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New Zealand Health Ministry has posted details about their rejection of the May 2022 IHR(2005) Amendments to their website.

The text reads:

On Wednesday 29 November 2023, Cabinet reserved New Zealand’s position as to whether the 2022 technical amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHR) (in their entirety) should enter into force for New Zealand.

They did this until the Government can conduct a ‘national interest test’ on the amendments.

The only way to give effect to this was to formally reject the amendments. Rejections may be withdrawn by New Zealand at any time, after which the amendments would come into force, in accordance with Article 63 of the IHR.   

New Zealand has formally notified the World Health Organization (WHO) that it requires further time to consider the amendments, and for that purpose, rejects the amendments.

It is important to note this reservation relates to previous technical amendments adopted unanimously by the World Health Assembly, including in New Zealand, in May 2022 that will come effect in May 2024. The specific amendments reduce the timeframe within which any future amendments to the IHR would enter into force. The consequence of this reservation is that New Zealand will adhere to the former provisions, which give us 24 months to prepare for future amendments, and 18 months to decide whether to opt out. Other countries will have 12 months and 10 months respectively. 

The reservation is separate from more substantive IHR negotiations, as detailed in this webpage below. These substantive IHR negotiations are ongoing, and no additional amendments have been finalised. If there are any further amendments to the IHR, New Zealand will have the opportunity to consider these before they become binding.

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