Charge Detail Summary

File Number: Nur 22/565P
Practitioner: Zelia Smart
Hearing Start Date:

Hearing End Date:

Hearing Town/City:
Hearing Location:
Charge Characteristics:

Communication inadequate/inappropriate (Established)

Codified professional standards breach


Additional Orders:

Name Suppression to Practitioner

Interim Order of suppression of the practitioner's name and any identifying details.

No application was made for permanent name suppression of the practitioner's name and identifying details.  The interim Order lapsed.


Appeal Order:


Full Decision 1363Nur22565P.pdf

Appeal Decision:

Precis of Decision:


A panel of the Health Practitioner’s Disciplinary Tribunal (the Tribunal) convened 31 October and 1 November 2023 to hear a charge laid by a Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) appointed by the Nursing Council of New Zealand against Ms Zelia Juel Smart (the Nurse).

The Charge alleges that:

  1. The Nurse posted and re-posted inappropriate comments to her Facebook page relating to the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine in 2019.
  2. The Nurse posted and re-posted inappropriate comments to her Facebook page relating to COVID-19 vaccination rollout implemented by the Ministry of Health during 2021. 

The PPC charged that the alleged conduct in these two particulars and their sub-particulars, separately and cumulatively, amounted to professional misconduct that warrants a disciplinary sanction.

A full copy of the charge is found in the Schedule of the full decision.



The Nurse obtained a Bachelor of Nursing from the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology on 20 November 2012. She first registered as a nurse on 9 August 2013. In July 2017 the Nurse was employed at the Dannevirke Community Hospital, a small community hospital in Dannevirke. On 4 December 2018 the Nurse went on maternity leave and later resigned on 22 September 2019 without returning to work. 

In 2019, the Nurse posted and re-posted inappropriate comments on Facebook regarding the safety and utility of MMR Vaccination. The Nurse made comments such as:

“Fuck this measles propaganda is ridiculous and all those buying into the hype of this “epidemic” affecting 0.02% of the AUCKLAND population need to look at the math.”

At the time the Nurse made the Posts set out in the sub-particulars of Particular 1 of the Charge, there was a National Public Health Service Response to a significant measles outbreak in the Auckland region which had commenced in March 2019.

From 1 October 2020 until 10 June 2021 the Nurse did not renew her Annual Practising Certificate (APC).  She later applied for a job and renewed her APC for 3 months from 10 June 2021. Around this time, the Nurse posted and re-posted inappropriate comments on Facebook regarding the safety and utility of COVID vaccination. For example, in August 2021, the Nurse posted:

“If you think it’s okay for 12 year olds to give informed consent for a drug in its TRIAL PHASES you are a psychopath.”

The Nurse made and re-posted on her private Facebook page 31 Posts relating to COVID vaccination set out in the sub-particulars of Particular 2 of the Charge.

On 13 September 2021, a staff member at Dannevirke Hospital alerted the Nursing Council about the Posts that the Nurse was making that were regarded as anti-MMR and anti-COVID-19 vaccine in nature. 



Except for particular 1.4, of which the comment’s meaning was unclear, and particular 2.1, which related to posts made while the Nurse did not have a current APC, the Charge was established as negligence and conduct bringing discredit to the nursing profession. The particulars were separately and cumulatively established as professional misconduct. 

Nurses should be aware of the Nursing Council’s Code of Conduct for Nurses (2012) as well as the Nursing Council’s Guidelines: Social Media and Electronic Communication, (Social Media guidelines). The social media comments made in this case fell short of those standards.



The Tribunal ordered:



Suspension of registration for a period of 6 months;

Costs of $16,000 to be paid by the Nurse.


The Tribunal requested that this decision, and a summary, be published on the Tribunal’s website.