A High Court decision released today has determined that the vaccination mandate affecting a select group of Police and Defence must be set aside.

That Decision applies to the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Specified Work Vaccinations) Order 2021. This is not the health order which mandated vaccinations/boosters for firefighters.  

The Decision does not apply to our members.

However, the basis for the Decision now needs to be considered in the context of the wording and application of the Health Order that applies to our members.  We have sought an urgent legal opinion.

We have written to FENZ requiring the pausing of all actions reliant on the Government Health Order mandate, and the FENZ-imposed vaccination policy until the legal implications are understood.

Dear Rhys, Kerry and Brendan,

The High Court decision Yardley, Wallace and a Defence Force Worker v Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, Commissioner of Police, Chief Of Defence Force, and the Attorney General  released today raises serious questions as to the legality or enforceability of the Health Order mandates that apply to our membership.

While we accept the Decision applies to different legislation and expressly states it is limited only to a specific number of police and defence staff, the basis and reasoning for that decision may well be applicable to the Health Order covering our membership.

Therefore, while the legal implications and applicability of the principles in the judgement are  determined, we need to ensure no further harm occurs to our membership who are currently refused work based on the vaccination/booster mandates, are currently in a process regarding vaccination status, or those where the mandate or the FENZ policy will shortly apply.  

It is our strong view that FENZ must cease progressing any process which relies on the legality of the Health Order vaccination/booster mandate and cease any impacts on employment, wages and salary, and personal leave entitlements until the implications are fully understood.

It is also our strong view that FENZ should cease progressing any process that relies on FENZ’s vaccination policy for our members not covered by the Health Order mandate for the same reasons.

We require your undertaking that FENZ will cease immediately.

Please treat urgently and with the severity that it warrants.

Prior to sending the email I spoke with the National Commander Kerry Gregory urging FENZ to cease all progress on any matter regarding vaccination status.  He said FENZ were in the process of obtaining legal advice. 

  • The NZPFU advises affected members and their union representatives to cease any progress of any process that concerns their vaccination/booster status either under the Health Order or FENZ’s imposed vaccination policy.
  • I have asked Kerry to instruct all managers to cease the progression of members personal vaccination matters until the legal implications are understood.
  • The NZPFU position is that members and their union representatives do not participate in the progression of vaccination/booster status matters until further notice.  
  • In the interim those unable to work due to vaccination status will still have to remain out of the workplace until the legal application of the Health Order is determined.  However your employment should not be terminated while the legal implications of today’s Decision is determined.  
  • If the Health Order mandate is determined to be affected, the NZPFU will then pursue any necessary action for those that have been affected including security of employment and any impact on wages, salary and leave entitlements etc.

In unity,
Wattie Watson
National Secretary

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