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