covid

A disability service provider challenged the legality of an Immediate Modification Order enacted by the Executive in April 2020.

In accordance with the Epidemic Preparedness Act (2006), which provides ministers with the power to modify or suspend requirements contained in a statute in response to an epidemic, the Executive modified S 53 of the Employment Relations Act (2000), according to which a collective agreement shall continue for a period of up to 12 months if, before expiry, one of the parties initiated collective bargaining for a replacement agreement.

The applicant sought a declaration of invalidity of the order on the grounds that – having considered the changes in circumstances related to the pandemic – the Executive had failed to undertake a periodic review of its emergency measures.

By judgment of 28 February 2022, the High Court of New Zealand partially upheld the challenge and found that the Executive has a duty to periodically review the actual necessity of emergency measures. It considered that such failure constitutes a significant intrusion into the principles of parliamentary sovereignty and executive accountability to the Parliament.

Full text of the decision available at courtsofnz.govt.nz en