NZ: Covid-19: Unvaccinated family carers win court declaration mandate was unlawful

An unvaccinated family carer who lost her funding to care for her own son said the mandates “felt like a gun to my head”.

She is one of five affected people who took their case to the High Court, challenging the mandates which meant they could not receive caregiver funding without being vaccinated against Covid-19.

Justice Gerard van Bohemen has released a declaration that then-Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins’ decision to include family carers in the mandate was “invalid” because “it was not a decision that was available to the Minister on the basis of the information that was before him at the time”.

One anonymous caregiver said “it felt so wrong that I could not live in my house, caring for my son, and have the life we had, unless I was vaccinated. To have someone in an office, who had never met us and didn’t know our situation, make this law, felt like a gun to my head.”

Another caregiver, Jude Bignell, said their funding was cut and they were “threatened with a hefty fine” for providing the intensive care their son required.

“After years of planning and expense, this put an end to plans to build a new home to accommodate our son’s needs. Today is a win for common sense.”

The parties went to the Wellington High Court last week, having already agreed to a set of declarations to be made about the matter.

According to a joint memorandum before the court, the applicants had lost their jobs caring for their family members and spent nearly a year without funding until the mandates were removed.