Life after lockdown is an exciting prospect for many. But it is also set to result in hugely difficult and worrying times, a new report says.

Family violence, depression, anxiety and other issues can be expected to rise as people face loss of income, unemployment and simply being in close proximity with others all the time.

"Disadvantaged and socio-economically deprived communities are particularly at risk," the paper says.

"Unemployment, housing issues, dealing with the winter ills all disproportionately affect Māori and other marginalised communities.


"Can we truly explore the issues that confront these communities?"

The issues post Covid-19 lockdown in New Zealand have been analysed in a new report released by Koi Tū: Centre for Informed Futures.

The group, based at the University of Auckland, is an independent and apolitical think-tank launched early last month.

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The paper has been co-authored by Koi Tū director, Sir Peter Gluckman, and the group's deputy director, Anne Bardsley.

Sir Peter Gluckman is the director of the new think-tank group based at the University of Auckland. File Photo / Warren Buckland
Sir Peter Gluckman is the director of the new think-tank group based at the University of Auckland. File Photo / Warren Buckland

Depending on the road ahead, it may prove difficult to sustain social harmony between people with jobs and the unemployed and across different generations.

"In the face of ongoing or recurrent constraints to movement, social interactions and business operations, there is a potential over time - especially as winter approaches and election season appears - for social cohesion to be tested.

"The cohesion we see now in the immediate response may be replaced by anger, frustration, depression, anxiety and sad human stories."


One of the key aspects discussed in the paper is societal wellbeing and mental health post Covid-19 lockdown.

Of those directly affected by income loss, unemployment or ill health, about 5 to 10 per cent are likely to have prolonged Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - or PTSD.

As a recession deepens, that number would increase, the paper says.

"Already, we have very high rates of mental health morbidity in young people and issues of acting out, depression, anxiety and suicidality will grow.

"We must, however, also be mindful that the virus may have more tricks to play. This could lead to a prolonging or re-establishment of restrictions."

Incidents of family violence will go unreported

The paper also touched on another worrying consequence of being under lockdown for a long period time - a decrease in reports of family violence or incidents to welfare groups or authorities such as Oranga Tamariki.


"Lockdown decreases the number of societal eyes in play.

"School closures, limited general practice, restricted neighbourhood oversight, absence of sports activities ... means that many children at risk are socially invisible under the conditions of lockdown."

A separate report will be carried out specifically on the social and health issues related to the situation at a later date.

'It is clear we won't go back to where we were before'

Other aspects put up for discussion in the paper include the impacts on the economy, public service and how decisions made during lockdown, by Government, would impact society and New Zealand in months and years to come.

Dr Bardsley said the aim was to start important discussions in the wake of the country's response to the pandemic.

"It is clear that we won't go back to where we were before," she said.


"Instead, we will inhabit a new normal. Social, environmental, business and geostrategic impacts will echo for a long time and force both global and local change.

"We must seize this opportunity to have urgent reflection on many issues - not just to recover from the horrific disruption, but to find the opportunities for a better future." The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website