Government Authority and the Covid-19 Lockdown
During the national lockdown, Cabinet exercised extraordinary authority in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This article summarises the circumstances leading up to the adjournment of Parliament in late March, and the decision-making processes in place during the lockdown. This includes the national security system and all-of-government response to the crisis, as well as the key legislative triggers for the government’s response: the Epidemic Preparedness Act 2006 (and the epidemic notice) and the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 (and the state of national emergency). It also discusses decision making by the Covid-19 Ministerial Group and the Epidemic Response Committee while Parliament was adjourned. It argues that Cabinet exercised appropriate authority in response to the crisis and did not make significant, permanent or constitutional change.
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