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URGENT: Protection Framework and Right to Justice

Ashleigh Fechney made this Official Information request to Ministry of Justice

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From: Ashleigh Fechney

Dear Ministry of Justice,

I am concerned that New Zealand’s Courtrooms and Tribunals are not “designed premises” for the purposes of the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Protections Framework) Order 2021.

This means that a person could be lawfully refused entry to our judicial systems if they are not vaccinated.

I am gravely concerned about this limitation on the right to justice.

Please urgently supply the following information under the Official Information Act 1982:

- Any briefing paper or advice paper from the Ministry of Justice in relation to the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Protections Framework) Order 2021.
- Any vaccination policy applied by the Ministry of Justice.
- Confirmation of whether the Ministry of Justice commenced a “risk assessment” which may give rise to a vaccinations policy.
- Confirmation of whether the Ministry of Justice have the infrastructure to accommodate widespread remote hearings for unvaccinated people.
- Confirmation of whether the Ministry of Justice have procedures in place for appropriate registrars to accept remote filing from people and representatives who are not vaccinated.
- Any other information that may assist legal representatives in advising the people as to whether, or not, the right to justice has been limited.

I understand that a decision on a request for information under the Official Information Act 1982 should be made within 20 working days of receiving that request.

However, in the circumstances, I request that this request be treated as urgent:
- The COVID-19 Public Health Response (Protection Framework) Order 2021 comes into force at 11.59pm on 2 December 2021.
- Legal representatives are required to provide advice on the effect of the Protection Framework, and it is imperative that the people understand whether, or not, they will be able to access their right to justice to challenge not only the Protection Framework, but also any offence arising from a breach of the Protection Framework.
- This information is integral to the right to justice.

I look forward to receiving your urgent response.

Yours faithfully,

Ashleigh Fechney

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From: OIA@justice.govt.nz
Ministry of Justice

Thank you for contacting the Official Information Act request mailbox for
the Ministry of Justice. We will endeavour to respond to your email within
2 working days.

You can find more information about how we can help you at our [1]Official
Information Act Requests page.

Please note that by law, when you ask for official information we have to
respond to your request as soon as reasonably practicable and no later
than 20 working days after we receive it. However, over the holiday period
there is a three week period that doesn’t count as ‘working days’.

For Official Information Act (OIA) requests, that period is 25 December
2021 to 14 January 2022, inclusive. That means any OIA requests submitted
on 29 November 2021 or later may take a bit longer than you expected

Please send any non-OIA related emails through to
o[2][email address] and any complaints through to
[3][email address]

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From: OIA@justice.govt.nz
Ministry of Justice

Kia ora Ashleigh

We acknowledge receipt of your request regarding information relating to vaccination policies and papers related to the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Protections Framework) Order 2021

This has been forwarded onto the relevant business unit to respond to.

You can expect a response by 20 January 2021

Ngā mihi

Ministerial Relations and Services
Strategy, Governance and Finance
DDI: +64 4 918 8800
www.justice.govt.nz

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From: Easton, Paul
Ministry of Justice


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Kia ora Ashleigh,

 

Please find an OIA response attached regarding the COVID-19 Protection
Framework.

 

Ngā mihi,

Paul Easton

Principal Media Advisor | Communications Services
Ministry of Justice | Tāhū o te Ture

P +64 4 466 5058 | Ext  65058 | [mobile number]

[1][email address] | [2]justice.govt.nz

 

 

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From: OIA@justice.govt.nz
Ministry of Justice


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Kia ora Ashleigh,

 

Please accept my apology for this response coming through to you twice.
The policy document that was released to you did not contain the Official
Information watermark.

 

Kindest regards

Kris

 

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From: Easton, Paul
Ministry of Justice


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Dear Ashleigh

 

Please find your OIA response attached.

 

Ngā mihi,

Paul Easton

Principal Media Advisor | Communications Services
Ministry of Justice | Tāhū o te Ture

P +64 4 466 5058 | Ext  65058 | [mobile number]

[1][email address] | [2]justice.govt.nz

 

 

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2. http://www.justice.govt.nz/

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From: Ashleigh Fechney

Dear Paul,

In accordance with section 9 of the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020, the Minister is required to consult with the Minister of Justice before making any COVID-19 Order.

I have requested any briefing papers relating to the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Protections Framework) Order 2021.

Can you please confirm whether the document you've provided me is the consultation document created for the purpose of section 9 of the Act?

It appears to me to be created for a different purpose, to "update you on the Ministry’s progress in designing and implementing the transition to the COVID-19 Protection Framework."

Yours sincerely,

Ashleigh Fechney

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From: Easton, Paul
Ministry of Justice

HI Ashleigh

I'm sorry I didn't get back to you yesterday, I have asked the OIA team to look into this.

Ngā mihi,
Paul

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From: Easton, Paul
Ministry of Justice

Hi Ashleigh

In your OIA you asked for, "any briefing paper or advice paper from MOJ in relation to the COVID-19 Public Health Response Protection Framework".

The Minister of Justice is consulted on COVID-19 orders under section 11 in line with the legislation you noted in your email. The nature of that consultation varies and can include consultation with the Minister and their office directly.

It may be helpful to know the government regularly proactively releases cabinet papers, minutes, briefings and regulatory impact statements that relate to the COVID-19 Response in line with the Official Information Act 1982. These can be found here; https://covid19.govt.nz/about-our-covid-... .

Ngā mihi,
Paul Easton
Principal Media Advisor | Communications Services
Ministry of Justice | Tāhū o te Ture
P +64 4 466 5058 | Ext 65058 | [mobile number]
[email address] | justice.govt.nz

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