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  #2480310 10-May-2020 10:51
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GV27:

 

BarTender:

 

To me that view is abhorrent, as I could have very easily seen if Parliament had spent two weeks drafting and debating the necessary law changes this country would be following the trajectory many other western 1st world countries are following now.

 

 

This sort of stuff can be done under urgency. In fact, given some of the cynical reasons for urgency in the last twenty years, this is pretty much the exact thing urgency could and should be used for.

 

I think the legality is important given the over-arching effect of the lockdown on many things we acknowledge as being basic human rights. I know you can legislate over the top of BORA but if we get to a stage where Governments don't even need to use laws to set these things aside then we are setting ourselves up for a massive potential abuse of power without any real consequence. And personally, I believe Governments of any kind shouldn't get to pick and choose what rules they follow.  

 

However, I'd rather see the whole-of-government response dealt with at a Royal Commission level, given the scale of the response and the impact. Makes no sense to have a dozen different ministries all trying to decide what could have been done better when they're all linked. 

 

So do you think National and ACT were working in a constructive way focused on the best outcome for the whole country prior to the 19th of March?

 

Strawmanning your argument I could easily see the following happening:

 

Labour/Greens/NZF introduce legislation on the 12rd of March or earlier saying we need to lockdown for four weeks either very soon or when a certain threshold is reached. National significantly push back saying it is over-reach and will hurt the economy, huge uproar including protests encouraged by the media and certain outlets. Then since the National base start off annoyed there is far less compliance and we have more Matamata or Invercargill wedding clusters.

 

Can you not easily see that happening? As I could.

 

Watch the RNZ interview... this would have been very common across NZ:

 

https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/checkpoint/audio/2018745748/matamata-bar-owner-opens-up-about-covid-19-cluster-outbreak

 

This situation IMHO it was far more prudent to ask for forgiveness than permission as the whole National front bench were in general behaving terribly.





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  #2480387 10-May-2020 11:50
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GV27:

 

This sort of stuff can be done under urgency. In fact, given some of the cynical reasons for urgency in the last twenty years, this is pretty much the exact thing urgency could and should be used for.

 

 

 

 

I 100% agree with you on the cynicism with which urgency has been used in the past. However I feel that under the circumstances here there would not have been time - even working round the clock - to draft a bill that would make any difference. It's not just a matter of writing some words down. First you have to know what the gaps are that you need to address, and the lawyers will be arguing about this alone for weeks. Then you have to draft a bill that addresses them and make sure the lawyers are happy with that too. Only then can you pass it under urgency in parliament.

 

In the meantime a month has gone and the situation is already out of control rendering the whole process moot.

 

As the judge who denied the case of the first two guys who sued has already pointed out, the law, on the face of it, appears to have given the government powers with exactly the latitude to do what it did. So there is no reason to think that a reasonable government could not in good faith use those powers to do what they have done.

 

It's perfectly fine for us to come back now and examine it at leisure to see what could have been done better. But having worked in an industry where you have both hard and fast rules about what you can or can't do and when you can do it and the imperative to resolve a crisis 20 minutes ago, I can tell you without a doubt that it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

 

Where it gets messy is that that there is an argument that a reasonable person could make, that it might be worth allowing more illness to reduce the economic damage. I don't buy that argument, both because that is, ultimately, a weasel way of saying "it's ok for people to die if saving them costs money" but also because it's pretty clear that ultimately lots of people getting sick is devastating to the economy anyway - see, USA. Nevertheless, it's an argument that could be made, and there's no way to go back in time to see how things might have played out if we had done differently.

 

Regardless of what the court decides, the Prime Minister, the rest of cabinet, and the senior health officials such as Dr. Bloomfield are going to have this on their consciences for the rest of their lives, always wondering whether they did the right thing. Could they have saved more lives? Could they have saved more jobs?

 

I expect that will weight far more heavily upon them than anything a Supreme Court judge could write. And it is something that the critics won't ever have to deal with. They can jeer from the sidelines safe in the knowledge that nobody is going to put them to the test.





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  #2480400 10-May-2020 12:16
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SaltyNZ: I can tell you without a doubt that it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

 

This times 1000%. If the world is burning around you and you need to make a decision based on the best information you have to hand and just get it done, you follow your gut and do it even if it could be wrong as waiting and doing nothing always has a far worse outcome.

 

I personally blame a LOT of the discontent we have right now on National.

 

If they had got onboard on the 4th March, stopped acting in a petulant way as if a pandemic was politics as usual and in the best interests in the country I personally believe Labour would have acted sooner. But they blew it that day and every subsequent day after that until the 19th.

 

Labour had to delay, listen to the scientists and take the country on a journey educating everyone as they went until the alert levels were introduced on the 21st.

 

To me it was a master class in effective communication to 5 Million people.





