Today, the government's Public Health Response Bill was passed - but not without controversy.
Lillian Hanly came across a statement by lawyer and tino rangatiratanga advocate Annette Sykes drawing attention to a specification made for entering houses and marae without a warrant. There was much outrage around this clause and Lillian reached out to a few legal minds to clarify what this meant, but given everything was still being debated in the house, nothing was entirely clear at that point.
The legislation has since been tweaked, references to police being able to enter marae without a warrant have been removed, and a requirement that only police operate roadblocks were also removed. A two-year limit on the enforcement law has been changed to three months - another key issue of controversy.
However, the process in which this occured, the questions it raises around the extension of powers, and the speed in which it came about, continues to see criticism. It has even instigated a movement online encouraging people to change their profile pictures on Facebook to an image designed by Ann-Olivia Wehipeihana-Wilson for Whakaaro Factory.
Listen in to find out the stages a Bill normally goes through, why this is going through under urgency, and concerns from legal and political minds Jane Kelsey, Julia Whaipooti and Morgan Godfrey.
Edit: Professor David Williams also responded to Lillian after the show with a written response touching on another aspect of the Bill, he had sent this to both MPs Willie Jackson and Marama Davidson:
“Tēnā kōrua. Ngā mihimihi o te wā ki a kōrua.
I write to you as Chair of the Māori caucus within the Labour Party and Co-Leader of the Green Party. Clearly the COVID-19 Public Health Response Bill will proceed through the House shortly. Nevertheless I find it most upsetting that the National Party is taking the high moral ground on the restrictions of tangihanga, funerals and other religious services to a maximum attendance of 10 people. This is the same National Party that viciously criticised the community checkpoints put in place by iwi/hapū in many parts of the motu recently.
It is hypocritical, to say the least, for Simon Bridges and others in the National Party now to show such concern for Māori wishing to farewell their departed at tangihanga. When the Bill is passed, I do urge both of you to move your parliamentary colleagues towards a modification as soon as possible of the Cabinet decision on the numbers able to attend tangihanga, funerals and other services during alert level 2.”
It does seem an incredible slap in the face for iwi/hapū to have such draconian restrictions imposed on them after all they have done to keep their communities safe during alert levels 4 and 3."
Please note, the government announced this afternoon an increase on the number of people who are able to attend tangihanga and funeral - that number is now 50, if those attending adhere to strict public health measures.