New Zealand Law Society - State of National Emergency extended for fifth time

State of National Emergency extended for fifth time

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The State of National Emergency to support the COVID-19 response was extended on Tuesday for a further week.

The initial declaration was made on March 25, and the seven-day declaration can be extended by the Government as many times as necessary. It does not change the COVID-19 Alert Level.

“On the advice of the Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management and after consultation with the Prime Minister, I consider the State of National Emergency should remain in place to support the COVID-19 response,” says Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare.

“It is important that we continue to have the powers and support enabled by the State of National Emergency available as we transition to Alert Level 3 to help maintain the level of success we have seen to date in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.

“The powers activated by the State of National Emergency enable critical work to be carried out during this time including managing roads, traffic and public places; providing first aid, food, shelter and accommodation.

“Use of these powers has included authorising local councils to restrict vehicle access to roads or streets to support social distancing, directing freedom campers to relocate, requisitioning a carpark for COVID-19 testing, stopping people from lighting outdoor fires to reduce the risk of fire related emergencies, and allowing necessary maintenance to happen at a waste water treatment plant,” says Mr Henare.

The State of National Emergency and the COVID-19 Alert Levels are two distinct and separate things. The Alert Levels specify the range of measures that the Government is taking against COVID-19.

A State of National Emergency provides the people managing the response in an emergency, in this case COVID-19, access to powers they would not normally have, but might require now to implement and enforce these measures.

This declaration by the Minister of Civil Defence extending the State of National Emergency can be found in the Gazette .