Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins has revealed the next big challenge for New Zealand in terms of its fight with coronavirus will be anti-vaxxers and combating vaccine disinformation.
He said as New Zealand gears up for what will most likely be the biggest immunisation campaigns in its history, anti-vaxxers could be a "significant" problem.
"We do have to accept that among significant portions of our population, there will still be vaccine hesitancy."
Hipkins was speaking at the traditional Victoria University post-election conference in Parliament this morning.
Although much of his speech was reflective of "one of the most challenging years in our history", Hipkins did spend some time looking to the future.
Vaccine development was looking "very, very promising".
And when the vaccine is available in New Zealand, the Government plans to roll that out as quickly as possible.
But that will come with a whole host of challenges – one being the need to combat the lack of information and disinformation.
He didn't use the word anti-vaxxers, but it was clear he was talking about vaccine-sceptics when he was talking about "vaccine hesitancy".
"That could be a significant focus for us in the first part of next year," he said.
There were a number of other speakers, including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, National leader Judith Collins and Act leader David Seymour.
Seymour was markedly relaxed and opened up about his frustrations around election coverage to those in attendance.
He said he wrote a book about Act party policy and no one really batted an eyelid.
But when he entered a "dance completion – f**k me, I couldn't go outside".
Seymour said that even if he wore a baseball cap as a disguise, he would still be noticed.
Collins was also quite frank in her assessment of the election.
She revealed that she almost rejected the leadership of National after Todd Muller stood down.
"My first reaction was 'no'. My second reaction was 'why?'" Collins told those at the event.
"I wouldn't quite describe it as a poisoned chalice, but it was hardly a golden ticket," she continued.
Ardern – who was in Whakatāne for Whakaari/ White Island commemorations and spoke via video link – also reflected on 2020, the year that "threw a bit of a spanner our way".
She spoke of how difficult the decision to postpone the election was and the anxiety she felt that every phone call she got could be officials informing her of another community outbreak.
On the election campaign itself, Ardern said Labour made an active choice to campaign in non-traditional Labour areas.
"It wasn't just an election campaign, it was a large focus group," she said.
In the end, she said that was the right decision.
"It goes without saying how humbled we were to welcome 23 new MPs."