On the 1st December 2019, in Wuhan City, in the central Chinese province of Hubei, cases of an unknown ‘sickness’ had been discovered. Near the end of December, Li Wenliang, a Wuhan-based ophthalmologist, warns his colleague doctors about a possible large outbreak of an illness that resides a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The Chinese government-run Police force told the man to stop “making false comments” immediately.
It’s now the 31st of December, where the World Health Organisation (WHO) was notified about the increasing cases of the ‘illness’. Onward from the 31st December 2019 – 5th January 2020, 44 patients with the ‘illness’ are reported to the WHO by Chinese authorities. More than half have links to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan. The market was forced to be closed in early January.
After a long-lasting & late notice from the WHO to the world about the new ‘illness’ to be named, the virus had spread rapidly throughout other countries around the world. At the end of January, Air New Zealand had issued an evacuation flight for New Zealanders from Wuhan to be flown back home immediately, shortly after; the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued the ‘illness’ to be a “public health emergency of international concern”.
The first case of Coronavirus in New Zealand was to happen on 28th February 2020, all of the borders and entry ports of New Zealand were closed to all non-residents at 11:59 pm on 19 March 2020, with returning citizens and residents being required to self-isolate.
New Zealand first went into lockdown on March 21st instantly from a level 2 to a 3 on the 23rd of March and then, at 11:59 pm on the 25th March, the alert level was moved to level a 4.
Now at a level, four lots of miscommunication happened with the whole alert system guidelines & rules mainly due to the media making “crappy headlines for clicks by rushing their media posts”.
Ex-Police Commissioner Mike Bush said that people would be greeted by the “friendly face” of the police during the four-week lockdown.
During the whole lockdown process from when it was announced to when it was fully in place, a re-law was passed on the 12th of April from the Health Act 1956 to judge Coronavirus (COVID-19) as a “quarantinable disease”, giving medical officers of health (those of public health officials appointed by the director-general of health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield) higher powers, backed by the New Zealand Police for use of reasonable measures, to impose conditions of isolation, quarantine or disinfection.
This means that a medical officer if authorised to do so by the Minister or if a state of emergency has been declared under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 or while an epidemic notice is in force,— can enforce these powers that include, for instance, “requiring a person to be isolated, quarantined, or disinfected”. Meaning that anyone returning from overseas flights, or close contacts of those who test positive for the Coronavirus, who will not voluntarily self-isolate for 14 days can be forced to do so. And medical officers of health also can order any premises to shut down immediately if they find anything they do not approve of in regards to the Health Act 1956.
And why should anyone have to follow what these medical officers of health say? mainly because the police are authorised to do anything reasonably necessary (and that includes the use of force) to make them do so/follow what they approve of. If you fail to not follow what they tell you to do, it is literally an offence, meaning you can be arrested, prosecuted, fined and (most likely) be imprisoned for a set time.
Police can also visit someones private home, or even their workplace without a warrant in most cases and remove a person (with force possible if the person fails to comply) or even shut down a workplace if Police/medical health officers suspect that the specific person may have the Coronavirus or links/connections to a spreader.
But if the police require a warrant to investigate rather than remove someone with reasonable action, they’d need a warrant for “searching purposes”.
It makes you think if the forces are being used appropriately in regards to the changes imposed on citizens and permanent residents of New Zealand under the Coronavirus lockdown. Will these actions be in place after the lockdown? can they still be enforced after the lockdown, apparently they can be as there is no current “un-do” plan to furthermore retract the new changes for the next two years?
Lastly, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern wants to introduce a new bill to be passed before the Coronavirus lockdown level two takes place, the bill is: COVID-19 Public Health Response Bill
Another example of the complete urgency the government has given for the Police is the powers is to: “enable enforcement of the measures in orders, the Police are given a power to enter premises, including private dwellinghouses and marae, without a warrant if they have reasonable grounds to believe that people have gathered there in contravention of an order and entry is necessary for the purpose of giving people a direction to comply with the order (for example, giving an order to disperse). Enforcement officers can enter without a warrant any premises other than private dwellinghouses and marae if they have reasonable grounds to believe that a person is failing to comply with any aspect of an order.”
Intentionally failing to comply with a section 11 order and the penalty is imprisonment for up 6 months or a fine of up to $4,000. This clause also creates an infringement offence of failing to comply with a section 11 order and the penalty is an infringement fee of $300 or a fine imposed by a court not exceeding $1,000
One of the least appropriate things is the increased police powers, over certain ‘classes’ of people. Health is now in the Government/Police state hands meaning your freedom of health choices for ‘health care’ are being taken away. Sure, if you want to stop parties over the lockdown periods; this is okay but what’s no okay is the dangerous powers given out that could be abused; like it’s candy growing on trees.
The great news is that the bill lasts for two years, but that could mean a lot of things; only if the virus has completely disappeared. Maybe the bill should only last 6months instead?
“Repeal of this Act, this Act is repealed on the earlier of—
(a) the date that is 2 years after the date of its commencement; and
(b) a date appointed by the Governor-General by Order in Council.”
A petition was started in hopes to make a change to this bill & has over 33,000 signed participants at the time of writing this.
We will be making more articles on this to cover what the New Zealand Police have been up too in regards to the new ‘sanctions’ on NZ’s people throughout the Coronavirus lockdown level 0-4.Do you have a story? send newstips to [email protected]