Facebook recently removed the page of a New Zealand political party (the page belonging to new political party Advance New Zealand) just two days before the general election (October 17, 2020). [1]  To the best of my knowledge this is the only time NZ’s history that Facebook has removed the page of a political party. The removal of Advance New Zealand’s Facebook page came a day after the NZ Herald online reported that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) had upheld a complaint about an election flyer produced by the party. [2]   

The ASA is an organisation that is primarily funded by levies from the advertising industry and media and states that its “primary function” is “to self-regulate advertising in New Zealand”. [3] Its rulings do not have the force of law.

The ASA apparently considers that one sentence in the Advance NZ flyer is “not socially responsible”.  The sentence is quoted in the NZ Herald online article as follows:  “Stop the attack on Kiwi freedoms by removing laws that force mandatory testing, mandatory vaccinations, and forced entry into homes without a warrant.” [2]  

According to the ASA (as reported in the NZ Herald): “The likely consumer takeout of the statement is there is current legislation that authorises “forced mandatory testing, mandatory vaccinations, and forced entry into homes without a warrant,” [2]  

In relation to this statement, the author of the article in the NZ Herald comments: “… there is no law forcing mandatory testing or vaccines in New Zealand.” [2]  

So, what is the truth of the matter?  Does the law in NZ currently allow for forced mandatory testing, mandatory vaccinations, and forced entry into homes without a warrant, as the Advance New Zealand flyer claims?

Does NZ law allow for mandatory testing?

Let’s consider mandatory testing.

Section 11 of the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 Act does provide for the Minister [of Health] or the  Director-General [of Health] to “make an order” for “1 or more of the following purposes”.

One of those purpose specified in the Act is the following:  “report for medical examination or testing in any specified way or in any specified circumstances” [4]

So, on this basis it would appear that the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 Act does provide for mandatory testing of an individual or population should an order to this effect be made by the Minister of Health or the Director-General of Health.  This aspect of the law may not currently be in general use but it seems clear that the law could be used to enforce mandatory testing.  A law that provides for mandatory medical examinations or medical tests is obviously in conflict with the human right to make decisions about one’s own medical care. 

Unfortunately, this human right to make decisions about medical care without coercion is already being infringed in NZ. The current policy is for everyone who enters NZ to spend two weeks in a Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) facility. These facilities have been set up in hotels and are staffed by a combination of civilian and military personnel.

People who are in Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) facilities are currently denied permission to leave after the standard fourteen day quarantine period unless they submit to testing, as you can see in a Facebook Live video made by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in which she says, “We are now also mandating testing”. [5] (Exemptions to the testing regime which Jacinda are apparently being made for small children and people who have certain medical conditions.)  [5] 

People in these MIQ facilities are now charged for their stay [6] so the refusal to let healthy people leave these facilities after the usual incubation period for the virus could be considered to be a form of extortion.    

Does NZ law allow for forced entry into homes without a warrant?

Now let’s consider whether or not the law in NZ provides for forced entry into homes without a warrant.  

 Section 20 of the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 states:

“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 COVID-19 order.” (Clause 1)

Clause 2 states:  “However, subsection (1) does not apply to a private dwellinghouse.”

However Clause 3 states:  

“A constable may enter a private dwellinghouse without warrant only if they have reasonable grounds to believe that people have gathered there in contravention of a COVID-19 order and entry is necessary for the purpose of giving a direction under section 21.|

And Clause 4 states:   “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.”  [7]

Based on these clauses it seems quite clear that the statement in the Advance New Zealand flyer regarding the law providing for forced entry into homes without a warrant is truthful.

Does NZ law allow for mandatory vaccination?

Now, let’s consider whether the law provides for forced vaccination.

The COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 does not mention vaccination.

However Section 11  of the Act makes no limits on the orders that Minister of Health or the  Director-General of Health may choose to make.  On this basis, the Minister of Health or the Director-General of Health could make a vaccine mandatory. 

Also, Housing Minister Megan Woods (Labour) was filmed in Parliament during the Committee stage of the COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill on August 5, 2020 stating that the legislation was “future-proofed” so that it “could in the future include the requirement that someone is vaccinated”.

