Delta derailed 2021, here’s hoping for a better 2022

2021 was not the year anyone expected and was largely shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Vaccines – using technology that has been developed over the past few decades – were rolled out, but misinformation and distrust undermined vaccination efforts globally.  The emergence of the more contagious Delta variant changed the COVID-19 landscape.  Many countries which had successfully maintained an elimination strategy while waiting for vaccine production to ramp up, including NZ, were forced to change tack once the virus eventually evaded tightly-controlled international borders.  Supply chain shortages became even worse over the past year as international shipping struggled to cope with demand.  As a result, inflation reared its ugly head, adding another twist for policy makers to contend with. But in NZ – despite the Delta outbreak and the awful 100+ day lockdown Auckland endured – we are ending the year on a somewhat positive note.  Like Australia, NZ saw pleasingly-strong vaccine take-up.  As a result of high vaccination rates, COVID-19 case numbers are falling in Auckland despite an easing in restrictions.  Vaccination remains the way for our economy to move to a ‘new’ normal and avoid lockdowns.  Many New Zealanders socialise outdoors through summer, and this should also keep the virus somewhat manageable for the next few months.

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Mark Smith

Senior Economist

Mark joined ASB in 2017, with over 20 years of public and private sector experience working as an economist in New Zealand and the UK.

His resume includes lengthy stints at ANZ and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, and he has also worked at the Bank of England, HM Treasury and the New Zealand Transport Agency. Mark's areas of specialisation include interest rate strategy, macro-economic analysis and urban economics.

Born and bred in the Waikato, Mark studied at Waikato University where he graduated with a Master of Social Sciences, majoring in Economics.

Mark's key strengths are the ability to use his extensive experience, inquisitive nature, analytical ability, creativity and pragmatism to dig a little deeper and to deliver common sense solutions to tackle complex problems.

When not at work Mark likes to travel, keep fit and spend time with his friends and family.