What went through Parliament in New Zealand this week was the most systematic attempt by a government to use the Pandemic crisis to disenfranchise a whole category of citizens, and thus destroy the autonomy of civil society. Some may argue that the State of Victoria, in Australia, has seen a similar thing, but their Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has come out against excessive use of vaccine mandates.
Meanwhile in New Zealand we have Jacinda Ardern, and her never ending quest for international notoriety. So, as the Western European nations deal with another wave of Covid cases, and are imposing draconian measures on an ad hoc basis, in New Zealand we have a whole legislative framework euphemistically known as a ‘protection’ framework. Once the framework is in place, and the vaccine certificates are all downloaded, Ardern will release the Auckland region from a lockdown and remove the internal border. She knows this will see an exponential rise in the number of Covid cases. But the only actual protection is for the ‘fully vaccinated’, and they will get the priority hospital care; the ‘unvaccinated’ have chosen their own fate, and are effectively no longer citizens participating in society.
Can you call letting the Covid 19 virus rip around the country, and reaching into places where it has never been seen before, negligent? Is allowing the ‘unvaccinated’ victims to die, with only minimal health care assistance, in their own homes fair, let alone humane? After all, Ardern and her coterie of academic doom merchants and fearmongers have been warning of mass casualties for some time. She, of course, can’t keep the internal border working for much longer, especially given that it is virtually impossible over summer. And she wants to open up the national border, and let New Zealand citizens come back home, after being shut out for so long. At least they get to see their families again.
However, those coming back to New Zealand may not notice some significant changes, even if they don’t quite get how civil society is being destroyed. They may notice that they need passes to get a haircut, or go to a cafe or restaurant; and they may find out that some family members, or old friends, are not allowed to got to the cafe or restaurant because they are now pariahs. They don’t have a pass or certificate because they are bad people, and have not got ‘fully vaccinated’. They may not notice what a cruel and vindictive leader Jacinda Ardern is, until they have to go to a funeral, and find that some family members are not allowed to mourn, becaue they have been bad, and are not ‘fully vaccinated’. Some bad people, like convicted criminals, are allowed to go to family funerals, but not the new pariahs.
This whole protection framework is being introduced when most of New Zealand is still on zero cases, because the ‘elimination’ framework actually worked. Everybody shared in the sacrifices of total lockdowns, voluntarily complied with not being able to see their families for weeks on end, and did what they were told. Some people are being granted new freedoms because they have been good, and are allowed to get a haircut and go the cafe. These were actually universal freedoms, that we used to think were based on civil rights, but now we realise they are privileges granted by Big Sister Ardern. And to get the new freedoms we have to get ‘fully vaccinated’ and participate in a new surveillance system. Not exactly like the clumsy, old analogue ones that were to be introduced in 1977, before Big Sister was born. But at least we were prepared to protest when we realised we were losing some basic civil rights.
The Covid response legislation passed on Wednesday this week, which imposes vaccine mandates and passports, was passed in one day. The Labour Government did not bother with niceties, like obligatory reports on regulatory compatibility; nor did they care to get any kind of report on the implications for human rights legislation. This is because they don’t care about the NZ Bill of Rights, despite it being the brainchild of one of Ardern’s predecessors, a law professor called Palmer. When a journalist dared to ask Big Sister if she thought the process had been too fast, and avoided any public submissions, she said no, with a characteristically beatific smile. The smile of a benevolent dictator.