The administration of left-wing New Zealand President Jacinda Ardern acted “unlawfully” last year when it closed the nation’s borders to its own citizens to curb transmission of the Chinese coronavirus, the High Court of Wellington ruled on Wednesday.
New Zealand’s federal government enforced a border control protocol known as “MIQ” from September 1 to December 17, 2021. MIQ required all people entering New Zealand to secure spots at state-run quarantine facilities before they would be allowed to enter the country. MIQ operated based on a lottery system that infringed on New Zealanders’ constitutional right to re-enter New Zealand, Wellington High Court Justice Jillian Mallon ruled on April 27.
“[T]he combination of the virtual lobby and the narrow emergency criteria operated in a way that meant New Zealanders’ right to enter their country could be infringed in some instances in a manner that was not demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society,” Justice Mallon stated in her 140-page written decision.
The New Zealand federal government’s enforcement of the unjust MIQ system meant it had acted “unlawfully, unreasonably and in breach of the Bill of Rights that states every New Zealand citizen has the right to enter New Zealand,” Justice Mallon further stated in her ruling.
The Wellington High Court found that “outside too-narrow emergency allocations, no-one was given priority in applying for MIQ,” New Zealand’s Stuff news website noted on April 28. MIQ’s lack of priority allowances meant many New Zealanders were forced to wait for months at a time to re-enter their home country as supply outstripped demand at state-run quarantine centers.
The April 27 court ruling came after an advocacy group called Grounded Kiwis in February asked the Wellington High Court to review the MIQ system (as it operated from September 1 to December 17, 2021).
“Grounded Kiwis sued the ministers of Health and Covid-19 [Chinese coronavirus] Response, and the chief executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, alleging MIQ breached the right of citizens to re-enter, and the Government acted unlawfully and unreasonably in setting up MIQ and using it in response to the Covid-19 [Chinese coronavirus] pandemic,” Stuff recalled on April 27.
The advocacy group represented New Zealanders who were adversely affected by the MIQ system, such as pregnant women whose babies were forced to be born outside of New Zealand. Other examples highlighted during the Wellington High Court’s review of MIQ included “a woman who was left stranded overseas, unable to return home to bury her only son when he died from a medical event,” Agence France-Presse (AFP) observed on April 27.
“Another was unable to be there while her son underwent cancer treatment,” according to the news agency.
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