The idea that we should think about the next pandemic is not a high priority when the country is still going through one that the public and Government want to put in the rear-view mirror.
Yes, there are many other issues to think about, but if a tsunami had caused the deaths of more than 1500 Kiwis, there would be inquiries and studies underway into how the disaster was handled, what we could learn from it, and New Zealand's future preparedness.
In 2020 the initial fear of Covid-19 was followed by relief as the country's suffering was kept down. Last year's vaccine rollout was accompanied by division, frustration and lockdown lethargy.
This year has brought us disconnected dread, with the coronavirus - now evolved to be far more transmissible - finally causing death and severe illness at a level New Zealand had previously avoided. But it has also ripped through the population with mostly less serious consequences, and many have so far dodged it. International travel has been made a lot easier.
There's still a lot that's not known about the full health consequences, but the desire of people and governments to ''move on'' means Covid will have a long drawn-out tail, as it continues to evolve with humans the world over as its guinea pigs.
If Omicron's subvariant BA.2 was a gnarly child, its sibling BA.5 appears to be worse. At some stage in the coming years a descendant could spark a new pandemic or another new coronavirus - like Sars and Mers before Covid - could break out.
This week the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum is being held in Sydney for political and business leaders, and the two countries' prime ministers are also due to hold talks.
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The forum will discuss Covid's impact, and how the neighbours can deal with various challenges over economic and foreign policies.
Australia and New Zealand are allies, rivals, and competitors for workers and trade. But the pandemic highlighted common interests, comparisons and co-operation, including on the transtasman travel bubble. That could all be deepened for a future pandemic threat. The two countries could compare notes via a joint probe into what worked and didn't in their responses.
Some dual investment in medical research projects and crucial health supplies would help both sides going forward. Australia will host a Moderna plant able to produce mRNA Covid vaccines from 2024 and the country is also building regional quarantine facilities. The neighbours would benefit from upgraded ventilation systems becoming part of standard building codes.
A consistent approach for a future pandemic across both countries could allow for a border bubble covering both from the start. It could result in a combined effort to lessen any supply disruptions that arose.
And it could lead to more consistent messaging. There have been common problems with messaging in different countries, such as governments telling people that being ''fully vaccinated" meant two vaccine doses. Governments have struggled to explain the benefits of boosters and masks or to stress that the vaccines were made to reduce deaths and hospitalisations, not to stop infections.
The two countries would be missing an opportunity if they didn't investigate ways to work together on preparedness and future pandemic policy. After all, we're neighbours.