Former New Zealand COVID-19 Response Minister regrets not ending the blockade early

Former New Zealand COVID-19 Minister Chris Hipkins regretted the length of the blockade in Auckland, which began in August 2021 and lasted for more than three months.

Talk to TVNZ Q + AHypkins said one of the things the government would have done differently if it knew what it currently knew was to reduce restrictions faster.

“Perhaps there were some areas that could have been moved more quickly to ease some restrictions. The blockade in Auckland at the end of 2021 was quite nervous by the end. I think it was. We need to admit it.

“While raising vaccination rates, Aucklanders paid a great price for the continued suppression of Delta,” he said.

The Auckland people spent the longest time under the strict blockade of the country as the government pursued the Zero-COVID policy.

Although there are still new cases of COVID-19 every day, Hypkins said the country’s COVID response is now primarily related to the healthcare system, not the isolation or border control departments.

He also acknowledged that the COVID policy has several political elements as it requires the public to “participate”. Otherwise, the effectiveness of such policies will be reduced.

“In the end, there is no doubt that public support for maintaining border restrictions has begun to lack, so we need to deal with it,” he said.

Now that New Zealand has shifted its exclusion strategy to coexistence with COVID-19, it is necessary to take into account the impact of policies on economic and mental health outcomes, Hypkins said.

Obligations are not justified forever

But overall, Hypkins said New Zealand is proud of the mortality rate it sees compared to other countries.

“It’s hard to be proud of it. As you know, I think we had the lowest mortality rate in the OECD,” he said. “Japan and New Zealand are at the bottom of the table.”

“We ended the first part of the pandemic in a much better way than almost every other country in the OECD. That indicator alone makes us really proud of what we have achieved as a country. . “

As New Zealand’s COVID response shifts from multiple agency involvement to health alone, Hypkins said remaining policies, such as forced immunization of healthcare workers, could be continually reviewed and changed. Said.

“Are they justified forever? No, it’s not, so it’s something we government regularly reviews,” he said.

Rebecca Chu


Rebecca Zhu is based in Sydney. She focuses on Australian and New Zealand national affairs. Do you have a hint? Contact her at [email protected].