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  #2480544 10-May-2020 14:29
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SaltyNZ:

 

I expect that will weight far more heavily upon them than anything a Supreme Court judge could write. And it is something that the critics won't ever have to deal with. They can jeer from the sidelines safe in the knowledge that nobody is going to put them to the test.

 

 

And we will find out in twenty years time when the PM writes her memoir, which should be a bestseller then.





 

 

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  #2480768 10-May-2020 18:46
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SaltyNZ:

 

GV27:

 

This sort of stuff can be done under urgency. In fact, given some of the cynical reasons for urgency in the last twenty years, this is pretty much the exact thing urgency could and should be used for.

 

 

I 100% agree with you on the cynicism with which urgency has been used in the past. However I feel that under the circumstances here there would not have been time - even working round the clock - to draft a bill that would make any difference. It's not just a matter of writing some words down. First you have to know what the gaps are that you need to address, and the lawyers will be arguing about this alone for weeks. Then you have to draft a bill that addresses them and make sure the lawyers are happy with that too. Only then can you pass it under urgency in parliament.

 

In the meantime a month has gone and the situation is already out of control rendering the whole process moot.

 

 

The reason why I know this is incorrect is that the government passed an omnibus bill on the 25th of March for:

 

"The single broad policy objective of this omnibus bill is to put in place the necessary arrangements in order to implement COVID-19 Alert Level 4, or where arrangements are essential to respond effectively to COVID-19."

 

https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_96378/covid-19-response-urgent-management-measures-legislation

 

If they screwed it up then this needs to be understood, dealt with and not allowed to occur in the future.

 

There is a heap of evidence of government departments wilfully breaching the law (here, here). This is in no way acceptable, or unsurprising if they are not held to account.

 

If the government needs broader powers the government has the power to do this as it holds the numbers in the house. This can be via a bill giving itself broad powers for a limited time (which is what happened in Christchurch) or more specific bills. These aren't particularly complex to draft as they have been done before and can be passed in 24-48 hours. 


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  #2480803 10-May-2020 19:50
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Handle9:

 

The reason why I know this is incorrect is that the government passed an omnibus bill on the 25th of March for:

 

"The single broad policy objective of this omnibus bill is to put in place the necessary arrangements in order to implement COVID-19 Alert Level 4, or where arrangements are essential to respond effectively to COVID-19."

 

https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_96378/covid-19-response-urgent-management-measures-legislation

 

If they screwed it up then this needs to be understood, dealt with and not allowed to occur in the future.

 

 

 

 

Sure, I completely agree. And if they did screw it up, that just goes to reinforce my point that rushing through legislation is a terrible idea.

 

 

 

 

There is a heap of evidence of government departments wilfully breaching the law (here, here). This is in no way acceptable, or unsurprising if they are not held to account.

 

 

 

 

Be that as it may, the actions of government departments, or at least not these ones in particular, have no real bearing on the overarching question of whether the government had the authority to enact a lockdown. Should the health department have let the guy see his dying father? Yeah, I think so. They could easily have gone back into quarantine afterwards. But that doesn't mean that a general lockdown was wrong.





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  #2480864 11-May-2020 01:42
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SaltyNZ:

 

Be that as it may, the actions of government departments, or at least not these ones in particular, have no real bearing on the overarching question of whether the government had the authority to enact a lockdown. Should the health department have let the guy see his dying father? Yeah, I think so. They could easily have gone back into quarantine afterwards. But that doesn't mean that a general lockdown was wrong.

 

 

You're confusing the issue of whether the lockdown was right with whether it was legally implemented. 

 

The reason I mentioned the two examples above is that it shows the over reaching of authority of the government (via it's departments). This is fairly typical "computer says no nonsense" but it still isn't acceptable and will get worse if the courts don't stop it.


 
 
 
 


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  #2480906 11-May-2020 08:23
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Handle9:

 

SaltyNZ:

 

Be that as it may, the actions of government departments, or at least not these ones in particular, have no real bearing on the overarching question of whether the government had the authority to enact a lockdown. Should the health department have let the guy see his dying father? Yeah, I think so. They could easily have gone back into quarantine afterwards. But that doesn't mean that a general lockdown was wrong.

 

 

You're confusing the issue of whether the lockdown was right with whether it was legally implemented. 

 

The reason I mentioned the two examples above is that it shows the over reaching of authority of the government (via it's departments). This is fairly typical "computer says no nonsense" but it still isn't acceptable and will get worse if the courts don't stop it.

 

 

Whereas I am looking at it the other way. The two examples you cited I think can reasonably be explained as Government Departments working in the way they always have and didn't pivot to the demands of a few privileged folks.

