COVID-19: Spirituality a fundamental part of wellbeing


The Salvation Army is concerned that the Government’s Health Response Bill, designed to empower police to deal with breaches of Covid-19 alert level 2 rules, does not consider spiritual wellbeing alongside physical wellbeing.

The Army considers Sunday church services an ‘essential service’, as they offer spiritual health; a vital component of wellbeing.

They say that as frontline welfare responders to the economic and social effects of the Covid-19 crisis, they have seen first-hand the struggle many New Zealanders are facing with emotional and financial needs and societal and family disconnection.

The COVID-19 Public Health Response Bill makes no allowance for  or trust in religious gatherings, “which further indicates this Government’s low view of spirituality as a fundamental part of overall wellbeing,” Salvation Army Māori Ministry director Lt-Colonel Ian Hutson says.

Hutson says the Bill shows a lack of trust in iwi, hapū and community groups to work within the Covid-19 guidelines, despite the proven leadership of Māori in protecting the health and wellbeing of whānau during Levels 3 and 4.

A range of academics has called for public consultation given the nature of the new law, backed by the Human Rights Commission which said there was a risk of “overreach” when sweeping powers were granted in times of national emergency.

“Mistakes are made and later regretted. This is precisely when our national and international human rights, and Te Tiriti, commitments must be taken into account.”

The law will sit on the statute books for two years, but Parliament will have to actively renew the Act every 90 days.

The government has bowed to pressure and will now allow public scrutiny of the law by means of a select committee.


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand.

Tags: , , ,