| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

New Zealand announces review of its handling of COVID-19 pandemic

The New Zealand government announced on Monday that it will look into how the nation handled the COVID-19 pandemic so that future governments may benefit from the experience.

The government said in a statement that a Royal Commission, the highest level of public inquiry in New Zealand, would examine the whole response. Without going through specific central bank actions, that would entail taking into account economic variables such as fiscal and monetary policy responses.

The aim would be identifying lessons that could be applied in a future pandemic.

“It had been over 100 years since we experienced a pandemic of this scale, so it’s critical we compile what worked and what we can learn from it should it ever happen again,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a statement.

A one-time poster child for tackling the coronavirus, New Zealand’s swift response to the pandemic and its geographic isolation kept the country largely COVID-19 free until the end of 2021, winning Ardern strong domestic support.


But anger over vaccine mandates for people working in sectors such as health and education and strict border closures prompted protests earlier this year. The government’s financial response is also now being blamed by some political opposition parties for contributing to three-decade high inflation.

The review will be concluded in mid-2024, the government said.

  • Reuters