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COVID-19 Group


The COVID-19 Group is responsible for integration of strategy and policy, system readiness and planning, insights and reporting, system risk and assurance, and public engagement and communications. We also deliver a national communications and public engagement campaign — Unite against COVID-19.


Our mission is to mobilise the collective capacity of government to eliminate COVID-19 while sustaining our economy and social cohesion.


On 1 July 2020 the COVID-19 Group was established as a business unit of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC).

The response to COVID-19 has required a significant effort from across government and will continue to require this coordinated approach for some time to come.

The business unit continues the enduring work of the National Crisis Management Centre following the centre's deactivation on 30 June 2020. It is mandated to coordinate, and where necessary lead, the All-of-Government response to the ongoing pandemic.

Structure and leadership

Office of the Deputy Chief Executive

The business unit is led by Cheryl Barnes in her role as Deputy Chief Executive, COVID-19 Group.

The COVID-19 Group consists of four main functions.

Strategy and Policy

This function is led by Arati Waldegrave, Head of Strategy and Policy.

The function:

  • provides advice to Cabinet on the Government's policy response to COVID-19.
  • integrates strategy and policy across government.

System Readiness and Planning

This function is led by Graham MacLean, Head of Systems Readiness and Planning.

The function:

  • maintains the National Resurgence Response Plan
  • coordinates operational work streams across government
  • tests public service readiness to respond to resurgence
  • provides data analytics, reporting, and insights
  • ensures system awareness of expectations.

Public Engagement and Communications

This function is led by Heather Peacocke, Head of Public Engagement and Communications.

The function:

  • delivers public information through the 'Unite against COVID-19' campaign
  • coordinates strategic communications and media support
  • ensures the public can access accurate, transparent information
  • builds public support and compliance for measures.

System Assurance and Support

This function is being established.

The function will:

  • provide a secretariat to the COVID-19 Chief Executives Board (CCB), and to external stakeholder panels
  • lead system risk framework and reporting
  • support continuous learning across the public service from the COVID-19 response.
Last updated: 
Thursday, 28 January 2021

Contact us

General enquiries

Contact us by using our online enquiry form

Office of the Chief Executive
Level 8 Executive Wing
Parliament Buildings


(04) 830 5000

Media enquiries

If your query is intended for the Prime Minister’s media staff then you should use and your query will go directly to them.

For all other media queries, please email

See also our Social Media Transparency Statement

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