparent and accountable process.”

He also considers that the Government has shown care in the handling of subsequent Health Act notices:

We recognise that the government is alert to these sorts of concerns, and has taken some good steps to try and address them. The orders establishing our level three lockdown are well designed and drafted. And the attorney-general’s cabinet paper setting out the legal issues involved in moving to level three shows a commendable engagement with the relevant legal challenges. Any claim that the government simply doesn’t care about what the law requires of it is neither true nor fair.

But such subtleties do not matter to Bridges. He is just trying to make a name for himself.

To compound things he chose to attack universally beloved Director General of Health Dr Ashley Blomfield. From Anna Whyte at Television New Zealand:

A fiery select committee meeting today saw National leader Simon Bridges accuse Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield of attempting to control information flow. 

It was an assertion Dr Bloomfield rejected, saying communications with the public around Covid-19 had been “absolutely fundamental”.

During the meeting, Dr Bloomfield was questioned by Mr Bridges over communications from the Ministry of Health.

“Here’s the point, the Government suspended the OIA (Official Information Act) and we’ve been waiting over two weeks for your department to answer written questions,” Mr Bridges said.

“Why don’t you answer simple health questions to the one parliamentary committee on this remarkably significant issue?

“I’ll be quite frank with you: I don’t think it’s a resourcing issue.

“I think it comes down to one simple thing. You don’t want to answer because you want to control the information flow and do this in a time and a way convenient to you and the Government,” Mr Bridges said. 

Dr Bloomfield said he rejected that assertion.

“Part of my role as a public servant, and I’ve been one for many years, is to ensure there is good information and right from the start of this response we’ve been very open and communicating very regularly with the public.

“However, if there is an issue I will personally take that up with the clerk of the committee, with what is the questions still outstanding and I will work with my team to get those responses as soon as possible.

“Communications with the public have been absolutely fundamental and I made myself available on almost a daily basis to media because I felt that was an incredibly important part of ensuring all New Zealanders knew what was going on.”

Every day it appears that Bridges is becoming more and more trumpian in his behaviour.

His complaint against Blomfield is especially ridiculous when you remember what John Key said about OIA requests:

Sometimes we wait the 20 days because, in the end, Government might take the view that’s in our best interest to do that”.”

By all means the public service should supply MPs with requested information. But throwing a tantrum because the Director of Health in the middle of a pandemic who has hopefully overseen the eradication of the disease has not answered emails quickly is not very Prime Ministerial.

National strategists must be tearing their hair out. Bring on the election.

93 comments on “Bridges pulls a stunt ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    Desperate to demonstrate his relevance. I don't have a problem with checking the legal situation to discover if the right hoops have been jumped through – but most folk will not be concerned about legal technicalities. They just want govt to ensure public health is managed effectively, and are happy with the prompt action and competence exhibited.

    He's on firmer ground when acting on behalf of business: getting back into operation is a practical necessity. However he is not sensible when ignoring the danger of doing so. The risk ought to be managed properly. Why not call for businesses to re-open with everyone wearing a suitable protective mask? He hasn't been able to think of that sensible course?

    • georgecom 1.1

      If Bridges is wanting to ensure that the States emergency powers are exercised in a proper and lawful manner then yes, no great problem with that. We want and need to ensure such powers are utilised properly else should we ever get the likes of a Trump peoples rights could be trampled over and powers misused. To date the state has been clear about what it has been doing and why, there have been reasons and justifications.

      If Bridges is simply feeling like a little irrelevant man at the moment, someone struggling with his leadership and wanting to grandstand and make some noise about something then no Simon, huge problems with that. If he is simply wanting to make some noise and grandstand then he is proving himself to be an irrelevant little man.

  2. Don't we have a precedent for retroactive legislation anyway

    When it was found that the GCSB had illegally spied on NZ citizens, a new act was passed that would make this legal .

    Did Simon exercise his legal scholarship at the time, and raise his voice in protest?

    I for one don't remember it

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/8524274/Illegal-spying-85-Kiwis-watched

    • Chris T 3.1

      I have vague memories of Labour using it over their dodgy 3/4 million in Pledge Cards.

