Legal framework for COVID-19 Alert Level referred to select committee

The COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020, which set a sound legal framework ahead of the move to Alert level 2, has been referred to a parliamentary select committee for review. 

Attorney-General David Parker said the review of the operation of the COVID-19 specific law would be reported back to the House by July 27, in time for the House to consider whether to renew the Act in line with the 90-day review specified in the law. 

“That will allow the House to take into account the advice of the committee before it makes the decision whether to continue with the law for another 90 days – or longer if the House decides,” David Parker said. 

The Police can only use their enforcement powers under the Act if the Government has authorised a COVID-19 Alert Level notice. 

The post-enactment review, which has been recommended by legal experts and academics, will be conducted by the Finance and Expenditure Committee, which will have MPs from all parties in Parliament on it. 

David Parker reiterated that the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act ensures controls on gatherings of people and physical distancing are still enforceable. The new Act narrows the Police powers compared with those which applied under Level 3 and Level 4.