100 Overall Score

New Zealand

  • 100 Public Health
  • 64.3 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based
  • 100 Public Health
  • 64.3 Financial
  • 100 Fact-Based

New Zealand has had very strong policy, particularly its reliance on science and facts, and its very strong financial response.

Pre-COVID Conditions

New Zealand scored highly on most measures but has a low number of hospital beds and is a country of average wealth.

  • Debt/GDP ratio 29.8%
  • GDP/capita $42,045
  • Gini coefficient (out of 100) NO DATA
  • Infant mortality rate (out of 1,000 live births) 5
  • Healthcare access score (out of 100) 86.2
  • Hospital beds/1,000 People 19.7

Government Response

Select a data point for more information
(Data points represent policy level as of Aug 1.)

Public Health Directives

New Zealand has had very strong public health policy, and it scored well in most public health areas, except in testing and emergency healthcare funds.

  • Stay at home order 1
  • Public gathering restrictions 0
  • School closings 0
  • Public event cancellations 0
  • Testing policy 2
  • Emergency healthcare investments/capita $62.21
  • Travel restrictions 4
  • Tests/1,000 people 0.4
  • Contact tracing 2

Financial Response

Despite a small stimulus package and limited debt relief, New Zealand has a relatively strong financial response to COVID-19, owing heavily to its very generous income support for workers.

  • Financial stimulus as share of GDP 10.8%
  • Income support 2
  • Debt forebearance 2

Fact-Based Communication

New Zealand’s government is very strong in this category, as it has not engaged in misinformation or limited press freedom in response to COVID-19.

  • Reliance on science/fact based information 0
  • Press freedom 0

COVID-19 Status as of Aug 1

New Zealand is among the best performers in this category, consistently scoring very strongly in all subcategories, likely attributable to its very low positivity rate and very strong policy score.

  • Total deaths 22
  • Death rate per 100K 4.6
  • Total cases 1,212
  • Cases per 100K 251
  • Percent of positive tests 0
Case Trend Line
Daily cases Level 1 Lockdown Level 2 Lockdown
Date Status New Cases/1M
1 May 13 Social distancing requirements are lifted 0.27
2 May 18 Schools reopen 0.06
3 May 21 Bars reopen 0.18
4 Jun 08 Restrictions on personal movements, gathering, workplaces, and services are lifted 0.00

Differentiating Factors

  • Aggressive lockdown contained virus: New Zealand's success in containing coronavirus has been praised around the world, but its tactics are difficult for most other countries to replicate. An island nation, it was able to completely close its external borders and refuse entry to travellers, while its low population density has been key to avoiding community spread. Read More
  • Health minister breaks lockdown: In early July, New Zealand's Health Minister resigned after breaking lockdown rules twice to go hiking and to the beach, and due to a failure in the country's strict border management policy. Two citizens returning to the country were allowed to leave quarantine without being tested and were later found to have coronavirus. Read More
  • Debate over lockdown's end: While the country's strict border closure is undoubtedly a major part of its coronavirus success, prominent voices including former Prime Minister Helen Clark called on the government to develop a plan that would enable New Zealand to keep cases low while opening up to trade, tourism and business travel in the coming months. Read More
Compared with Other Island Nations
  • 72
    Indonesia 108,376
    Per 1M

    Indonesia scores near the median, with its poor financial policy bringing its score down.

  • 58
    Iceland 1,885
    Per 1M

    Iceland has a relatively strong score, having substantially improved its public health and financial policy since the early fall.

  • 90
    Japan 34,372
    Per 1M

    Japan has a very strong overall score, driven by its generous financial response and a reliance on facts, although its public health policy is slightly below the median.

  • 60
    Taiwan 474
    Per 1M

    Taiwan has a relatively strong policy score, but its minimal stimulus and weak debt relief bring it down. However, the data does not accurately measure its advanced contact tracing, which may have diminished the need for more restrictions; this likely results in a score that underestimates Taiwan’s response.

Further Reading From Foreign Policy

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New Zealand

Statistics and government response factors available on each country profile include:

Pre-COVID Conditions:

  • Debt to GDP ratio
  • Infant mortality rates
  • Hospital beds per 1,000 people
  • Gini coefficients measuring inequality
  • Health access and quality

COVID-19 Public Health Directives:

  • Stay-at home orders
  • School-closing policy
  • Public-gathering restrictions
  • Cancellation of public events
  • Testing policy and rates per 1,000 people
  • Emergency healthcare spending per capita
  • Travel restrictions
  • Contact tracing

COVID-19 Financial Response:

  • Stimulus package as a share of GDP
  • Income support
  • Debt-forbearance

Public Communications:

  • Instances of misinformation by leadership
  • Limitations on press freedom, censorship

Current/Historic In-Country COVID-19 Status:

  • Death rates per 1 million
  • Case rates per 1 million