Australia's Covid alarmist to chair NZ royal commission

Melbourne-based professor Tony Blakely, who championed harsh Covid measures in Australia, appointed by Jacinda Ardern to oversee inquiry into the effectiveness of New Zealand's pandemic response.

Australia's Covid alarmist to chair NZ royal commission
Tony Blakely / ABC
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A royal commission into New Zealand's COVID-19 response will be chaired by Professor Tony Blakely, one of Australia’s most prominent Covid alarmists.

The Melbourne University epidemiologist was arguing as recently as April that contacts of a positive Covid case should quarantine for seven days, regardless of whether they contracted the virus.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Blakey’s appointment this week.

Ardern said Blakely, originally from New Zealand, would chair the inquiry set to start early next year and would report back on the effectiveness of the country’s Covid response.

"Every country in the world has grappled with COVID-19 and there was no playbook for managing it," Ms Ardern said.

"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.

"New Zealand experienced fewer cases, hospitalisations and deaths than nearly any other country in the first two years of the pandemic but there has undoubtedly been a huge impact on New Zealanders both here and abroad.

"A Royal Commission of Inquiry is the highest form of public inquiry and is the right thing to do, given the COVID-19 emergency was the most significant threat to the health of New Zealanders and our economy since World War II."

Terms of reference for the inquiry state that Blakey, and two others, would assess whether the health and economic measures taken by the government during the pandemic "were effective in limiting the spread of infection and limiting the impact of the virus on vulnerable groups and the health system".

This would be judged "having regard to New Zealand's circumstances, what was known at the time, and the strategies adopted by comparable jurisdictions".

Findings would be used to shape government responses to future pandemics.

In Australia, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has said there will be a similar inquiry “at some stage”.

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