This being said, the NZ Herald notes that: Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has even gone on the record to say a vaccine to Covid-19 would not be mandatory.” [1]

Moreover, in the Labour party’s response to the No Forced Vaccines NZ 2020 Election Questionnaire, includes the phrase:

 “Jacinda Ardern indicated she does not support mandatory vaccination in New Zealand: ‘it is on everyone’s individual risk — if they choose not to [vaccinate] they are putting their own health at risk’.” [9]

The party’s answer to the question of whether Labour supported an amendment to the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 to specifically ensure that the Act could not be used to facilitate a policy of mandatory vaccination was as follows:

“Such an amendment is unnecessary, as section 11 of the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 is unlikely to meet the threshold for overriding section 11 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 – the right to refuse to undergo medical treatment.” [9]

It seems that there are some contradictory opinions within the Labour party as to whether or not mandatory vaccination for Covid-19 is desirable.

It is encouraging that Jacinda Ardern (who is likely to continue to be New Zealand’s Prime Minister after the election on October 17) recognises that people have the right to refuse medical treatment.

However, this does not change the fact that the law, as it stands could be used to enforce a policy of mandatory vaccination should any future Minister of Health or Director General of Health decide to make an order mandating a Covid-19 vaccine on the basis that they consider such an order to be “likely to contribute to preventing the risk of the outbreak or spread of COVID-19”.  [8] 

Unfortunately it seems that New Zealand does indeed have “laws that force mandatory testing, mandatory vaccinations, and forced entry into homes without a warrant” as Advance New Zealand’s flyer states.  

New Zealanders deserve to have laws that protect our rights to make our own decisions about medical examinations, medical tests and medical treatment rather than a law like the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 which provides a legal framework to for the violation of these rights.

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Website editor’s note: No Forced Vaccines made a submission on the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 and this may be read at the link below: http://www.noforcedvaccines.org/uncategorized/submission-on-the-covid-19-public-health-response-act-by-no-forced-vaccines/

The results of the No Forced Vaccines 2020 Election Questionnaire may be read at this link: http://www.noforcedvaccines.org/news/results-of-the-no-forced-vaccines-nz-2020-election-questionnaire/

If you would like to join No Forced Vaccines 

References:

[1]  https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/advance-nz-partys-facebook-page-removed-just-days-before-election/XLKCVSZF7LRV6LKOMWVITWWAXI/

[2] https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/advance-new-zealand-ordered-to-pull-misleading-advertisement/3CB7YQADCYYHHEII3U73E2JP4A/ (In relation to this article, it is interesting to note that a complaint was also made to the ASA in relation to a flyer produced by the Labour party for an electorate on Auckland’s North Shore. According to the article, the flyer did contain a factual error and this was acknowledged by the Labour party. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/labour-party-pulls-misleading-advertising-in-northcote-following-asa-complaint/PI46MEBCKZ6C2PK4XRIBB7QGUU/ Note to overseas readers: The Labour party is the major party in the coalition government that was formed after the 2017 election and Prime Minister Minister Jacinda Ardern is its leader.)

[3] https://www.asa.co.nz/industry/self-regulation-industry-levy/

[4] http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2020/0012/latest/LMS344177.html

[5]    https://greatgameindia.com/new-zealand-quarantine-camps/

[6]  https://www.miq.govt.nz/being-in-managed-isolation/charges-for-managed-isolation/

[7] http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2020/0012/latest/whole.html#LMS344192

[8]  Under Section 11 you may read the following:

“(1)The Minister or Director-General may in accordance with section 9 or 10 (as the case may be) make an order under this section for 1 or more of the following purposes:

“(a) to require persons to refrain from taking any specified actions that contribute or are likely to contribute to the risk of the outbreak or spread of COVID-19, or require persons to take any specified actions, or comply with any specified measures, that contribute or are likely to contribute to preventing the risk of the outbreak or spread of COVID-19, including (without limitation) requiring persons to do any of the following:”  http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2020/0012/latest/LMS344177.html  (emphasis added)

[9] http://www.noforcedvaccines.org/news/results-of-the-no-forced-vaccines-nz-2020-election-questionnaire/

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NB: If you are not a member of No Forced Vaccines but would like to become a member please see the following link: http://www.noforcedvaccines.org/join-us/

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/labour-party-pulls-misleading-advertising-in-northcote-following-asa-complaint/PI46MEBCKZ6C2PK4XRIBB7QGUU/