Covid-19 is doing the govt a favour by focusing attention away from its failures and follies

The  reverential   aura enveloping  the  Ardern government   is beginning to fade and ministerial  fallibilities are  emerging. Just as  suddenly, the  media  are  offering  some  space  to  critics  of  the  government.

Richard  Prebble  is  calling for a  Royal Commission into   the  government’s  handling of the pandemic response.  ACT’s  David Seymour  sees  the  government’s rollout of the vaccination programme  as  an “insulting lottery”.

The Prime Minister’s   famed  kindness  and compassion  did not extend to “Case L”  in Papatoetoe who, she said,  ignored instruction in going to work at  a  local KFC.  But  the PM’s  anger  was  misplaced: “Case L”  had  been told  she was free to go to work.   “Case L” is  said  to have been distressed  by  the  vilification she suffered  in social  media.

And  now it  is  becoming apparent how  the pandemic and the government’s response to it are wreaking  havoc among  businesses.  News media have reported  this week how   businesses  which have held on for months of  Covid-19  disruption  are  starting to fold as  pressure  mounts  with  no clear  end  in sight.

That  throws  into  the spotlight  what  some believe  is  the tardy  rollout   of  the  vaccination programme . Even though  the government  was  quick to declare  it had been  active in placing orders for vaccine, they have been slow  to arrive, at  least in  comparison with other countries now well advanced  with  their programmes.

On Monday the Prime Minister said who would get vaccines and when there would be a ‘rolling decision-making programme.’  Subsequently Chris Hipkins described it as more like ‘a rolling maul.’

David  Seymour  says:

“I’ve always been of the view that if the government has a plan, we deserve to know it, and if they don’t have a plan, we deserve to know that too.  Now we have proof that Cabinet is making our vaccination programme up as it goes along, signing off different tiers of the population at every Monday Cabinet meeting and then holding a big reveal later in the week.”.

While   the  government  may feel   it  will  maximise   the  gratitude  of  NZers  as  the vaccination programme is rolled out,   the  fact  is  other  countries  are  doing it  much better. In the  UK  20 million have already received  their vaccinations.  In Israel  more  than 50%  of the population have been vaccinated. Two  months  ago  Australians were given the priority order in which 17 different population and occupation groups  would receive the  vaccine. They were then given access to an online tool that allowed them enter their ages and occupations.  This process  revealed whether vaccination for their cohort had begun (and if so how to book in for a jab) and if it hadn’t begun when it was likely to begin, based on a coherent national rollout plan.

Seymour  says  New Zealanders  know from the revealing comments of Dr Ashley Bloomfield that Cabinet has updated Ministry of Health advice on the order vaccines should be delivered, but Chris Hipkins says the government is preferring to make the announcements tier by tier.

Seymour   calls  on  the  government  to be  “honest”   on the rollout and give people the ability to plan their lives and businesses

The  government  is  probably thankful   the focus  on  Covid-19  is  obscuring   the  other  worsening  problems  in  the  country,  not  least  the  hardships  being  experienced   in  many  communities.

This  week   the  tourist   resorts  in Westland  found  their  cries  for   help  falling  on deaf ears  during visits by   Ministers  Stuart  Nash   and Damien O’Connor visited.

O’Connor,  in  finding  himself  offside with his  constituents,  is  in a  familiar   place:   he   didn’t earn any  credit   when   he  told  Australia  it  should  be  more  “respectful”  to  China.

That  remark, along  with some  by  Foreign  Minister  Nanaia Mahuta,  upset  Canberra  and  forced   Ardern    to tick off  her ministers  as  she scrambled  to get back  onside with Australia’s  Scott  Morrison.

The  cack-handed  undiplomatic   comments  strengthened  China  and have given  Beijing  the  opportunity  to drive a wedge   between NZ and  its allies.

NZ  is  being  closely watched  by Canberra, Washington  and London  as  they see  us sailing in dangerous  waters  because  of  our heavy dependence  on  our China  trade. They  are  wondering   if  Wellington  has  absorbed  how  much  China  has  changed,  particularly  in its  treatment of  Hong Kong, the Uighurs, and  human rights.

If  NZ  somehow  misses  the  call,  it  could find  itself  in  even more  dangerous waters  than with  the  pandemic.

2 thoughts on “Covid-19 is doing the govt a favour by focusing attention away from its failures and follies

  1. Petrol and diesel prices soaring again too. I thought the Minister of Waffle, Dr Wood, was going to see to those nasty oil companies. A drop in fuel prices was assured by the good Dr. What happened?


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