The duplicity of this government is shocking and it shows no sign of mending its ways. The BFD has exposed a number of its lies already.
- The claim that they went hard and early
- The claim that the lockdown was legal and there were no gaps in the legislation.
- The claim that under level 2 a maximum of 10 people are allowed at religious services.
Yesterday, National Party MP Simeon Brown broke the news that the government had hidden the truth about the number of people allowed at religious services. This deception echoes how they led the public to believe that the forced lockdown was legal (it wasn’t) and that the police had the power to enforce it (they didn’t).
Yet again we have been fed a lie, the latest one almost as big as the one claiming that they went hard and early when in fact they went soft and late.
The lie we were told is that a maximum of ten people are allowed under level 2 to attend a religious service when the truth is that up to 100 people are allowed. Why was this kept from us and why was the lie perpetrated? Why did the government not want churches, mosques and temples to know this?
Once again it has been revealed that the government’s actions appear to be unlawful according to their own regulations!
The COVID-19 website and the Prime Minister have both said that the maximum number of people allowed at a religious service is 10.
However, this does not match with the government regulations just published under the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Level 2) Order 2020, which has been issued under section 9 and section 11 of the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act, which in turn had been rushed through Parliament last week.
Remember, the government said that these Regulations form the basis for what is allowed and not allowed under Level 2.
Under the Regulations:
– There is no specific mention of religious services, either in the definitions of “higher-risk gatherings” (which are not allowed) or “lower-risk gatherings” (which are limited to 10 people). Those can be found in clauses 15 – 18 of the Regulations.
– It actually appears that religious services aren’t even considered “gatherings” at all, under the Regulations, as the definition of “gatherings” excludes “businesses and services”.
– We can confirm this when we see that the definition of “businesses or services” includes “voluntary or not-for-profit services” (at clause 4 of the Regulations).
– The end result of all this is that the venues of religious services would operate in the same way as “event facilities” such as cinemas, theatres, stadiums, concert venues, conference venues, and casinos (at clause 11(1)(a)(iv)).
If the above interpretation is correct, then any religious service can operate as long as it follows the provisions in clause 11(2)(a)-(c), ie:
- All people in attendance must remain one metre apart from everyone else (clause 11(2)(a)).
- Friends or family in a group of ten or fewer may sit together, less than one metre apart.
- Records must be kept to enable contact tracing of those in attendance, including full name, address and contact phone number or email, as well as date and time they arrived and left (clause 11(2)(b)).
- No more than 100 people may be permitted at any one time, not including workers (clause 11(2)(c)), which are defined in clause 4.
If refreshments are offered after the service, clause 12 of the Regulations will apply:
- No more than 100 people to be in attendance at any one time not including workers (clause 12(2)(a)).
- Each person must be seated at a table (clause 12(2)(b)) – so no standing around or mingling in that manner.
- Not more than 10 people at a table together (clause 12(2)(c)).
- Tables to be at least one metre apart (Clause 12(2)(d)).
- Only one worker serves at any table (clause 12(2)(e)).
- Peoples’ details must be recorded to enable contact tracing (clause 12(2)(f)).
National MP Simeon Brown has called on the government to clarify the matter urgently, as their public position and the official website “do not stack up with the Regulations they have ordered.”
He has also called on the government to “release any internal Police guidance on these matters.”
As fellow writer Dieuwe de Boer said to me sarcastically yesterday when the news first broke of the latest deception:
” You can rest easy knowing that absolutely everything that they’ve done so far has been unlawful. What should keep you up at night should be the fact that they’ll get away with it AND get re-elected.”
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