Unvaccinated permanent residents should be able to return to New Zealand – Human Rights Commissioner says

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Apr 21, 2022 |

Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt

The Human Rights Commissioner says unvaccinated permanent residents stuck overseas should be able to return to New Zealand.

Currently, unvaccinated New Zealand Citizens can re-enter New Zealand, but that same right is not afforded to unvaccinated permanent residents.

Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt told Chris Lynch “international human rights law makes it clear that that there are very few circumstances that justify restricting the right to return to one’s own country.”

“Where it is justified, it must be necessary in the circumstances and proportionate.”

 However, Commissioner Hunt said “in the current context, where most vaccine mandates have been lifted, it is no longer appropriate to prevent unvaccinated permanent residents from re-entering New Zealand, when unvaccinated citizens are able to re-enter.”

“While the Omicron outbreak is still highly prevalent in communities around New Zealand, the government is right to be maintaining health protections, and this may allow some reasonable limitations to entry, but they should not include a blanket prohibition against the re-entry of all unvaccinated permanent residents into the country.” 

A group of unvaccinated permanent residents has engaged Frontline Law to challenge the Government’s rules, following its successful appeal on mandates for New Zealand Defence Force and Police.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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