A newly formed group of scientists will help to advise Government officials on crucial Covid-19 decisions - including exactly when it will be safe to open the borders.
Top epidemiologist Professor Sir David Skegg, who will chair the group, said the next few months would show a truer picture of how the country is faring and just how well the vaccination programme was going.
"We obviously need to end up as part of the world community. So at some stage, we have to open our borders and it's a question of when we can do this safely," he told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking.
"Obviously we need advice and ideas and actually, there's new information coming out every day about the virus and about the vaccines."
On the vaccination programme, Skegg acknowledged there was some public concern about New Zealand being behind some countries also carrying out a vaccine rollout.
But he said he did not see that as a disaster.
"First of all, we've obviously got far less urgent need than some places have to get the vaccine into people's bodies.
"But secondly, it's enabling us to learn from the experience of the countries that did desperately need to start their vaccination."
Skegg said over the last month or two, the Government had made what he called a "major pivot" to ensure everyone would have access to the Pfizer vaccine.
"Which, from my reading of the evidence, is the best vaccine," he said.
"That's something which I really welcome. I know what vaccine I'd rather get.
Skegg acknowledged that it was important to remember that when the borders do eventually open, there would be an increased risk.
Therefore, there would most likely be new public health measures put in place.
"Some of those people who are desperate to open the borders, are also people who complain when we have a lockdown.
"Do we all want to wear a mask every time we go outside the house, as most countries are doing? It is going to be a balancing act."
Ultimately, the advisory group would not be telling the Government what to do. It will be the Government's job to make the final decisions, Skegg said.
Their job was simply to give advice on the science - and the implications for health.
"It's not a question of health versus business. It's a matter of trying to find what's the best measure for New Zealand."
The group's other members are
• Dr Nikki Turner, a specialist in immunisation, primary healthcare and preventative child health.
• Professor Philip Hill, epidemiologist with expertise in infectious diseases and research.
• Dr Maia Brewerton, lead clinician at the Department of Clinical Immunology and Allergy at Auckland City Hospital.
• Professor David Murdoch, infectious diseases expert and dean of the University of Otago, Christchurch.
• Dr Ella Iosua, biostatistical expert at the University of Otago.
• Rodney Jones, special advisor.
• Shaun Hendy, special advisor.
- additional reporting: Radio NZ