Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Committee summonses lockdown legal advice

The Epidemic Response Committee has today summonsed all legal advice on the lockdown from the Attorney-General, the Solicitor-General, and the Police Commissioner.

“There has been serious confusion about the legality of the lockdown and the powers available to Police in enforcing it”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Academics have publicly questioned the legal basis for the lockdown.

“A leaked email sent by Police Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement in the early days of Alert Level 4 suggests Police did not have sufficient powers to enforce the lockdown. There are now questions about whether Police officers exceeded their legal authority.

“There is overwhelming public interest in seeing this information. The people deserve to know on what basis they have had their civil liberties restricted. The advice is particularly relevant for business owners who have been shut down by the Police and citizens who have been turned away at checkpoints or arrested.

“In scrutinising the Government response to Covid-19, the Epidemic Response Committee represents the Parliament and New Zealanders. The Attorney-General, who has so far refused to release any information, must take this matter seriously.

“It is important that his Government lives up to its promise to be the most open and transparent administration in New Zealand’s history.”