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No Right Turn on scrutiny of the COVID-19 Bill

Written By: - Date published: 7:05 am, May 21st, 2020 - 8 comments
Categories: covid-19, disaster, human rights - Tags: , ,

Two posts from No Right Turn on the COVID-19 Bill.
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Friday, May 15, 2020

Some belated scrutiny

On Wednesday morning, Parliament passed the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020. Because it was passed under urgency, the Act did not receive the usual select committee scrutiny. But today the government moved a motion to have it scrutinised by the Finance and Expenditure Committee, with a report-back date of 27 July – just a few days before the Act’s first 90-day renewal comes up for a vote.

This is a good move, and I’m glad to see it happen. However, under the circumstances I would have preferred to see it scrutinised by the (opposition-dominated) Epidemic Response Committee – both because of the Act’s subject matter, and because the committee’s membership will mean it will receive far better scrutiny than in the busy, government-dominated FEC. Still, the bill will be looked at, and hopefully the public will be given the opportunity for submissions we were denied when it mattered.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Submit!

The Finance and Expenditure Committee is holding an inquiry into the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 which was rushed through Parliament last week, and has called for submissions. Submissions are due by Sunday, 28 June 2020. You can either submit online through the form above, or by posting dead trees to:

Committee Secretariat
Finance and Expenditure Committee
Parliament Buildings
Wellington

The Act provides a legal framework for necessary public health measures for the lockdown, but it also grants police some highly intrusive powers, without any in-built framework to protect human rights. These aspects have been opposed by both the Human Rights Commission and the NZ Council for Civil Liberties. Hopefully, this post-legislative scrutiny will provide a chance to correct any excesses.

8 comments on “No Right Turn on scrutiny of the COVID-19 Bill ”

  1. RedBaronCV 1

    Given the cops long track record of overusing power or just not bothering with the law I don't see that they can be trusted,

    Production orders and false information given to businesses to get details on Nicky Hager and others?

    Illegal facial scanning programme used.

    and all the rest.

    Nobody's head ever rolls, nothing ever changes and the list goes on and on. The current commissioner who doesn't seem to have even commented on the illegal scanning looks like he's going down the same path – hardly a model of dynamic principled leadership. Maybe an employment agency helped him in – who can trust a state services commission who may have sidelined a candidate who did not want to reward an officer at the centre of an employment dispute and who appears to have been complained about for doing his job..

    Sometimes they look sorta like the people they are meant to be policing or worse.

    • Ed1 1.1

      He did comment; while it happened before he was appointed he agreed that the privacy commissioner should have been consulted. I don't think more could be expected. The hard question is what should be done to avoid / prevent such activities in future.

      • RedBaronCV 1.1.1

        Consult the privacy commissioner -so what – that's just validating crap behaviour. Did anybody bother to actually destroy what they had collected? And this was just one instance of the crap behaviour that occurs on a regular basis.

        What about someone's head rolling in the police – so the message that they don't do this sort of illegal stuff gets out. As far as I can see no matter how far out of the lane they are nobody ever loses a job. but us taxpayers pay out

    • peterh 1.2

      Where are you coming from, of course he commented on the scanning, said it was before his watch, should have gone to privacy commision was done by 30 persons who agreed, in the main police officers Jacinda also commented said it should have passed hern talking about trust who can trust a posting that is not true

    • weka 2.1

      Interesting list. No Greens, which is a concern in this case.

      • RedBaronCV 2.1.1

        Parker suggested in parliament that Labour would give up one of their seats to the greens. But given the importance of this committee generally I would have thought they would have a permanent seat give the seats they hold.

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