POSTS BY Dean Knight

Lockdown Bubbles through Layers of Law, Discretion and Nudges – New Zealand

New Zealand’s governmental response to Covid-19 has been, so far, dramatic and legally curious. As a South Pacific island nation, Covid-19 was late to infiltrate New Zealand, allowing the government time to shape its response in the light of experiences elsewhere. At the first sign of community transmission, the government moved to lockdown the country – shutting the border, keeping people in their household ‘bubbles’ and closing businesses other than those deemed essential. To effect the lockdown, the government relied on some ordinary legal powers and a handful of reserve emergency powers, supplemented by strong messaging from a charismatic prime minister. While providing a stopgap solution for the sudden move, the current legal framework is bit soft and fragile in places. It seems likely the government will move to sharpen and fortify the legal basis for the lockdown and put in place a more bespoke and enduring solution.

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