WELLINGTON: New Zealand Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare announced Tuesday that the State of National Emergency to support the COVID-19 response will be extended a second time for a further seven days.
The initial declaration was made on March 25, and the seven-day declaration can be extended as many times as necessary. It does not change the length of the Alert Level 4 lockdown. New Zealand entered the national lockdown on March 26, which will last for at least four weeks.
"On the advice of the Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management and after consultation with the Prime Minister, I consider the State of National Emergency should remain in place to support the COVID-19 response," Henare said.
"The powers activated by the State of National Emergency enable civil defence emergency management professionals to carry out critical work during this time including managing roads, traffic and public places; providing first aid, food, shelter and accommodation.
"Use of these powers have included the requisitioning of a carpark so it can be used as a community-based assessment centre, and to support NZ Police to prevent people from doing non-essential activities.
"As we enter our third week under a State of National Emergency and at Alert Level 4, I would like to thank all New Zealanders who have continued to work tirelessly to support the response to COVID-19 through these incredibly challenging times," Henare said.
The State of National Emergency and the COVID-19 Alert Levels are two distinct and separate things. The Alert Levels specify the range of measures that the government is taking against COVID-19. A State of National Emergency provides the people managing the response in an emergency, in this case COVID-19, access to powers they would not normally have, but might require now to implement and enforce these measures.