      Think they paid the money back though, so that was nice.

      [The onus is on you to refresh your “vague memories” before you comment with possibly misleading innuendo. Francesca’s comment was about a legal precedent, which you turned into a partisan attack and muckraking. You could redeem yourself by providing support to back up your comment although it might end up being the proverbial piece of rope. This is your warning – Incognito]

      • Incognito 3.1.1

        See my Moderation note @ 10:45 AM.

        • lprent 3.1.2.1

          Not really – there were 5 parties that had funding issues after the 2005 election. Including National's over spend of about 118k. Somehow Chris ‘forgot’ that.

          From the link in your wikipedia link.

          The bill was introduced on the recommendation of Parliament's Speaker, Margaret Wilson, who said paying back the money would not remedy the unlawfulness identified by Mr Brady.

          In the final debate, Finance Minister Michael Cullen said the bill was necessary to put the public accounts back in shape and to clarify what was proper spending.

          He argued that the broad definition of electioneering used by Mr Brady implied that MPs would be breaking the rules by sending Christmas cards and using the phone.

          He suggested that National MPs were being hypocrites, and challenged leader Don Brash to pay back the unpaid $118,000 GST bill from its campaign spending.

          And he questioned if the Exclusive Brethren's support for National would meet Mr Brady's test for parliamentary purposes.

          And that last point was important as well. The EB actively campaigned for National and spent a vast amount of money on pamphlets that looked exactly like National Party propaganda. Yet neither the Auditor General nor the Electoral Commission chose not to treat that as being a donation in kind – which is what it was. Nor did they look at other forms of political party funding like the Trusts used by National and NZ First. It was a curiously one-eyed examination of the political funding system in NZ.

          Nicky Hager published The Hollow Men: A Study in the Politics of Deception[33] in November 2006 after an interim injunction against the publication of Brash's private email correspondence was lifted at the request of Dr Brash's lawyer.[34] Hager claims that the National Party spent millions of dollars in its election campaign without breaching the legal spending cap.[35] He points to several possible breaches of the election law by National, and asserts that the scope of the Auditor General's inquiry was "very limited” and did not include illegal third party advertising. According to Hager, evidence from undisclosed sources and the leaked e-mails point to a breach of section 221 of the Electoral Act. He further asserts that the book “Postcard From Home”, Brash’s biography, was called a “significant marketing tool” by Brash, and that the National-produced “Fairtax postcards” were “exactly the same expense as Labour’s pledge card".[33]:240-241

          In addition, Hager disclosed a letter from the Exclusive brethren to Don Brash and John Key (later head of the National Party) stating that "We are working on ‘our/your’ campaign full-time" written in May 2005, four months before the election. According to the Sunday Star Times, this and other documents "confirm, that months before the election campaign, that National Party MPs and staff… were fully aware of the Exclusive Brethren advertising campaign and that at least some MPs had seen the draft publications".[36][verification needed]

          The sources and alleged breaches by National in Hager's book remain controversial and have sparked a debate regarding the invasion of privacy versus the public interest.[37] On 27 November 2006, the Greens called for further investigation.[38]

          The particular practices that Brady looked at had been used for more than a decade by virtually every political party. Had been examined by previous AGs and electoral commissions, and never been called into question.

          Brady's interpretation was not the understanding of any of the political parties prior to the 2005 election despite all of the political posturing afterwards. It wasn't even supported by many of the legal opinions at the time.

          The legislation was passed on political lines in lieu of opening up a wider can of worms, was meant to be supplanted by wider electoral financing reform in the Electoral Finance Act – which National hurriedly and with evident guilt repealed in 2009 and replaced with one that didn’t look too closely at their financing systems

          Hopefully Labour will put forward a bill on that next term. Because the electoral finance in NZ is a disgrace.

          • Chris T 3.1.2.1.1

            The reason I said Labour is the Appropriation (Parliamentary Expenditure Validation) Bill to retrospectively change it was voted for by Labour.

            And against by the Nats, The Maori Party, ACT and United future.

