Considering the “Divisive” traffic light framework

Looking back at the events which unfolded over the summer months, it’s interesting to read that Human Rights Commissioner, Paul Hunt, told the Prime Minister last year there was a “divisive quality” to the traffic light framework. 

“I said that I thought there was a risk that the traffic light system, without great care, could conceivably become socially not cohesive, but divisive.”

The Government introduced the traffic light system ‘incentivising’ kiwis to get jabbed, since for much of 2021 New Zealand’s vaccination rates were near the bottom of the rankings compared to other nations. The traffic light system provided much greater freedoms to the vaccinated vs the unvaccinated. It was a highly coercive method used to increase our vaccination rates. Jacinda Ardern even admitted this created two-classes of New Zealanders. This had drastic effects on unvaccinated kiwis being able to access workplaces, schools, maraes, gatherings, and places of worship. Many kiwis lost their jobs, and the High Court even quashed the Covid-19 vaccine mandate for police and Defence Force staff.

Last year, the Human Rights Commissioner criticised the Government for passing legislation enabling the traffic light system without the usual full parliamentary scrutiny. Then in February the Human Rights Commission said it had received “an unprecedented increase in complaints and inquiries since the beginning of the traffic light system”. So it’s no wonder Commissioner Hunt expressed his concerns to the Prime Minister, and for once he is bang on …

“In the COVID context, one has to consider, on the one hand, human rights such as the rights to life, health care, health protection on the one hand, and that has to be balanced with other human rights such as the right to work, freedom of travel, freedom of assembly, and so forth. So throughout our work, we’ve been trying to find fair and reasonable balances between these competing rights.”

Hunt says his team from the Human Rights Commission met with some of the protesters “to listen, conciliate, educate and advance human rights and responsibilities for all.” 

“I have a duty to listen to their concerns to understand how their human rights have been impacted.”

How mature! Unlike … (think ‘sprinklers and Barry Manilow songs’).

Read full NZ Herald article here.


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