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Court of Appeal directs NZDF to reconsider COVID jab mandate, suspends its operation

NZDF mandates news

In a landmark decision released yesterday, the Court of Appeal has directed the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) to reconsider its COVID jab mandate after it was found to breach the NZ Bill of Rights Act.

The ruling follows on from an earlier judgment in the High Court in the case of Yardley which found the government’s vaccine mandate in that particular case for NZDF and uniformed Police workers was also illegal.

Despite this, the NZDF had enforced its own internal mandate via a ‘Temporary Defense Force Order’ (TPFO) compelling uniformed personnel to get vaccinated or risk dismissal.

The lawyer representing the appellants Matthew Hague of Frontline Law, hailed the decision as a victory for fundamental rights in New Zealand.

‘Members of our Armed Forces sacrifice much in the service of our country, which means upholding their fundamental rights all the more important,’ said Hague.

The Court of Appeal determined that the NZDF’s mandate in the TDFO breached the rights to refuse medical treatment and to express religious beliefs, concluding that the Chief of Defence Force’s imposition of the vaccine mandate was an unjustifiable limitation under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.

This case represents the third successful challenge against vaccine mandates by NZDF members. Despite a wider move away from mandates in New Zealand and the new government’s commitment to abolish all public sector mandates, the NZDF persisted with its mandate resulting in the discharge of numerous skilled and essential service members.

The mandate’s continuation has had profound professional and personal consequences, affecting both new recruits and senior officers. It has prompted some to voluntarily leave the service, citing the mandate’s impact on their careers.

In response, advocacy groups and representatives from United We Stand have demanded an apology from the Chief of Defence Force and assurances of respect for NZDF personnel’s basic rights.

‘Members of the NZDF are everyday New Zealanders who commit their service to serving their communities. We call on the Chief of Defence Force to apologise for the harm he has done, and to provide assurances that he will respect the basic rights of the soldiers, sailors and airmen who serve New Zealand,’ a spokesperson for the organisation said.

The NZDF, which has struggled with high attrition rates and operational challenges, was the last among the Five Eyes alliance to maintain a COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The court’s decision has ignited significant frustration and anger among affected service members, especially since the mandate persisted even after a government mandate was deemed illegal.

The ruling emphasises the need for more rigorous evidence and analysis in imposing measures that limit rights protected under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (NZBORA).

Given the changes in the COVID-19 pandemic landscape, including the removal of many restrictions, the court found it appropriate for the Chief of Defence Force to reconsider the TDFO and related instruments in light of current circumstances and the judgment.

To prevent unfair actions against the appellants during this reconsideration, the court also issued an interim order prohibiting the CDF from taking any further action against the appellants based on the TDFO.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. “The ruling emphasises the need for more rigorous evidence and analysis in imposing measures that limit rights protected under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (NZBORA).”

    WRONG.

    Rights are not supposed to be “limited”, that’s the entire f***ing point they exist in the first place! A right that can be limited is not a right at all. Either I have the freedom to refuse a procedure or I don’t. The NZBORA is basically toilet paper if the government can just ignore it whenever Pfizer feel like making another $60B.

    Government NEEDS TO OBEY THE LAW, or finally admit that it considers us nothing but serfs to be taxed and extorted at gunpoint.

    I just want them to drop the intelligence-insulting pretence that I’m supposedly a sovereign citizen who has an inalienable set of rights (but only when they say so).

  2. So The Court of Appeal has politely asked The NZDF to “Reconsider” acting unlawfully.

    Good to know that laws in NZ are now optional.

    • Exactly. This is great news.

      I’m going to ask the people that broke into my garage and stole my car if they could now please “reconsider”.

      I’m sure they’ll choose do the right thing.

      As we know criminals are very reasonable people, particularly after they get caught.

  3. As a retired Warrant Officer having served 20 years Service it saddens me that:
    The CDF is no Leader I would wish to serve under. He has abandoned members of NZD IN PREFERENCE FOR THE POLITICAL LEFT. He has essentially thrown NZ Servicemen under the Bus and Illegally denied members of the NZ Defence their Rights under the Law. In doing so the CDF has undermined the Trust of Servicemen and Servicewomen. Any Honourable Leader and/or Officer would have opted to Resign his Commission than take the action He has chosen.

  4. While it’s great to see courts in this country finally giving some teeth to the bill of rights one has to ask why the process takes so long? Justice delayed is justice denied so they say. This type of decision needed to be made about 2 years ago at the height of the pandemic fear mongering to send a clear message to the army and the government, not much use now when 95% of the country has moved on from it and so many fine servicemen and women have already left

  5. After the covid debacle, It’s become quite obvious that The Bill of Rights Act 1990 needs to be amended to include criminal charges and substantial fines for law breakers.

    It’s probably the only way to stop jumped-up unethical greasy pole climbers from abusing their undeserved positions of authority.

  6. Too late. That was a genetic agent introduced into their bodies. It stays for LIFE. There is no ‘moving on’ from it. It runs with the recipients – and their offspring permanently. No one knows what it will do longer term. Glad to be old – and ‘pure’. At least I won’t die like a captive dog.

  7. If the vaccine was not appropriate for the NZDF, nor the NZ Uniformed Police, then it was clearly not appropriate for every NZ citizen. Those responsible for imposing penalties for non-compliance with vax mandates, must themselves be held accountable. All existing vaccine mandates must be removed immediately.

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