            I am fully aware most of the other parties had discrepancies as well.

            • lprent 3.1.2.1.1.1

              *sigh* As incorrect as usual. The NBR, being less inaccurate than you are, says

              Parliament has just passed a special bill validating the $1.17 million that Auditor-General Kevin Brady said was spent on advertising before the last election without Parliament's authority because it contained electioneering.

              National, ACT and Maori Party opposition failed to stop the passage of the Appropriation (Parliamentary Expenditure Validation) Bill and it passed by 61 votes to 50. The Green Party abstained.

              United Future voted for the bill. As did NZ First, Jim Anderton Progressives and Labour.

              Which if you'd bothered to actually doing some basic research, before asserting false facts, means that the vote split was exactly based on government vs opposition lines – the Greens not being in government at the time (just in case you can't remember).

              Just to be accurate myself it was actually 6 parties who, according to auditor-general Brady, had made unlawful expenditures.

              The Auditor-General investigated publicly funded party advertising for the 2005 election, with a preliminary finding that much of the spending was unlawful being leaked. A final report was released on 12 October 2006.[2] It found that $1.17 million had been improperly spent, as follows:

              • Labour Party: $768,000
              • New Zealand First $150,400
              • Green Party $80,900
              • United Future $63,800
              • Act $17,800
              • National Party $11,300
              • Māori Party $48

              I forgot the $48 from the Māori Party. There was also the 'accidential' overrun by the National Party on their TV advertising and their undeclared 'donations' in kind by the Exclusive Brethren which should have also been declared as unlawful as they were done within the election period.

              It was hard to find a legal opinion that would have agreed with Brady that expenditures that far out from an election were unlawful.

              The Speaker of the House, who has responsibility for the Parliamentary Service, sought a legal opinion in response to the Auditor General's report.[11] While she did not agree with the legal analysis of the Auditor General, the Speaker, Margaret Wilson, recommended that legislation be passed to retrospectively validate expenditure, that parties should pay back their overspending, not as a legal obligation, but in order to maintain the confidence of the public, that the administrative processes of Parliamentary Services should be reviewed, and that legislation be developed to clarify the law on expenditure.

              And about the only thing that usefully came from the whole fiasco was clearer rules in the form of several acts including the electoral finance act. Most of which were overturned by National in 2009 apparently as being not convenient to them. The consequence of which is still resulting in close-to-the-line referrals to the SFO by the electoral commission of National and NZ First being acted on now. Both would have been obviously unlawful with the EFA.

          • RedLogix 3.1.2.1.2

            Thanks. I recall the long and intense debates here at the time very well, and that comment is not only an excellent recall, but an accurate precis as well.

            While there was no question that a counsel of perfection would have seen Labour avoid the missteps that Brady pinged them for, it was his peculiar one-eyed view of the wider issue which not only rankled, but very much called into question his judgement.

            Incidentally I went out of the way to collect a ‘full set’ of those infamous Pledge Cards, and still have them tucked away in storage.

          • Tricledrown 3.1.2.1.3

            Plus the $500,000 the exclusive Brethren put into smears lies and propaganda on behalf of National.

            • Chris T 3.1.2.1.3.1

              Both the main parties haven't exacatly covered themselves in glory over the years.

              My original post was just to point out another past example of retrospective law change.

              Still don't know whether Winston paid his back.

              • Incognito

                My original post was just to point out another past example of retrospective law change. [my italics]

                No, it wasn’t just that and you know it as well as lprent and I do.

                You have not redeemed yourself and holding a looped piece of rope in your hands. Let’s see what you gonna do with it.

  3. Reality 4

    Pleased to read the Dominion Post editorial calling Bridges’ outburst a “blunt and graceless attack on a public servant”. Bridges has anger management issues and has no redeeming qualities at all.

    • bwaghorn 4.1

      Na he hasnt got anger issues, hes just a fake lower order lawyer who read to many Grisham novels.

    • Wensleydale 4.2

      Yeah… I don't think it's anger management. Just really shit judgement. He reads the mood of the nation like a blind man with a sack over his head.

