The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Vaccine certificates need legal backing: Hospitality New Zealand

With the proposed use of vaccine certificates in hospitality businesses, Hospitality New Zealand says a specific law is needed to exempt companies from the Bill of Rights, Privacy Act and Human Rights Act.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has indicated that once 90% of the New Zealand population is vaccinated, vaccine certificates may be introduced to allow businesses to return to normal but Hospitality NZ says this could mean the industry is breaking the law.

“We support vaccination certificates, because we’re desperate to open, but the Government must pass a law that protects us from legal action and costs,” says CEO Julie White.

“Reaching a 90% vaccination rate will allow businesses to operate again. So we support vaccinations, and using vaccination certificates.”

White says Hospitality NZ members are frustrated that the Government is putting pressure on the industry to do something drastic without legal protection.

“We’ve sacrificed $24m a day in following the COVID-19 health response,” she says.”Our survival is at stake, and dozens have already closed for good.

“But our members can’t afford to run this system, bear the brunt of public antagonism, and risk breaking the law.”

White said the situation was far more complicated than the government proposal appreciated.

“If our members start using certificates to deny entry they will immediately breach three pieces of legislation. There are members of the public just waiting to take a hospitality business to court,” she says.

“Without protection of a law, businesses, workers, the public and the Police will all face legal uncertainty and costs in trying to carry out a certificate scheme.”

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