Coronavirus: New Zealand fails to join global COVID-19 vaccine fundraiser

Around $13 billion was raised.
Around $13 billion was raised. Photo credit: Getty

New Zealand has opted not to join a $13 billion global coronavirus vaccine fundraiser organised by the European Commission, despite being invited to.

As well as nations in the European Union (EU), countries that joined the pledge included Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, China, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Norway, and South Africa. 

Part of the EU's Coronavirus Global Response, the initiative came after a call from the World Health Organization (WHO) for global collaboration to accelerate development and production of new coronavirus treatments. 

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said the $13 billion commitment meant the world is "on track for developing, producing and deploying a vaccine for all."

A spokesperson for the European Commission confirmed New Zealand was asked to contribute, but the European Commission's website shows New Zealand has yet to join the pledge. 

"New Zealand, like many other countries, was invited to participate in the Global Response," the spokesperson said.

Estonia, whose gross domestic product is about seven times smaller than New Zealand's, according to the World Bank, pledged €100,000 - about NZ$180,000 - while Australia pledged more than €205 million - about NZ$368 million.

Pop-star Madonna pledged €1 million, von der Leyen said

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's office did not respond to a request for comment, sent on Tuesday morning.