      • mac1 4.2.1

        Reading the mood of a meeting (or a nation) is a weak point for him. I have attended two meetings at which Bridges spoke. The first was a Grey Power dinner at which he was a guest speaker. He misread the occasion and the audience, and turned it into a party political broadcast. Eventually we joined in and started heckling and disagreeing vocally, but he did not have a feeling for the mood of the meeting.

        Some people refer to this as getting the "tone wrong'.

        The second time I saw him he again spoke at a non-political event, a school jazz festival, and did get overly party political again.

        He did not appear to be sensitive to the needs or mood of the audience. This is a skill he needs to work on as he evidently gets it wrong in the House or on the Pandemic Emergency Committee which he chairs at times.

  4. Adrian 5

    He really is a fuckwit and I also suspect he’s running a diversion of the gigantic fuck-up on Transmission Gully that he orchestrated.

  5. Sanctuary 6

    "…Every day it appears that Bridges is becoming more and more Trumpian in his behaviour…"

    His behaviour as chair of the Epidemic Response Committee is frightening glimpse of how he would behave as PM. You are right – his response to failure is the very Trumpian/GOP one of cooking up a conspiracy by government technocrats and science in general against him..

  6. Heather 7

    Simon is desperate to be relevent. His rudeness to the Prime Minister and Dr Bloomfield is shocking. I expect he will try to humiliate the Attorney General, just because he can.

    He has added nothing to the whole process of accountability, there has been a parade of privileged appearing before his Committee. Some areas of New Zealand diverse community have not been heard from.

  7. Sanctuary 8

    The other thing Bridges is doing is turning the Epidemic Response Committee into a parade for government critics and business deniers to whinge and moan.

    Now, the government gave the opposition a majority on the committee and Bridges was made chairman to guarantee democratic oversight. Bridges can do what he likes, but if he wishes to turn it into a politically partisan circus for deniers and lobbyists to take a swing at the government then he should expect a politically partisan response.

    • Muttonbird 8.1

      The other thing Bridges is doing is turning the Epidemic Response Committee into a parade for government critics and business deniers to whinge and moan.

      This was evident from the very beginning. The Nats put out a call to any and all to relay their concerns to Nat MPs. They did this under the guise of their MPs wanting to pitch in and help, but the truth is they were harvesting stories with which to attack the government and civil servants.

  8. JanM 9

    I can't understand why he thinks that being so aggressive to someone we have almost universally taken to our hearts is a good idea. Jealousy perhaps but I can't see it winning him any brownie points even among National voters

    • Sanctuary 9.1

      Because National is building an attack strategy that will claim the lockdown was illegal. Part of that plan is to discredit the DG of Health and put various key government officials on trial before Simon’s newly minted Star Chamber that he clearly want to turn the Epidemic Response Committee into before launching a whole series of legal challenges that’ll be funded by big business backers that will go nowhere, but will hopefully muddy the water and create division.

      And somehow that'll be a reason to declare the whole virus response plan a failure.

      • Sanctuary 9.1.1

        As an example of the new National party attack plan at work, look at how the right wing corona virus sceptic press in the UK just took out a key pro-lockdown government advisor.

        However, if social media is any guide, from Tik Tok to FB Bridges is being portrayed as a moron over this.

  9. Tricledrown 10

    Bridges bullying and intimidation treating Dr Ashley Bloomfield like a criminal he is cross examining in court a new low for Desperate simple Soimon.

    Dr Bloomfield stayed calm cool and collected unlike the spoilt brat who was having a tantrum.

  10. tony kirk 11

    Simon seems unwell…anxious..agitated…disturbed..unstable.

    I would not like to be in an elevator with him.

  11. Gerald 12

    A cunning stunt, please supply the Spoonerism if you wish.

  12. ianmac 13

    I wonder how Bridges managed to find those who felt they had been treated badly, and be able to have their complaints aired. Does he have agents out hunting for malcontents?

    • Andre 13.1

      He wouldn't need to have anyone out looking. There will always be malcontents and the congenitally disgruntled on any given topic, and Simon is the obvious go-to to help them get a platform to whine on for this particular topic.