 

- MSD. The organisation has always taken a particularly militant view of giving money out to anyone as they deal with the jobless all day every day and are hardened because of it, plus they have taken on a lot of new front line staff and retrained staff in non-front line areas to deal with the massive influx of calls from the front line. Now people who have never found themselves jobless are asking MSD for money when they have a redundancy payout and the person at the other end of the phone responds "Meh, I have been dealing with people way worse off than you today. Spend the money you have right now and when that runs out come back to us." They are shocked to be treated that way and go to the media.

 

I agree it is probably a good time to make sure the internal MSD workflow process to determine if someone is eligible needs to be checked and if a front line person needs additional training you can assume they now will be. But this could have happened any time irrespective of if it is a COVID related job loss or not when someone receives a redundancy payout. As the RNZ article notes the Social Security act change happened in 2018 so I don't see why this has anything to do with COVID.

 

- MoH. The intention and reasons should be abundantly clear to everyone why a minimum 14 day isolation when entering NZ is vitally important to the country even if the law hasn't been updated to reflect that. Again someone privileged with money and / or connections to take the case to the High Court says they don't agree and want to be released from lock down so they can see their dying parents. I completely understand the reason behind it but again it is a case of someone with money who is privileged enough to do something about it as they disagree with as their reason is more important than everyone else entering the country.

 

There is no way someone who is on the minimum wage would or could get the attention either of these cases received especially the MSD one in pre-covid days.

 

Perhaps this will mean those who are privileged will show some humility for those who are not, but I doubt it.





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  #2480911 11-May-2020 08:38
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BarTender:

 

Perhaps this will mean those who are privileged will show some humility for those who are not, but I doubt it.

 

 

Generosity from the rich?  

 

We're in for some "interesting times" - globally.

 

Tax reform is going to have to happen - for governments to dig themselves out of the holes they're now in. 

 

I think selling the concept of "a period of austerity" is going to go down like a cup of cold sick given the trillions of dollars poured in to prop up big business globally.  


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  #2480919 11-May-2020 08:53
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Fred99:

 

BarTender:

 

Perhaps this will mean those who are privileged will show some humility for those who are not, but I doubt it.

 

 

Generosity from the rich?  

 

We're in for some "interesting times" - globally.

 

Tax reform is going to have to happen - for governments to dig themselves out of the holes they're now in. 

 

I think selling the concept of "a period of austerity" is going to go down like a cup of cold sick given the trillions of dollars poured in to prop up big business globally.

 

I completely agree Tax reform must happen.

 

NZ is uniquely positioned for that IMHO as raising taxes and CGT or other wealth related taxes would be a lot more palatable and vocal demographics respond with "it will cause the wealthy to leave and no one will want to come here" will accurately receive the response of "cool story bro"





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  #2480947 11-May-2020 09:39
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I don't think the lockdown is wrong.  However, I'd still like to know about legality.  Judicial review looks like kicking the can down the road to me cf releasing the crown law advice.

 

People were fined and arrested and police entered dwellings under the assumption/assertion of legislated powers to do so.  

 

If that was wrong, there may be consequences - refunds, compensation ... 

 

 





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  #2480951 11-May-2020 09:45
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From a DPMC staffer

 

"There's no real need to defend. Because the public have confidence in what has been achieved and what the Govt is doing. Instead, we can dismiss,"

 

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/121465406/coronvirus-beehive-scrambled-to-contain-email-telling-ministers-to-dismiss-questions-about-covid19-response





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  #2480955 11-May-2020 09:55
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MikeAqua:

 

From a DPMC staffer

 

"There's no real need to defend. Because the public have confidence in what has been achieved and what the Govt is doing. Instead, we can dismiss,"

 

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/121465406/coronvirus-beehive-scrambled-to-contain-email-telling-ministers-to-dismiss-questions-about-covid19-response

 

 

Out of context. The quote is about queries regarding the documents released last Friday, not about the legality questioned here. 





 

 

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  #2480989 11-May-2020 10:43
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freitasm:

 

Out of context. The quote is about queries regarding the documents released last Friday, not about the legality questioned here. 

 

 

Speaks to attitude, which IMO opinion is relevant to this thread: We are popular, therefore we can dismiss criticism rather than respond.

 

The fact the govt is backpedalling and desperately attempting to reframe the email, suggests they have been caught out.

 

 





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  #2481005 11-May-2020 11:06
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Agreed Mike, 

I believe this has been a master class in controlling the narrative.  Bloomfield is fantastic at re-framing questions away from what was asked to a diplomatic response.  They really have dodged the fact the NZ was ill-prepaired.  

 

- Lack of early testing
- Lack of atypical epidemiology testing (started weeks after community spread)
- Subpar tracing systems
- PPE availability
- Influenza distribution issues
- Gross unfairness of industry that can open and those that cannot

The trouble for Labour will be in the next 90 days when unemployment sky rockets and mortgage defaults begin.  The pain for many Kiwis has not begun yet


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