Green Party seeks post-enactment review for COVID Bill

Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

The Green Party is calling on Labour to commit to a review of the COVID legislation that will pass through Parliament today under urgency.

“While we support the bill passing through urgency today, it is important people are still given an opportunity to have their say on its implications. The best way Labour can make that happen is to commit to a review,” says Green COVID-19 Response spokesperson Dr Elizabeth Kerekere.

The Covid-19 (Vaccination) Legislation Amendment Bill will pass through all stages under urgency today, and the Green Party will put forward a motion for it to be referred to the Health Select Committee for a post-enactment review.

“The Green Party is cautious about supporting laws being passed under urgency, but these are exceptional times. We recognise that the changes being made are necessary to help protect people from COVID-19 and prevent the health system from being overwhelmed.

“However, there is no denying this bill will have far reaching implications. And so as a democratic country it is only right we have the opportunity to reflect and debate the bill’s impact, with enough time for full consideration and changes.

“When legislation is passed under urgency without the normal scrutiny of select committee and public submission process, post-enactment review is a good way of ensuring people can still have a say. Based on the feedback received, the Health Committee can then recommend changes to the law.

“As a result of the way Labour has managed the vaccination rollout, Māori have some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. This bill will significantly curtail the freedoms of people who are not vaccinated, meaning it is Māori who are at the greatest risk of being stigmatised and left behind. A post-enactment review of the law is essential for Labour to uphold its obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

“Labour needs to support this motion to instruct Parliament’s Health Select Committee to carry out such a review. This will give people greater confidence that Parliament can make the right decisions to help protect their health and wellbeing.”

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