It Will Only Hurt a Little Bit: Compulsory Vaccination and the Right to Refuse Medical Treatment under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990

70 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2020

See all articles by Andrew Peden

Andrew Peden

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni

Date Written: 2019

Abstract

New Zealand law prioritises the right of parents to refuse vaccination over the interests of the wider public in preventing infectious diseases. As a result, poor immunisation rates leave the population prone to outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases. In contrast, Australia has obtained high levels of immunisation coverage by introducing vaccination requirements for receiving government benefits and enrolling in early childhood centres. This paper suggests that adopting the Australian vaccination model would be a viable method of improving New Zealand’s immunisation rates and would likely be a demonstrably justifiable limit on the right of parents to refuse medical treatment under s 11 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.

Keywords: vaccination, "right to refuse medical treatment", "bill of rights"

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Peden, Andrew, It Will Only Hurt a Little Bit: Compulsory Vaccination and the Right to Refuse Medical Treatment under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (2019). Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper No. 41/2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3634278 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3634278

Andrew Peden (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington, Faculty of Law, Student/Alumni ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington, Victoria 6140
New Zealand

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