Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Equality under the law?

Twelve days ago New Zealand was shocked to learn that a rich Auckland couple had abused "essential worker" paperwork to break lockdown and fly down to Wanaka for a holiday. But despite multiple criminal offences apparently being committed, they still haven't been charged:

At least 20 people have been charged with breaching lockdown rules in the past 12 days but the couple who fled Auckland for a trip to Wānaka are yet to face any enforcement action.

Auckland couple William Willis and Hannah Rawnsley allegedly used essential worker exemptions to travel to a holiday home on September 9.

They have since apologised for their actions, but almost two weeks on, despite indicating the pair would be charged with breaching the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act, police say their investigations are continuing and no charges have been laid.

The article has a long list of examples of people who have been quickly and rapidly charged for identical behaviour. But this couple haven't. Why not? Pretty obviously, because mummy is a judge, and apparently that merits a higher standard of treatment from police. And even if this is about careful checking to ensure a case withstands scrutiny, that immediately implies that the cases of mere peasants don't merit such care (and that therefore they may be facing inappropriate charges).

The overall impression is like that of the Helen Clark motorcade incident, where police bent over backwards to avoid charging anyone, because a Very Important Person was involved. But the law should apply to everyone, even if they're the Prime Minister or their mother is a judge. And if it doesn't, then the state has no grounds to demand that the rest of us obey it.