Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced details of the next stage of lockdown, but New Zealanders won’t know until Monday when the country moves out of strict level 4 conditions.
Once in level 3, people will have to remain within their household bubble, but can expand it to include close family or caregivers. Workers will have to continue working from home if they can, and only businesses that operate within social distancing measures will be allowed to reopen.
Ardern has described level 3 as a “waiting room”, with significant restrictions remaining in place.
We have to wait and see if what we have done has worked. After a while, if we don’t show further signs of illness, we can go back to life that is a bit more normal. If we deteriorate, then it’s back to lockdown at level 4.
Regardless of when the current lockdown rules change, New Zealand’s government and authorities will retain exceptional powers over people’s lives until the country is no longer in a state of emergency. These powers – from telling people to stay home to potentially making vaccinations or testing mandatory – can infringe on several rights and liberties.
The intrusions has been relatively limited so far, but since emergency powers could continue beyond the level 4 lockdown, it’s worth knowing how that affects your rights now.
Freedoms of assembly and movement
New Zealand’s state of emergency was extended on Tuesday this week for a further seven days. Beyond the level 4 lockdown, which will continue at least until next Thursday, the state of emergency can either continue nationwide (in seven-day blocks) or be broken into local emergencies if a national level is no longer justified.