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Formal review into Government's Covid-19 response would be a distraction, Chris Hipkins says

Health Minister Chris Hipkins says a formal inquiry into the Government's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic would "distract people's attention" from New Zealand's response while we're still under threat from the virus.

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The Health Minister says a review will "absolutely" take place, but now is not the time. Source: Breakfast

It comes after epidemiologist Michael Baker argued that the Government should undertake an inquiry sooner rather than later.

Countries like Taiwan have, in his opinion, fared better during the outbreak, and New Zealand should bring on an inquiry into how we can improve our performance.

"We'd want to get going on this quickly, because some of the changes we want to make are to protect us now. They're not for the next pandemic - they're for this pandemic," Baker said.

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The pandemic is expected to sweep the globe for at least another year, and experts say we should refine out approach. Source: 1 NEWS

However, Hipkins this morning told TVNZ1's Breakfast that a formal review will "absolutely" take place, but now is not the time.

"I've always said that I think we will reach the point where something formal, whether it's a Royal Commission or something else like that, will be both justified and in fact necessary and useful in this case," he said.

"What we don't want to do, though, is set up a very formal inquiry at the moment that would distract people's attention because an inquiry's going to want to go out and interview people. The people that they're going to want to interview are the people who are right at the moment full tilt in the response phase of Covid-19 and we're going to be doing that for a little while longer."

Hipkins said it is important to have some sort of review in the future, but in the meantime "we've got to learn as we go".

"We do have to be constantly reviewing our response and saying, 'OK, what went well about that? What did we learn? What are we going to do differently next time?' In the meantime, we're reviewing as we go so we are always looking and saying, 'What could we have done better there?' so we can build that in for next time."

Hipkins cited improvements in the Government's contact tracing and testing regime.

"That's a system that's learning as it's going."