Legislative Responses to COVID-19: New Zealand Parliament

In response to COVID-19, the New Zealand Parliament enacted the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Act 2020 on March 25. The legislation was assented to on the same day.

The COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill 2020 (at it was then) was a Government Bill sponsored by Hon. Chris Hipkins which was introduced on March 25 and enacted the same day.

Summary on the Act

The omnibus Act amends more than one Act and was introduced under Standing Order 263(a) as the amendments deal with an interrelated topic that can be regarded as implementing a single broad policy. That single broad policy is to put in place the necessary arrangements in order to implement COVID-19 Alert Level 4, or where arrangements are essential to respond effectively to the outbreak of COVID-19.

The Act amends the the Education Act 1989, the Epidemic Preparedness Act 2006, the Local Government Act 2002, the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987, and the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, and makes the following measures in order to implement Alert Level 4, or respond effectively to COVID-19—

  • enable the Secretary for Education to issue directions to the governing authorities of education entities including to require them to open and close and to provide education in specified ways such as distance learning:
  • add District Court Judges to the list of those that can alter the rules of the court:
  • enable local government and Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups to attend meetings by audio or visual link, and otherwise support the effective operation of those meetings:
  • enact rent freezes and restricts termination of tenancies.

These proposals are aimed at—

  • allowing for the court system to respond as necessary when issues are identified:
  • lessening the economic impacts for tenants from COVID-19:
  • centralising the direction provided to education entities so as to provide consistency and coherence across them in the response to COVID-19.

You can read the rest of the Explanatory Note on the Bill.

The Hansard Report that contains record of debate on the Bill is accessible here. And the video too.

ayes & nays

Spread the love