The Government’s Bill to give effect to the Traffic Light Framework shows a Government that is contemptuous of Parliament, contemptuous of the New Zealand people and contemptuous of the rule of law, says National’s COVID-19 Spokesperson Chris Bishop.
Respected public law scholars like Dr Dean Knight have called the Bill a “constitutional disgrace” and they are right.
In under 24 hours the Government has rammed a Bill through Parliament under urgency to give itself the power to regulate broad swathes of New Zealanders’ lives. 40 per cent of the New Zealand workforce will purportedly be covered by a vaccine mandate but the legal power to do this has had basically no scrutiny.
National got a copy of the Bill on Monday night. There has been no select committee scrutiny and no public submissions. There is no Regulatory Impact Statement. Policy papers relating to the Framework and the Bill won’t be available until late January 2022.
This is a disgraceful way to make important law. The Government had plenty of time to get the details of the Framework right and get the legislation into the Parliament so it could be scrutinised.
The urgency of the Bill reflects a Government with no plan for delta. The Government assumed elimination would work, and when it failed it had no back-up plan. Since August the government has been scrambling, making it up week by week. The framework was only announced in October and legislation only started to be drafted after that.
There are real concerns about the way the legislation has been drafted. Enormous, broad powers are given to the government and massive parts of the framework are simply being left to Ministers and officials to sort out later.
This is incompetence and arrogance on a grand scale. Parliament and the people of New Zealand deserve much better.
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