      • Anne 13.1.1

        I suspect Simon Bridges is attempting to capitalise on the fact people are becoming restless and wanting things to return to something akin to normal. They want to be able to go to the hairdressers, drop in to their favourite cafes and restaurants and indulge in some retail therapy.

        Remember when Helen Clark became known as Aunty Helen? It was used in a negative context and ended up swaying a lot of voters against her. I picked up recently Jacinda is being called "Saint Jacinda" and again in a non-positive way.

        This constant carping and criticism by Simon and his fellow "malcontents" is playing into the same manipulated scenario designed to give the impression that the Ardern government is… destroying everything for everybody.

        It will succeed unless this government takes notice and adopts steps to mitigate the damage. I always felt the Clark government failed to do that, and it contributed towards their downfall in 2008 – thus preventing them finishing the job of 'eliminating' the negative effects of Rogernomics and Ruthanasia.

        • calltoaccount 13.1.1.1

          Absolutely correct in all of this. Hopefully any Labour strategist in a position to do something (Hayden Munro, campaign manager, Ruth Dyson, on Simon’s committee) reads this and is up to the task!!

          I guess an answer has to be based around the ‘be kind’ message. Applied to the ‘exemptions to visit a dying relative’ issue, why can’t we just check the circumstances, test for Covid, and ‘manage’ the visit somehow? Along the way, positive ’be kind‘ messaging.

          Ditto the ‘stresses of lockdown’ issue. I mean, bringing a family bubble together could as easily prevent a bad outcome as create one. Leave Simon to be nasty and negative, and swamp the issue with positivity??

          The government has a major win on its hands with the Covid numbers, but a handful of hurtful f**kups is leaving too much work for the PM to do.

          • Anne 13.1.1.1.1

            The government has a major win on its hands with the Covid numbers, but a handful of hurtful f**kups is leaving too much work for the PM to do.

            The husband of a niece of mine whose father's death is imminent (not Covid) was finally allowed to see him about a week ago but he had to apply for a special exemption. He's in the North Shore Hospital so the Waitemata DHB seems to have got the message.

            There are some big questions to be sorted about DHB management procedures after this pandemic scare is over.

  13. James 14

    It will be interesting if he is right and that the lockdown was indeed illegal.

    Esp given the economic impact that it has had on many businesses.

    • The Al1en 14.1

      The lock down that was dutifully observed by nigh on 5 million people and received overwhelming support in opinion polls?

      I don't think much will change on a legal technicality where the NZ equivalent of the blitz spirit is concerned.

      • James 14.1.1

        Do you think it will be as popular if proven to be illegal ?

        • The Al1en 14.1.1.1

          It will be with me, Duncan garner and the crying nat stooge mall owner, probably not so much.

          Lock down was the best practice response. It ultimately saved lives. I suspect legal technicalities over the act, and after the fact, won't mean shit to most people.

          But at least you have something to hope for to discredit a very popular government. The nats have failed you thus far.

        • Warren Doney 14.1.1.2

          Absolutely. Malcontents will use it as an excuse to bleat, and of course, the usual right-wing charlatans will try and use it as leverage, but it won't drop below the 90% approval it has now.

          • Peter 14.1.1.2.1

            There's a chance of a job I reckon with Garner and Stuff and NZME. A 'bounty hunter' with finders fees!

            You come up with someone who has a grumble, a complain, a grizzle. Someone who wants to have a good bitch is really sought after. That's where the stories are.

        • mary_a 14.1.1.3

          @ James (14.1.1) … I believe at the time lockdown was enforced, NZ was also declared to be in a state of emergency. So doesn't this point make a lockdown legal? I'm of the opinion it does.

    • Alice Tectonite 14.2

      Are you insinuating that we should've continued with BAU & fuck the consequences?

      'Cause that's what it looks like…

      • James 14.2.1

        No – But but it shows your level of thinking if thats the only option you could think of.

        How about doing it legally? (if indeed it was legal)

        • Tricledrown 14.2.1.1

          James throw flames then blame others lame trolling.

