13 May 2020

Fiery debate in Parliament over level 2 gathering rules

From Checkpoint, 5:07 pm on 13 May 2020

Public pressure has forced an abrupt u-turn from the government over how many people can attend a tangi at alert level 2.

From Thursday, funeral directors can apply to the Health Ministry to operate under the new rules.

Initially funeral guests were restricted to just 10 because the government was concerned about a potential second wave of infections and because people could not be relied on to socially distance in such an emotional situation.

But after a rethink funeral directors will be able to get special dispensation for up to 50 people to attend a tangi as long as the Ministry of the Health is satisfied they meet safety requirements.

This has all unravelled against the backdrop of a fierce debate on the urgent legislation needed to enforce these new level 2 rules with the National Party casting opposing votes all the way through.

RNZ political reporter Jo Moir has the details.