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In response to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, New Zealand enacted several measures, including restrictions upon overseas New Zealanders’ right to return to their country. Indeed, from 10 April 2020 until 28 February 20022, all arrivals – including New Zealand citizens – were required to enter government-managed isolation and quarantine facilities (MIQFs) for a prescribed period and to submit to medical testing.

The representative body Grounded Kiwis challenged the restrictions, arguing that they were unreasonable, and that they constituted an unjustified limit on the right to enter New Zealand affirmed in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.

On 27 April 2022, the High Court upheld Grounded Kiwis’ challenge and found that, in the MIQFs system, individual circumstances of cases could not be adequately considered and prioritized upon entering into the country because most of the vouchers for MIQ were available through a “virtual lobby” that operated like a lottery. As such, the mechanism could not appropriately give effect to the right of citizens to enter.

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