National welcomes Covid-19 Royal Commission

After first calling for a Royal Commission into the Government’s response to Covid-19 more than a year ago, National welcomes today’s announcement, National’s Covid-19 spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“Covid-19 has affected every New Zealander and changed almost every aspect of our way of life over the last three years. It is imperative that there is a deep and comprehensive review of the health and economic impacts of the Government’s response.

“Parliament granted the Government extraordinary powers to respond to the pandemic. Late vaccines, late RAT tests and Kiwis stranded offshore should all be part of the inquiry, as should legal advice that the Attorney General would not release and redirection of Covid-19 funds for non-Covid-19 purposes.

“National is disappointed that other parties weren’t consulted on the membership of the inquiry or the terms of reference, which appear to be limited. We also note that a separate independent economic inquiry is still needed to paint the full picture of the effects that Covid-19 had.

“It is critical that this inquiry is wide-ranging, independent and gets to the heart of the major decisions, actions and inactions of the Government.

“New Zealand has a history of comprehensive Royal Commissions for significant matters of public concern, such as the Christchurch terror attack and the Pike River disaster.

“Given this history, and the extraordinary impact of Covid-19 on New Zealand, it is right that a Covid-19 Royal Commission is established.”