Barry Soper: Legality of lockdown could come back to bite PM

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 11 Jun 2020, 9:54AM
Photo / NZ Herald
Photo / NZ Herald

Barry Soper: Legality of lockdown could come back to bite PM

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 11 Jun 2020, 9:54AM

Such is the devotion for Jacinda Ardern, any suggestion she may have been delivering orders that were out of order from the Beehive pulpit during the lock down, invokes a vicious pile on.

National's Paul Goldsmith understands what public opprobrium's like after he rightly told Ardern to stick to her knitting for attacking big corporates which are struggling from her Government's strangulation of the economy. Of course he wouldn't have expected to be chastised by his party's sensitive new deputy Nikki Kaye who told him to chose his words more carefully.

They of course got more currency because the subject of the knitting barb was Ardern and it was seen as sexist which of course is just plain silly. It's got absolutely nothing to do with gender, certainly less than Kaye's predecessor Paula Bennett's advice to Ardern once when she told her in Parliament's bear pit to "zip it sweetie."

It's that sentiment that may come back to haunt Ardern when the full bench of High Court judges considers the case being taken by Wellington lawyer Andrew Borrowdale about the legality of the the lock down.

It's easy to say that who cares? The lock down had the desired result, we're Covid free at the moment. That's certainly the sentiment expressed, in much more vile terms, by the keyboard warriors when I ran stories last month about the legality of the lock down.

Of course all the warriors ignored the obvious dangers of a country being ruled by fear rather than the rule of law.

Borrowdale knows a lot about the law because he used to draft them at Parliament and he doesn't have a nefarious agenda, he is simply uncomfortable like the rest of us should be that the most dramatic action taken against a population in a century may not have had the law behind it.

That would certainly seem to be the case if you read the leaked email warning frontline cops by the then deputy Police Commissioner Mike Clement. It was based on secret Crown Law advice, and Clement said using the name of Covid to crackdown on the great unwashed wandering around without authority would be skating on thin ice.

Not surprisingly this issue has caused considerable consternation in the Beehive and white hot interest in the legal fraternity.

Borrowdale's case later next month will now have input from the New Zealand Law Society, the Criminal Bar Association and the Auckland District Law Society which gives it significant grunt and even more expertise.

If the High Court finds in favour of the litigant, just imagine what it could mean for those arrested under the name of Covid.