The Lancet, one of the world’s oldest and most respected medical journals, says it would be valuable to conduct an
official inquiry into New Zealand's response to the covid pandemic.
An inquiry would help shape the necessary changes to its laws, public health infrastructure and institutions, the latest Lancet
The journal compared New Zealand’s covid response to Taiwan. Despite Taiwan’s closeness to China they had a more
successful covid mitigation response, without the need for repetitive lockdowns with fewer deaths and fewer incidences
than New Zealand.
Health minister Chris Hipkins has advised it is not the time to conduct an inquiry and that New Zealand should focus on
the current elimination strategy, epidemiologist Sir Ray Avery says.
“Taiwan's more successful covid response is primarily based on establishment of a dedicated national public health
agency to manage prevention and control of pandemics and other public health threats,” he says.
“Before covid, Taiwan had a multifaceted Centre for Disease Control organisation in place populated by experts in the
prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.
“New Zealand has no validated long term covid prevention strategies in place and no overarching agency to manage
immediate and ongoing pandemic risks. We should have an urgent inquiry.
“Its current strategy is reactive rather than proactive and often driven by advice from expert epidemiologists rather
than international infectious disease experts.
“There has been no covid prevention strategy put forward by the Ministry of Health (MoH). Information obtained under and
Official Information Act request showed none of the DHBs are providing N95 respirator fit testing to the majority of
their frontline medical staff as required by Worksafe NZ to prevent them from contracting covid.
“The Waikato DHB has advised the MoH they do not conduct fit testing for nurses for N95 or standard surgical masks.
“The MoH says mandatory testing is the responsibility of the individual DHBs not the ministry which reinforces the need
for an overarching NZ centre for disease control.
“On a good day, our hospitals have the second highest rates of hospital acquired infections rates in the developed world
and are woefully unprepared for an influx of covid patients.
“This is an opportunity to learn from other countries which have performed better and adopted proven covid mitigation
strategies and technologies to protect our team of five million.