        • McFlock 14.2.1.2

          Wanking a bit prematurely there, James.

          I see three main outcomes being possible:

          1) the courts find it was actually legal, and Bridges (and you) are firing blanks;

          2) the courts rule there was a procedural error, so the government retrospectively empowers itself to do a sensible and necessary action that saved lives in a pandemic and everyone tells Bridges to go spin anyway;

          3) the courts rule there was a procedural error, so the government retrospectively empowers itself to do a sensible and necessary action that saved lives in a pandemic, but the shitstirrers like yourself and Bridges, by some miracle, actually start getting traction with it, so David Clark does a mea culpa and apologises for not getting the paperwork right (regardless of whether it was actually his fault), resigns as minister (now that the job is mostly done), gets sinbinned until the election and comes back in the next government as a minister again.

          There is a 4th possibility that the whingefest somehow gets Winston onside and enough votes in September to actually form a government. I'm sure the US, UK, and Sweden will all be looking good by then so people think covid19 really was just like the common flu.

        • Red Blooded One 14.2.1.3

          "Pretty legal" has had a precedent. You'll be happy with that won't you. Or are you just "having a crack"

        • Alice Tectonite 14.2.1.4

          it shows your level of thinking…

          Nah, I also considered relevant context including your known behaviours here and the general tendency of tiresome Tory types to insinuate, shitstir and smear etc.

          Based on that other interpretations seemed less likely…

    • bwaghorn 14.3

      How many deaths would have been acceptable to protect the economy in your opinion. ??

    • Sanctuary 14.4

      If it turns out the laws need retrospective clarification, I am sure parliament will do that.

      Next.

    • Tricledrown 14.5

      So if there was no lockdown how much would businesses lost. Given 85% of NZers support the lockdown .

      • Dukeofurl 14.5.1

        The lockdown was totally supported by Bridges ( at least 4 weeks he said) and Seymour as well.

        He waka eke noa – the canoe which we are all in without exception. We are all in this together.

        said Bridges

        "Today, on the big questions in this House and in New Zealand, we agree. There is no National or Labour or Green or ACT or New Zealand First; just New Zealanders.

        We should be going to Level 4 lockdown this evening. We are putting in all the economic resources and investments required to defeat this common enemy."

        https://www.national.org.nz/leader_of_the_opposition_s_statement_on_state_of_national_emergency_and_move_to_alert_level_4

        • Alice Tectonite 14.5.1.1

          He waka eke noa – the canoe which we are all in without exception.

          Simon's got hold of an adze & is trying to make a hole in the waka before we've reached the shore…

        • Gabby 14.5.1.2

          Tova will be asking him about that, fershure.

    • Incognito 14.6

      I think the lockdown was entirely within the spirit of the law.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letter_and_spirit_of_the_law

      Put differently, the end justified the means, this time, IMO.

      In any case, it is a little more than just an academic exercise because the lockdown so far cannot be undone. Of course, it is an interesting and important legal issue and one that needs to be addressed, answered, and sorted, if necessary, in the appropriate forum(s). It may have consequences for those idiots who breached the lockdown rules; they were still idiots.

      However, it is obvious that these questions are now being politicised and used to score political points and attack the Government. National were in full support of Level 4 lockdown but now we have all but eliminated the virus they’re changing their tune.

      The Law needs to be clear for when the next pandemic comes around.

      • ianmac 14.6.1

        The Government states that they acted within the law and so does the Health Department. So they acted in good faith. Won't stop Simon asking 3 questions today and pursuing the legal question.

        • Incognito 14.6.1.1

          But he’s not just asking questions, is he? And which questions is he asking and which not? And how is he framing those questions? And how is all this portrayed and playing out in MSM and Social Media? I could be forgiven thinking it is Election Year although with National one cannot easily tell the difference.

    • KJT 14.7

      The economic impact of the virus you mean.

      BTW, Sweden, which all the anti lockdown nutters were praising until it became too obviously embarrassing, isn't doing any better economically than it's neighbours, or us, who locked down.

        • KJT 14.7.1.1

          That article is already out of date. Look at their Government forecasts.

