The incoming New Zealand government, under Prime Minister-elect Christopher Luxon, has brokered a historic deal with New Zealand First, led by Winston Peters, to terminate all COVID-19 vaccine mandates and establish an inquiry into the pandemic.
Following weeks of negotiations, a coalition agreement has been established between the National Party, libertarian ACT New Zealand, and nationalist NZ First to form a new government.
During COVID-19, while Jacinda Ardern was prime minister, New Zealand introduced vaccine mandates for workers in certain settings and a vaccine pass for the public.
In October 2021, the government brought in a vaccine pass for workers and the public to access hospitality, gyms, and hair salons.
Chris Hipkins, who was a health minister during COVID-19, took over from Ms. Ardern as Prime Minister in January.
Incoming Prime Minister Mr. Luxon will be officially sworn in as Prime Minister on Nov. 27 together with ministers from the National, NZ First, and ACT parties.
The Deputy Prime Minister role will be shared between Mr. Peters and ACT leader David Seymour.
Independent COVID-19 InquiryIn addition to ending vaccine mandates, an urgent and comprehensive independent COVID-19 inquiry will be conducted, featuring both local and international experts.
The inquiry will look into how the COVID-19 pandemic was handled in New Zealand, including the use of multiple lockdowns and the efficiency of vaccine procurement.
Ahead of the election, Mr. Peters campaigned for possible vaccine compensation for those who lost their jobs or were proven injured by the vaccine.
The inquiry would also look into the social and economics of the COVID-19 pandemic and whether the decisions and steps taken were justified.
A national interest test will also be conducted before New Zealand accepts any deal with the United Nations.