New Zealand’s COVID-19 protests are about economic freedom


New Zealand was one of only five economically free countries in the world, as measured by the Heritage Foundation’s 2021 Index of Economic Freedom.

For years the people of New Zealand have enjoyed a strong rule of law, clear regulatory efficiency and free and open markets. The size of government has been relatively small, which is a boon to economic freedom.

Recently, however, the New Zealand government has been ignoring people’s economic freedom in a bid to eradicate all traces of COVID-19 from the island nation in the southwest Pacific Ocean.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s leftist government’s restrictive pandemic response policies have destroyed the livelihoods of service professionals, retailers and small businesses, among others.

Many of these people disagree that they should bear such high costs related to the government’s fight against COVID-19, and that’s understandable.

Kiwis have been ordered to stay home for long periods during the pandemic. More recently, this applied to almost 1.7 million people in Auckland from mid-August to early October. Those under lockdown have not been allowed to meet family members who do not live with them, or even meet them outdoors or go to the beach or parks.

Businesses were forced to close permanently. A small business owner from South Canterbury, New Zealand told the Timaru Herald:

We can’t go another year. This year has been really bad, and other school holidays have just ended.

We had five employees and we had to let them all go. It’s heartbreaking. …

There are a lot of places in Twizel that have closed, a lot in Tekapo that have been mothballed or gone bankrupt.

In October, the New Zealand government finally backed away from the policy it had had since the start of the pandemic of seeking to eliminate all cases of COVID-19 nationwide. But severe restrictions remain in place and are decimating businesses, including the once booming tourism industry.

Many New Zealanders are protesting in the streets over the continuing restrictions.

Reuters reported from Wellington on November 9:

New Zealand tightened security measures at its parliament on Tuesday as thousands of people gathered to protest against COVID-19 vaccination mandates and government shutdowns aimed at controlling the pandemic.

All but two entrances to the Parliament building, known as the Beehive, were closed in unprecedented security measures as mostly unmasked protesters marched through central Wellington and marched assembled in front of Parliament.

While the protest was peaceful, many people were seen holding placards and placards with messages such as ‘Freedom’ and ‘Kiwis are not lab rats’ and shouting slogans as they demanded the government cancels compulsory vaccination and lifts restrictions.

The New Zealand government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has been so devastating for small businesses, has not eradicated all of COVID-19.

The economic costs to individuals and their families due to the response should not be ignored or assumed to be “worth it”.

Maintaining New Zealand’s status as one of the very few economically free countries in the world now depends on Kiwis successfully exercising their democratic authority over their government and its officials. The return of New Zealand as a land of great economic freedom is essential.

Do you have an opinion on this article ? To ring, please email [email protected] and we will consider publishing your amended remarks in our regular “We hear you” column. Don’t forget to include the article’s URL or title as well as your name and city and/or state.


Comments are closed.