Tag Archives: Covid-19

Covid Criminalisation

Angus Lindsay

Although there to protect us, many of the Government’s recent measures have widened the net of criminal justice. When we move into a post-Covid world, we should be critical of lingering policies that may remain.

Because of Covid-19, New Zealand police have been granted what have been described as unprecedented powers under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act (2002), the Health Act (1956) and the Summary Offences Act (1981).

Under these Acts, everyone is to be isolated/quarantined at their current place of residence except as permitted for ‘essential’ movements. This poses a significant change by temporarily criminalising everyday actions and activities such as exercise, seeing loved ones, road use and travel (except for ‘essential’ purposes), and buying consumer items like gaming consoles or sporting equipment even if contactless delivery is assured (yet alcohol and some designer clothes shops have skirted these regulations).

To ‘protect’ the public, police are able to do “anything reasonably necessary, including the use of force, to compel, enforce, or ensure compliance”. This includes directing any person to stop an activity seen to possibly contribute to the emergency.

Continue reading Covid Criminalisation

Freedom from Lockdown

Sarah Monod de Froideville

Just another two business days, she said. Well, actually, the weekend and the day following it too (for Anzac Day). As Jacinda Ardern announced we’d remain at level 4 until the morning of Tuesday 28 April, I swear I could hear the collective groan.

Everyone wants to get out of lockdown. The boredom, cooped-upness and trauma in discovering just how design challenged one’s colleagues truly are (I have a friend who describes Zoom meetings as a form of intimate assault).

Well, I don’t want it to end. I have found a freedom in lockdown, but in sharing it I have to make a confession. I, like the Health Minister, nation’s surfies and thousands of others, am a lockdown offender.

I didn’t plan on it, but have been doing my daily walks a little bit outside my local neighbourhood, and mostly at night. I’ve been walking and walking for long periods in the dark because, for once in my life, I feel like it’s safe to do so.

It is remarkable to be in the outdoors at night and just be; without having to walk briskly, keys in hand and cellphone at the ready, having to cognitively identify every sound.

When we reach level 2, it is not likely I—or any other woman—will ever have the same opportunity again. Every woman understands the effort we put into being hypervigilant in a world that doesn’t promise us our security.

Continue reading Freedom from Lockdown

Fear, Crime and Justice in a Time of Pandemic

We talk a lot about fear in criminology. More precisely, we reflect on how our political, legal, economic and socio-cultural systems create conditions in which we fear certain people or certain events more than others. Fears are constructed. They determine what we criminalise or who we decide to surveil, police, judge or incarcerate. Fears can provide a cover for crime and justice responses that are racist, discriminatory and undermining of protections. 

States and businesses have long been adept in mobilising fears. A catalogue of state and corporate harms – slavery, colonial violence, abuse in ‘care’, mass incarceration, repressive border controls, among other activities – has been readily operationalised, commodified and legitimised through fears of the ‘other’: the ‘aliens’, the ‘dangerous’ and the ‘monsters’. In settler-colonial New Zealand, this othering has functioned to control and violate Māori in diverse ways.

We have also repeatedly seen that when fears run high (such as following an unusual violent crime) we rush through ‘urgency’ legislation and amp up punitive powers. Policing and security are regularly over-emphasised as responses to wider social problems. 

Fear-based responses largely revolve around distancing.

Continue reading Fear, Crime and Justice in a Time of Pandemic