from Sue Grey
The Epidemic Preparedness Act gives special powers to the Prime Minister when she is satisfied that the effects of an outbreak of a stated quarantinable disease (within the meaning of the Health Act 1956) are likely to disrupt or continue to disrupt essential governmental and business activity in New Zealand (or stated parts of New Zealand) significantly.”
The irony, says Sue Grey, Co-leader of the NZ Outdoors Party and public rights lawyer, is that almost all of the disruption so far is from the government response, rather than from the virus.
How far can the government lawfully go?
This week’s further extension of Covid-19 level 4 restrictions by the NZ government has frustrated small businesses, families, patients waiting for medical treatment, outdoors people and constitutional lawyers alike.
Is our government acting lawfully, or has it over-reached? Has it acted on sound if shifting evidence, or has it been bamboozeled by media hype, and overreacted?
Is this massive social experiment in the best interests of the public of New Zealand, or has it been diverted by those with other agendas? Has the focus on “spreading the curve” and more recently on “eliminating” COVID-19 been proportionate to the original risk? Has the cure created more harm than the original risk, due to the social and economic effects, and the loss of our once cherished rights and freedoms?
Epidemic Preparedness Act
The government relies on three laws: A) The Epidemic Preparedness Act, B) Special powers in Part 3 of the Health Act; and C) the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act.
A: The Epidemic Preparedness Act
The Epidemic Preparedness Act at section 5, gives special powers to the Prime Minister: “With the agreement of the Minister of Health, the Prime Minister may, by notice in the Gazette, declare that he or she is satisfied that the effects of an outbreak of a stated quarantinable disease (within the meaning of the Health Act 1956) are likely to disrupt or continue to disrupt essential governmental and business activity in New Zealand (or stated parts of New Zealand) significantly.”
Covid 19 was notified as a quarantinable disease on 11 March 2020. http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2020/0031/latest/whole.html
Just eight days later, on 18 March 2020, Covid-19 was de-classified by the UK authorities. This meant it was no longer regarded a highly infectious disease.
“Now that more is known about COVID-19, the public health bodies in the UK have reviewed the most up to date information about COVID-19 against the UK HCID criteria. They have determined that several features have now changed; in particular, more information is available about mortality rates (low overall), and there is now greater clinical awareness and a specific and sensitive laboratory test, the availability of which continues to increase.
The Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) is also of the opinion that COVID-19 should no longer be classified as an HCID.”
The evidence is that while Covid-19 has triggered an extreme level of media interest, the death rate from the Covid, (at around 0.1%), is significantly less than the 1-10% that was first estimated.
Further, the overall death rate in Europe this season is similar to the death rate over the last five years. It appears that many deaths are being reported as deaths “from” Covid, when in other years they would be reported as heart attacks or pneumonia. The statistics confuse death “with” covid and death “from” covid.
COVID-19 has reportedly killed 14 New Zealanders over the last six weeks or so. The annual death rate in New Zealand is approximately 35,000 or close to 100 people per day. There is an average of one death from heart disease every 90 minutes (an average of 16 per day). Covid-19 is responsible for only about 0.3% of the NZ deaths in this time frame.
Most of the COVID deaths were elderly and suffering from pre-existing medical conditions. In at least one case, the family has publicly challenged Covid being reported as the cause of death, reporting their father/grandfather died at home from a heart attack, which was falsely reported as a Covid death.
An Epidemic “likely to disrupt essential government and business activity”
Curiously the legal criteria for triggering the Epidemic Preparedness Act is not the severity of a disease, but “the effects being likely to disrupt essential government and business activity”.