Former Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister Sir Peter Gluckman says cohesion as a nation will become more important to New Zealand than ever as we look to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
New Zealand is seen as one of the most cohesive nations worldwide, he said, which is one of its greatest strengths.
Speaking this morning to TVNZ 1's Breakfast, Sir Peter said there would be a tendency over time for that cohesion to break down as Kiwis struggle to recover from the pandemic.
"Cohesion gives us the resilience that allows us to not only cope with a disaster, but to come out stronger from a disaster and we need to do that," he said.
"The world is tough out there - it's going to be tougher - it's going to be aggravated by economic recession."
Sir Peter acknowledged that it is an election year, but said it is important that New Zealand thinks as a whole, rather than adopting an us-versus-them mindset.
"We need to move out of this period with a common view of how we moved ahead as a country - that's not one political view or another, it's about a collective discussion within our community of how we deal with the issues that we've left in the too hard basket - how we map a common future for our way ahead.
"That's going to have to be an inclusive conversation - not one that's just 'this is the way this political party would do it, or that political party'.
"If we have a collective view of the future we can come out of this with a lot of pain for a lot of people - but we can get on faster and win in the world out there, which is a very tough world."