          Even in the article they said their economy is unlikely to escape the downturn.

          Though, they are doing better than the US, States which are now reacting to the virus, too late.

          • Graeme 14.7.1.1.1

            Well their domestic airline industry is as quiet as ours, this piece from our local paper on 17/4

            This is where my job as a commercial pilot was affected – flying mainly domestic routes, my company saw the numbers of passengers drop by the day.

            On my last flight we had four passengers – that was four weeks ago and I have been on standby since.

            • KJT 14.7.1.1.1.1

              Those on here, who are complaining that we should have let hairdressers, restaurants and Cafes open, like some Ozzie States did, seem blissfully unaware that they are not getting customers. And, because they were allowed to open, they are not getting much Government help either.

              One friend in Oz said he had three customers, in the first week of the virus landing in Oz. so he closed, anyway.

              He is really envious of NZ small businesses and the help given, here.

              Ozzies are not as stupid as their National Government.

        • Tricledrown 14.7.1.2

          Incognito the Relaxed approach has got out of control in Sweden cases soar.

    • anker 14.8

      I think most NZders won't give a flying fuck about the legally bit, if the strategy is as successful as it appears it could be. The chance that NZ could be Covid19 free. Being able to live without fear of contracting the wretched virus will count for everything, especially as we see other countries who have lifted their lockdowns way too soon, have to go back into lockdown.

      We have done all retailers etc a huge favour in the lockdown. People were stopping going shopping cafes etc, in the week or two before lockdown……

  14. Incognito 15

    Simon, mate, it was pretty legal, just ask your buddies Steven or John.

  15. Dukeofurl 16

    This is how National handled the extraordinary provisions " to amend ANY Act or regulation ( 5 exceptions) by a stroke of the pen in the Canterbury Earthquakes Recovery Act, which gave minister Gerry Brownlee powers like Henry VIII

    Mr Temm said the Law Society also pointed to the provision in the Act which made it difficult or impossible for anyone to obtain a judicial ruling on whether the powers in the Act had been used appropriately.

    https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1009/S00365/law-society-comments-on-canterbury-earthquake-act.htm

    • Dennis Frank 16.1

      Cool, so the legal beagle they used to draft that clause was so clever they created a law so obscure that it bamboozled judges? An entertaining notion. I wonder if law professors have thrown it at their graduate students like some kind of free-range spider's web frisbee, to test the ability of the prosective beagles to extricate themselves with clarity of intellectual endeavour.

      I mean, read any legal document and you immediately see obfuscation is the name of the game. I sometimes read the conditions for using online software (probably the only person in western civilisation who does so). Just to count the number of paragraphs I can get thro before eyes get crossed and mind goes numb. To take that artistry up to the next level where even judges bail out is a demonstration of excellence. Truly subversive. Give that man/woman a knighthood/damehood.

  16. Marcus Morris 17

    Bridges will be singing to the Crosby Textor Song sheet. They will use every dirty trick available to them.

  17. Dukeofurl 18

    This is the provisions in the CERA legislation

    68 Appeal

    (1)There is no right of appeal against a decision of the Minister or the chief executive acting, or purporting to act, under this Act, except as provided in sections 69, 70, 79, and 80.

    (2)A proceeding must not be brought, and a court must not hear any proceeding, that is in breach of this section.

    (5)To avoid doubt, subsection (4) does not apply to or affect appeals or objections commenced under that Act before the commencement of this Act.

    (6)To avoid doubt, there is no right of appeal, whether under this Act or the Resource Management Act 1991, against any decision under section 17, 18, 21, 22, 24, 27, or 43.

  18. Tricledrown 19

    James throw flames then blame others lame trolling.

  19. observer 20

    When does the Epidemic Response Committee finish?

    No info I could see on the official Parliament website, it seems as if it is ongoing. That helps Simon Bridges (and therefore helps the government!) because rolling the leader and so replacing the committee chair would look terrible. The "expert witnesses" would be entitled to ask if they were wasting their time, and what kind of a show the Nats were running.

    So an unintended consequence is that Simon gets protected from his caucus. Let's keep the Committee going at level 2!

