Critics have cherrypicked aspects of court rulings on the Covid response – which saved thousands of lives – to wrongly paint it as illegal
In a judgment delivered this week, New Zealand’s high court found that elements of the country’s Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) system, the cornerstone of our world-leading pandemic response, were unlawful. The decision dropped to a good deal of delight. One well-known conservative commentator wrote: “So the courts have found the lockdown was illegal, the vaccine mandate was illegal and MIQ was illegal, so can anyone name a major aspect of the response that hasn’t been found to be illegal?”
That response is predictably mischievous – none of those measures were ruled “illegal” – but it typifies the response. Perhaps the best-known of the conservative commentators involved wrote: “Jacinda Ardern has been found by the courts to have abused her powers by illegally preventing New Zealand citizens from leaving & returning home.” That isn’t what the high court found, but accurate reporting is hardly the point. In New Zealand the political right is fighting a relentless battle to rewrite the history of New Zealand’s pandemic success.
Morgan Godfery (Te Pahipoto, Sāmoa) is a senior lecturer at the University of Otago and a columnist at Metro Continue reading...