The Level 2 law, The Covid-19 Public Health Response Bill, was supposed to be an uncontroversial extension of the current legal tools the State are using to enforce the quarantine.
It went as far as stipulating Marae were not commercial premises and that the expectation by Health Enforcement Officers was to treat them as such if investigating quarantine breaches, however, the deep, deep, deep distrust by many Māori of the Police saw this singling out not as a protection but as a threat.
The reality is that warrantless searches of any building, be it a Marae or a home or a business is incredibly concerning.
To date, we have all taken our responsibility to self isolate seriously, and we all accepted this amputation of our civil liberties because of the pandemic, but we were also incredibly clear to the Government that once this threat passed, we wanted ALL our civil liberties to be returned to us.
Allowing warrantless searches is not returning our civil rights to us.
If warrantless searches are required to enforce quarantine, then so be it for the wider good, but the Government must keep the Police on a short leash here. If they start misusing this power and raid peoples homes without warrants for any purpose other than enforcing quarantine, there will be an enormous backlash.
This week we found out the NZ Police were using questionable mass surveillance facial recognition without any permission whatsoever.
The people trust Jacinda, they don’t trust the Police, Labour risk damaging the former with the actions of the latter.