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10 February 2021, University of Otago

The COVID‑19 pandemic has confirmed the near breakdown of an international rules-based order that New Zealand had almost taken for granted. With the UN Security Council largely marginalised, COVID‑19 has highlighted the absence of an effective international crisis-management system and had significant medical and economic effects around the world. To date, COVID‑19 has been responsible for more than 1.8 million deaths and over 87 million confirmed infections worldwide. At the same time, it is estimated the global economy contracted by a staggering 4.3% in 2020 and an additional 130 million people were pushed towards extreme poverty.

The focus of this conference is how New Zealand responds to the myriad challenges pandemics like COVID‑19 places on national security planning and policy. It will review such issues as the relationship between science and decision-making; rethinking the requirements of our national security organs to deal with deadly pandemics; vaccine nationalism vs international teamwork; the impact of the pandemic on the geopolitical and geoeconomic environment; and finally a wide ranging round table session on the security and well-being of New Zealand and the Pacific in the information domain following the recent events of the Christchurch terror attack and COVID‑19.


Professor Juliet Gerrard – Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor, University of Auckland

Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman – King's College, London (via Zoom)

Professor Michael Baker – Department of Public Health, University of Otago

Mr Andrew Hampton – Director General, New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau

Professor Ana Santos Rutschman – Center for Health Law Studies, Saint Louis University (via Zoom)

Ms Rebecca Kitteridge – Director-General of Security, New Zealand Security Intelligence Service

Mr Tony Lynch – Deputy Chief Executive, National Security Group, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Professor Peter CramptonKōhatu, Centre for Hauora Māori, University of Otago

Ms Megan Main – Deputy Chief Executive, Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment


National Security School Programme for 2021 (PDF)

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