COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Act (No 2) 2021

The COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Act (No 2) 2021 was enacted on 20 November 2021. This Amendment Act has incorporated some improvements to the COVID-19 Act that were identified throughout the COVID-19 response since 2020.

These changes are designed to ensure that the Act continues to provide the Government with the tools required to minimise and suppress the spread of COVID-19 throughout New Zealand. Primarily it continues to enable the Minister for COVID-19 Response to issue Orders to respond to COVID-19 in a flexible and agile way.  

What has changed?

Many of the changes made by this Amendment Act are technical in nature. These include clarifying some terms in the Act and improving transparency around decision making. Some of the more substantive changes include:

  • Strengthening the infringement regime for Order breaches:
  • Increasing fees and fines to provide for a greater deterrent to breaches of the Order and better reflect the grave risk to the community when people do the wrong thing
  • Establishing separate fees and fines for individuals and businesses
  • Expanding the purpose for which Orders under the Act can be made.
  • Providing for efficient oversight and management of our COVID-19 testing infrastructure.
  • Changing the default liability for Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) charges. Everyone will be liable for charges unless specifically exempted. This is a technical amendment and will not change who is currently liable to pay for MIQ or how much is paid.
  • People who enter MIQ will be required to provide accurate contact information for invoicing purposes.
  • The Chief Executive responsible for MIQ will be empowered to create rules for the day-to-day operation of facilities.
  • Strengthened privacy protection for contact tracing information.

How will this impact you?

Most of the changes in this Amendment Act will not immediately have direct impacts on the general public. However, future Orders made under the Act using these changes may impose obligations or requirements on individuals to ensure the Government can supress and minimise the impact of COVID-19 and reconnect New Zealand.

The one change that will have a more immediate direct impact on all New Zealanders is the increase of infringement penalties for people who breach orders under the Act. The Government believes these higher penalties will more accurately reflect the risks associated with breaching an Order. Education and encouragement will continue to be the primary strategy for ensuring people follow these orders. The relevant sections of the Amendment Act come into force by Order in Council on 4 December 2021 (see 2 December 2021 Gazette notice).

More information about the new infringement penalties can be found on Infringement Fees page.

Find out more

You can find out more about the changes in the fact sheets below. These were prepared as part of the consultation process prior to the Bill going to Parliament.

View the Regulatory Impact Statement.

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