Even in a time of crisis, people have human rights that must be upheld.
The government sets out its powers to control us in order to control the COVID19 outbreak in specific recent legislation, as well as in the 1956 Heath Act.
But crises can bring out the latent Fascist in all of us. The longer we stay in lockdown, the longer we are deprived (for rational reasons) of some human rights, and the grumpier people can get. It’s always a balance and the balance always changes. Here’s a summary of our human rights in New Zealand.
Here’s the Bill of Rights Act (BORA).
Here’s some a few of those stated BORA rights, with a menu of of anti-pandemic measures against them.
Right to Refuse to Undergo Medical Treatment; and Right not to be subjected to scientific or medical experimentation
What about compulsory vaccination? That comes with a set of authoritarian steps, each entailing a gradated loss of human rights:
What about putting testing and vaccination information onto the biometric data of all New Zealand passports?
What about internal border controls, beyond the temporary Police blockades: internal passports with biometric data for all people travelling between regions in New Zealand. Start with passing between the North and South Islands, then just take it further with regional roadblocks.
Denial of Access to public services, including government services, education, public places, employment, housing and accommodation
What about limiting social services to those who object to the vaccine?
Children’s rights are spelled out here.
What about a ban and criminalise any speech denying that vaccines are a good idea, including on social media platforms and news outlets?
Beyond BORA, we get extra rights for which the COVID19 legislation can have a further crack beyond the current enforcement measures:
Rights as a New Zealand Citizen, including right to travel overseas freely and to return
What about the state rationing travel, such as by issuing permits for all travel outside of the country unless for business, medical specialist, or compassionate grounds?
No legal obligation by a retailer to accept cash, hence no right to pay in cash
What about a requirement that all retail stores and businesses only use pay machines with a Paywave? No more eftpos touch pads. That would require a whole bunch of subsidy for marginal businesses like charity stores, and would pretty much eradicate roadside stalls, and would really hit markets
Ability of SuperGoldCard holders and students to travel on public transport
What about compulsory mask use on all transport and public areas, at all ages, at all times
Rights and Obligations under Health and Safety At Work Act 2015
What about enforcing all my colleagues to be vaccinated? Alter the Workplace Health and Safety Act to make workplace risk obligations clearer with vaccination and testing a part of Business unit operator strict liability.
At some point a good Opposition is going to have to say: no more rights v common welfare trade offs. Maybe even government MPs will start saying it.