< June 2020 newsletter


Royal Commission needs to investigate illegal roadblocks

Democracy Action fully supports recent calls for a Royal Commission into the COVID-19 response, and strongly suggests its remit includes an expert examination of the legality, or more likely illegality, of iwi roadblocks. Euphemistically called ‘community checkpoints’, these roadblocks purported to protect isolated communities from the pandemic but were inconsistent with legal instructions to the general public.

In a recent media release Democracy Action spokesperson, Lee Short, said:

“Recently both Act Leader David Seymour and former Labour Party candidate, now communications advisor Josie Pagani, have called for a Royal Commission into the Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the Government winding up Parliament’s Epidemic Response Committee, a Royal Commission is needed to provide a thorough independent assessment of how the crisis was managed.”

“The Royal Commission, which we believe should start before the election, needs to look at the roadblocks closely. Were they legal? What support did the Government and Police give to them? How many motorists were intimidated by iwi or gang members at those roadblocks? What precedent has been set by official tolerance of these self-appointed ‘checkpoints’?”

“These are serious questions which the Government has not answered. A Royal Commission will,” Mr Short said.

The New Zealand public has a right to answers and accountability, writes journalist Michael Coote in his opinion piece published by NZCPR: Inquiries now imperative into Maori COVID-19 roadblocks and state complicity

Point of Order has asked pertinent questions of the Police and press officers working for the Prime Minister which have not been addressed. See: Cops help iwi with roadblocks as a cultural response to Covid-19 – and perhaps to portend a policing “partnership”

Recommended reading: 'Hone commands - Police blink', an opinion piece by a member of the Democracy Action Working Group.

Let's add to the call for a judicial inquiry.

Here is a list of some of the MPs you could contact:

 The Attorney-General Hon David Parker: d.parker@ministers.govt.nz

The Prime Minister, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern: jacinda.ardern@parliament.govt.nz

The Leader of the Opposition, Hon Todd Muller: Todd.muller@parliament.govt.nz

Rt Hon Winston Peters: w.peters@ministers.govt.nz

ACT Party leader, David Seymour: david.seymour@parliament.govt.nz

Other media coverage

BreakingViews: Bob Edlin: You will know the border has been reached when virus vigilantes stop you in the name of health and safety

RNZ: Looking back at the Epidemic Response Committee

Stuff: Coronavirus: ACT calls for Royal Commission to investigate Government response to Covid-19

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RELATED ARTICLES


Labour boasts of roadblock partnership

Two Labour Members of Parliament have confirmed the claim by Democracy Action that the Government and Police condoned the illegal iwi roadblocks on public roads. Tamati Coffey (Labour - Waiariki) and Kiri Allan (Labour – List MP living in the East Coast) have stated that these roadblocks were “well supported” by the Government and that police “helped with the checkpoints”. Continue reading

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