The Government has abandoned its appeal against a ruling that found the police and NZDF vaccine mandate was ‘unlawful’.
Unvaccinated police officers and NZDF staff, who faced losing their jobs on March 1 after the Government determined staff needed to be vaccinated, challenged the order in the High Court.
One-hundred and sixty-four police staff and 115 from the NZDF were affected.
Justice Francis Cook said in his judgement, "the order does not involve a reasonable limit on the applicants' rights that can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society, and that is unlawful".
"The order... was imposed to ensure continuity of the public services, and to promote public confidence in those services, rather than stop the spread of Covid-19.
"I am not satisfied that continuity of these services is materially advanced by the order."
The Government appealed the decision. On Tuesday, the lawyer representing the unvaccinated police and NZDF officers said that appeal had been abandoned.
“[This morning] the Government gave notice they were abandoning their appeal against the High Court decision,” lawyer Matthew Hague told 1News.
“We don’t know why the Government decided to abandon its appeal now – but it never should have been made,” he said.
“The appeal prolonged the division and hurt caused by the Government’s unlawful vaccine mandate."
Police and NZDF respond
"Crown Law have withdrawn the Crown’s appeal of the High Court judgement which set aside the Covid-19 Public Health Response (Specified Work Vaccinations) Order 2021," said a police spokesperson.
"The withdrawal of the appeal has no impact on the process police has been undertaking to welcome affected staff back to work."
The NZ Defence Force echoed the sentiment.
"The withdrawal of the appeal has no impact on NZDF processes moving forward in respect of vaccinations," said a NZDF spokesperson.