The COVID-19 measures taken by the government ranked as the most stringent in the world, and the early lockdown procedures saved lives, stopped the spread of the virus and enabled the New Zealand economy to reopen. But at the same time, COVID-19 has laid bare the risks and vulnerabilities of small states in a global security environment characterized by large volumes of tourism and immigration, and dependencies in international student and agricultural markets and on vital supplies.
In this article, the author asks why are New Zealand’s civilian agencies not up to the task of border security operations? What role should military and intelligence agencies have in enhancing biosecurity and fighting pandemics? And can a country such as New Zealand be resilient to these types of risks while maintaining its free and open society?