Vaccine certificates need legal backing - hospitality sector

New Zealand's 'vaccine passport' is likely to be a digital Covid-19 vaccination certificate...
New Zealand's 'vaccine passport' is likely to be a digital Covid-19 vaccination certificate containing a QR code. Photo: Getty Images
The hospitality industry wants to see vaccine certificates introduced but is furious about the legal risks they pose.

Hospitality NZ chief executive Julie White said its members can't afford to run the vaccine certificate system, bear the brunt of public antagonism and risk breaking the law.

It had advised the government through a submission on Thursday that a law was needed to exempt companies from the Bill of Rights, Privacy Act and Human Rights Act.

"We support vaccination certificates, because we're desperate to open, but the government must pass a law that protects us from legal action and costs.

"Delta is here to stay so we need a way out. Reaching a 90 percent vaccination rate will allow businesses to operate again. So we support vaccinations, and using vaccination certificates."

She said Hospitality NZ members were frustrated and angry the government had left it so late, putting businesses under pressure to do something drastic without legal protection.

"They know we're desperate - we've sacrificed $24 million a day in following the Covid-19 health response. Our survival is at stake, and dozens have already closed for good."

White said the situation was far more complicated than the government proposal appreciated.

"If our members start using certificates to deny entry they will immediately breach three pieces of legislation. There are members of the public just waiting to take a hospitality business to court," she said.

"Without protection of a law, businesses, workers, the public and the police will all face legal uncertainty and costs in trying to carry out a certificate scheme."

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