  20. mike 21

    Soimin got trashed today by Jacinda and Winston.

    He finished up arguing forcefully for a position that was the exact opposite to what he had be arguing beforehand

    He left after that!

    https://www.parliament.nz/en/watch-parliament/ondemand?itemId=212076

    • Grafton Gully 21.1

      I didn't get that but what I got was he was asking as he should whether the lockdown was legal and given the emergency powers the govt invoked I'm reassured but still think in some circumstances could be abused. It's not like a meteor on the way more a matter of informed scientific opinion whether lockdown should be done. We'll never know for sure because NZ unique so don't have credible control population. Personally I wish Bridges would start talking positively and offer a vision for the voters instead of endless carping and nit picking.

  21. RedBaronCV 22

    Why doesn't Simon ask the real question? How come most of the country is so poor that it doesn't have enough money to last for about 6 weeks of basic expenses?

    And all this stuff about deaths because of poor mental health caused by lockdown. This is the only time I have ever seen the RW the least bit concerned about the social outcomes of economic policy. Perhaps the "greed at all costs" needs a lot more intervention than we give it.

    For most of us this lock down is 28 to 60 days in a long lifetime and a few days one way or the other isn't going to be a big deal in the long term. He needs to get a sense of proportion ( along with a number of other attributes).

  22. Gosman 23

    Looks like most of the lockdown restrictions in the first 10 days of Level 4 were not actually legal.

    A bit embarrassing for the government there…

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12330349

    • adam 23.1

      Sheesh from the guy who wanted to overthrow a duly elected government becasue of a toilet paper shortage.

      I've been wondering Gossy, why have you not been calling for the overthrow of the US or Aussie governments becasue of their respective toilet paper shortage?

  23. Jeremy 24

    I guess you have to be a lawyer to understand how legal advice advising the Government/Police that the Health Act Orders did not empower them to enforce the lockdown, and then the Police subsequently knowingly arrest over 800 people (I believe it is so far) ultra vires, is somehow not in the public interest.

    I genuinely would like a lawyer to explain how they think that any legal professional opinion applies when no individuals or organisations are involved except Crown Law and Parliament both of whom are tax payer funded and serve at the expense and pleasure of the public. To me it doesn't seem the Privacy Act (if only including individuals and private organisations), the HRA or the BORA would be breached in any way, and if the public doesn't currently have the right to know, they damn well should do. If the Cabinet Manual is all that the hat is hanging on, then amend the damn Cabinet Manual to remind Cabinet from whence their power comes from.

    This lockdown has revealed that our OIA needs strengthening, and that the Sovereignty of Parliament must become subject to the Supreme Court who can strike down any laws that beach the BORA. Without an independent empowered Judiary, an Upper House or an Executive Branch with veto powers we are dangerously exposed to someone or group with the malicous intent that our current PM and Cabinet lacks.

    Additionally I think Labour would be ill advised if they tried to pass retrospective legislation again (the Electoral Finance Act still freshest in people minds as regards this type of legislation), especially given the growing anger as the economic contraction begins to bite. Along with the wrong legislation being passed last week it would start to resemble a Clown Show.

    • solkta 24.1

      Would that make for a Clown Crown or a Crown Clown?

    • Peter 24.2

      Every single piece of advice given to the Government or Police is in the public interest.

      I have seen calls for transparency over the past couple of years and demands that every detail should be available to the public of stuff that informs the Government.

      Let’s not trust them on anything? Let us be party to details of who spoke to whom, when and what was said?

  24. James ,clearly does not value lives only profit.

  25. McFlock 26

    I'm intrigued why some commentary focuses on section M (public places) rather than section F (isolate etc people as MO sees fit).

    All come out in the court case I guess.

  26. gsays 27

    While it is a stunt and a desperate attempt to get 'some runs on the board', there is a potential for this to cause problems if we have to re-enter Level 3or4 in the future. Either regionally or nationally.

    If 'compliance fatigue' is a thing now, imagine in 6 months time when we are getting used to our haircuts and murder-burgers.

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