A group of the country's top business people are calling for more openness and clarity from the Government on its plan for getting New Zealand back to "Covid normal".
It comes after New Zealand marked one year with the virus on its shores and as Auckland settles back into level 3 lockdown following the emergence of new Covid-19 community cases.
The group includes the chairman of Chorus NZ and Auckland Airport, Patrick Strange; Mercury Energy chair Prue Flacks; The Warehouse Group chairwoman Joan Withers; chairman of SkyCity, Summerset and Tourism Holdings Rob Campbell; and University of Auckland chancellor and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare chairman Scott St John.
Strange said the events of the past few weeks had shown Covid-19 was firmly part of how we live and work in New Zealand and globally.
"While widespread vaccination will mean the pandemic phase will pass, the virus will continue to be a risk that threatens poor health outcomes and overwhelming the health system.
"As a group we share the strong desire of the New Zealand business community to support the country's response to Covid-19 in any way we can."
Withers said while big businesses had the capacity to deal with the uncertainty and change of Covid-19, smaller businesses that they worked with didn't have the same resilience.
"We are ready and willing to play our part in ensuring New Zealand's long-term success in managing Covid-19 and building the resilience in New Zealand necessary to cope with potential future pandemics. We have all discussed this widely with other chairs and colleagues and believe there is widespread support across New Zealand for our approach."
Finance Minister Grant Robertson said he would look at the group's comments.
"We'll always listen to the views of people like Rob and others," he told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking. "I certainly respect the role that they play for us. We are involving the business community and I think it was a couple of weeks back, we actually had a sit down with about 50-odd business leaders around the vaccine roll-out, for example, talking about how we can work together ... around logistics and so on.
"They've been heavily involved in the response so we'll take a look at what they're saying and make sure that they get involved as well."
Campbell told Hosking that they were supportive of the political leadership and response to Covid-19 and enormously appreciative of the work of the people on the front line.
"But when you are in a war, it is a good time to be planning for the peace and if you don't you will make major mistakes. That is what we are suggesting could be done a lot better."
Campbell said it wanted information to be shared in an open-source way rather than the ministry holding it close to its chest.
"Business has a role to play in it. Small business has a role to play in it. Communities have a role to play in it. We think this is a way of helping us move forward so certainly not a shot across the bows."
Campbell said there had always been an openness at the most senior political level but the ministries, in particular the ministry of health but also other government agencies involved, had tended to put their heads down and try and get on with it themselves rather than take a more open-source approach.
"And that is really all we are proposing. We are not asking for any special favours for business here, we are just asking for the ability to understand what the plans are, understand what the data is and make our input."
Campbell said he believed the Government had a number of plans for New Zealand's future.
"Business is quite good at organising and implementing things not necessarily the core competency of many government agencies and just as communities I think are pretty good at organising contact distribution all those sorts of things that are vital here.
"I think there has been a tendency in the ministries and other agencies to think it is their job and theirs alone. We are there to help, we want to help and if we don't help we won't get out of this."
Campbell said its move was about "working our way through a world where Covid will still be around for quite some period of time".
"We will protect our people better, we will protect our economy better if we have this open-source approach. If all the information is held in the ministries and government agencies then we won't get the best outcome."
Campbell said New Zealand had avoided the devastating health consequences seen overseas, but the country needed to be equipped for a future where it continued to manage Covid-19 long-term.
"We are positive about what has been achieved to date. We are all keen and committed to bringing our collective expertise to assist the Government in working for the longer-term benefit of all New Zealanders and look forward to the Government's response."
The announcement of the group's creation comes off the back of Auckland Mayor Phil Goff's comments that level 3 restrictions would see the city lose an estimated 200 jobs and $30 million per day.
Goff's comments were in line with estimates from ASB economists suggesting that New Zealand's economy would lose about $240m over the week, with Auckland taking on around $200m of that figure.
ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley told the Herald that while one week wouldn't change New Zealand's long-term outlook, the re-occurrence of lockdowns was becoming very challenging for some businesses within the economy - particularly those in the hospitality and events space.
What the group has asked for
Specifically, the group wants the status of New Zealand's near to long-term Covid-19 strategy to be made available beyond government circles.
It said it would welcome a "clear explanation" of the metrics, thresholds and milestones officials are tracking to judge the country's ongoing performance.
It wants the details of New Zealand's contracted access to vaccines, including the timing and size of each tranche of vaccines, the ongoing vaccine-purchase programme and the principles which will drive the roll-out.
It has asked for the publication of New Zealand's testing capacity and strategy, including any plans for enhanced community, workplace and surge-testing options, the inclusion of additional testing technology such as saliva PCR tests.
It wants to get an understanding of any future plans for a more automated approach to tracking and tracing, health passports and other technology to manage future community outbreaks and manage the vaccine roll-out.
And it has asked for information regarding status of the Government's plan to develop the "world's smartest border" to enable New Zealand business to reconnect with overseas customers, international students to return and friends and family to reconnect in Australia and the Pacific Islands through safe travel zones.