Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has declared a State of National Emergency across New Zealand as the Government amplifies efforts to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
“Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent the very worst that we’ve seen around the world from happening here,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
“As the country moves into Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, at midnight, we need all the tools at our disposal to ensure everyone reduces down contact with one another across the board.
“Through the early and hard measures we’ve taken at the border, using the powers under the Health Act, the signing of Epidemic Notices, and now, being in a State of National Emergency, we have all of the legislative means possible, all the enforcement powers, all the tools we need, at our disposal to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002, today’s State of National Emergency declaration allows the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management to direct and coordinate personnel, material and other resources, and provides access to other extra-ordinary powers that will support delivery of an effective and timely response to COVID-19.
While in force, the State of National Emergency will allow the Director and local controllers to provide for the:
- conservation and supply of food, fuel and other essential supplies
- regulate land, water and air traffic
- to close roads and public places
- to evacuate any premises, including any public place
- and if necessary to exclude people or vehicles from any premises or place.
In a statement to parliament today, the Prime Minister stated that “the Police and the Military will be working together and there is assistance at the ready as required.
“If people do not follow the message here today, then the police will remind people of their obligations. They have the ability to escalate if required. They can arrest if needed, they can detain if needed.”
Ms Ardern stated that these are tools of last resort.
“Failure of anyone to play their part in coming days will put the lives of others at risk, and there will be no tolerance for that.
“We do not expect to use the full extent of these measures but, as with everything we have done in response to COVID-19, we plan, we prepare, we have in place everything we need to get through.
“For now, I ask that New Zealanders do their part. Stay home, break the chain, save lives,” Jacinda Ardern said.