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Government Consults On Expanding COVID-19 Inquiry Terms Of Reference

The Government is delivering on its commitment to enable public input into expanding the scope of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into COVID-19 Lessons, says Internal Affairs Minister Brooke van Velden.

“As committed to in both the ACT-National and NZ First-National coalition agreements, the public will be given the opportunity to have their say on a broadened terms of reference that addresses the handling of the response and many complex impacts of the COVID-19 response.

“The current terms of reference were decided by the same Government responsible for the COVID-19 response and they place significant limits on what the inquiry can consider. New Zealanders deserve a frank assessment of what occurred and how we can learn from it.

“The Government is seeking feedback on the inclusion of the following topics, as part of its commitment to expanding the scope of the inquiry:

  • Use of multiple lockdowns
  • Vaccine procurement and efficacy
  • The social and economic impacts on both regional and national levels
  • Whether the decisions made, and steps taken, were justified
  • The cost-effectiveness of the Government’s policies, and whether the rules set by the Government appropriately balanced COVID-19 elimination with other goals
  • The Government’s utilisation of partnerships with business and professional groups
  • The extent of disruption to New Zealanders’ health, education, and business as a result of the Government’s policies
  • If the Government’s response was consistent with the rule of law
  • How New Zealand’s pandemic preparedness compared to other countries
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“The engagement will begin in February, and details about the opportunity to have your say on the terms of reference and how people can share their experiences of the pandemic will be announced soon by the Royal Commission.

“This is a forward-thinking piece of work. It is not simply about learning what went wrong, but working out what we need to do right in the future.

“This Government is ensuring all New Zealanders’ concerns are heard.”

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