Experts have weighed in on the new mandate of record-keeping during the pandemic, flagging issues of public trust, privacy and digital literacy.
On Sunday the Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced the Government would implement mandatory record-keeping for busy places and large gatherings at all alert levels, to lessen the load on contact tracers.
The order would apply at busy places like cafes, restaurants, bars, aged-care and healthcare facilities, exercise facilities, social service providers and government agencies, but not at supermarkets and other retail outlets.
The announcement came on New Zealand's fifth day at alert level 4, following the discovery of a community outbreak of the Delta variant last week.
Massey University Associate Professor and Toi Āria director Anna Brown said building trust was essential for the mandate to be effective, but that compulsion alone would not achieve this.
"Aotearoa New Zealand's success at managing Covid-19 has depended to a large extent upon trust and cooperation, and it is important that the Government continues to value and preserve that trust.
"We need to have a conversation about why scanning is useful, and for the public to understand that the most important reason to scan is for public safety. The fact that scanning is compulsory should not be the only motivating factor.
"People become fatigued by compulsion — we have seen this in Australia."
Auckland University of Technology Business information systems lecturer Dr Farkhondeh (Ferry) Hassandoust said an effective pandemic response depended on public trust and a wider awareness of public health.
Hassandoust believed the Government had taken the right steps in building trust in the public.
"We can expect people and businesses will largely adhere to the new protocols of mandatory sign-ins in the wake of the Delta outbreak."
Victoria University School of computer science Associate Professor Ian Welch said his main concern was the management of privacy, particularly when details were collected using a pen and paper, however these could be mitigated.
AUT Department of Computer Science Professor Dave Parry said the Covid tracer app protected privacy well.
"No information is shared automatically with the Government, unlike some other overseas systems," he said.
Unlike in Australia, where the police had used app data for criminal investigation, the New Zealand government had stated they would never use data from the Covid tracer app for enforcement purposes.
University of Auckland Koi Tū centre for informed futures Research Fellow said mandatory record-keeping would address one of the biggest challenges with contact tracing - the low levels of participation.
"Before the current outbreak of cases, only approximately 10 per cent of New Zealand adults were scanning QR codes on a regular basis.
"Modelling from Te Pūnaha Matatini last year showed that we need at least 60 per cent, and preferably 80 per cent ... with the delta variant, we need that participation rate to be higher than ever."
He said international evidence supports mandatory recordkeeping – used in Singapore, China and some Australian states - as the strongest driver for participation.
They had also seen unenforced mandates - such as mask-wearing on public transport – have a positive effect.
It was also an opportunity to address challenges around digital access and literacy, he said.
"By some estimates, as much as 20 per cent of the adult population does not have access to a smartphone or the skills to use one effectively.
"Policies such as vouchers for smartphones or more funding for community skills training could help improve the proportion of New Zealanders participating in digital contact tracing."
University of Canterbury Professor of Law John Hopkins said some manual method of sign-in would be required for people without a smartphone.
"Managing such a system may be problematic given that businesses will also need to protect the privacy of individuals (under the Privacy Act)."
Mandatory record-keeping will kick in seven days after each move down alert levels, to give businesses time to make the necessary changes.