The Government has a duty to New Zealanders to release the legal advice it has received about Police being able to enforce the lockdown rules, National’s Justice spokesperson Mark Mitchell says.
“When an entire country is in lockdown, the case for public interest could not be higher and far outweighs any decision to withhold the advice.
“We have never experienced a situation in this country where people’s civil liberties have been eroded so quickly and without clear direction. The public has a right to know the legal advice which allowed this to happen.
“There was huge confusion amongst the public about what the rules are with both the Prime Minister and former Police Commissioner contradicting each other.
The confusion and contradictions undermine confidence.
“Even now with the Section 70 notice from the Ministry of Health it’s important New Zealanders understand what powers the Police have and how those decisions have been made.
If we’re to keep the rules it’s only fair we know the reasoning behind them.
“Mr Parker arrogantly told the Epidemic Response Committee that if people don’t like the advice being withheld – they can take it to court.
People are getting sick of being locked down. We’re questioning the arbitrary nature of some of the restrictions. We need, and deserve, understanding and information, not arrogance.
“The public has been incredibly understanding and compliant during these extraordinary times. They have a right to know how decisions are being made that affect them. The Attorney General should waive legal privilege and release the advice.”
We are being asked to accept unprecedented restrictions on what we can do and where we can do.
People are losing businesses and jobs. Some are having medical diagnosis and treatment delayed. The battle against Covid-19 is being waged at a huge financial and social cost.
The government keeps telling us the lockdown with all the loss of choice and liberty it imposes, is necessary.
It’s only fair to let us know the legal basis for what we’re being expected accept.
Refusal to do so begs the question: what are they hiding?