Andrew Dickens: Our great response to Covid-19 still deserves critiquing

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Mon, 29 Jun 2020, 1:13PM
Ashley Bloomfield and Jacinda Ardern. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Andrew Dickens: Our great response to Covid-19 still deserves critiquing

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Mon, 29 Jun 2020, 1:13PM

Is anyone really surprised that Paula Bennett has zipped it sweetie and ridden into the sunset?

After all, the horse she tied her cart to is languishing at the bottom of the party list.  The tone of the party she helped create has changed. Muller is a moderate centrist conservative who probably hates her leopard-skin coats. 

The National Party is no longer an easy fit for an animal like Paula. It’s only humane to let her go free to roam her savannahs looking for fresh meat. 

But it leaves the National Party weakened.  She was the campaign manager and the campaign has only days to go.  And I worry that National is losing too many of what I call the velociraptors.  The heavy hitters who like the thrill of competition in politics and do not just want a job as an administrator of this country.

It’s the Amy, Nikki, Todd and Paul show now and frankly, that’s pretty bland. 

Meanwhile, over the weekend I saw an opinion piece from Gordon Campbell, the left-leaning former Listener writer.

He was questioning why the media was so critical of the border botch ups over the past week. He accused us of following National Party attack lines.  He then went on to say how bad National would have been at managing the pandemic.  He believes National would have gone late and gone soft and that we’d be suffering similar numbers as Melbourne right now.

I feel the need to answer.

Unfortunately, Gordon, the media has to report on what’s actually happening and not on what might have happened under another fictional government.  There’s been far too many “what ifs” in this debate. You can imagine that National would have been terrible as much as you like but it’s still imaginary.

The media reported what happened and it wasn’t good. People did wriggle through the net.  Particularly the 55 given compassionate exemptions but not a test.

With the report into the weaknesses of our border system released over the weekend, we saw more headlines talking of strain and breaking points.

I read the report and I could see the problems. But I also read the report and marvelled at how much had been done so quickly.

20,000 people housed. 6500 beds found. A staff of 600 including 238 defence workers assembled, trained and deployed.  The logistics of beds and PPE and tests and food and transport and isolation.  It is a massive exercise and for the vast majority of cases we have succeeded.

Media always concentrate on the failures to help fix them.  They make better headlines.

So today I thought I’d concentrate on the positives.  All our Covid cases are being found in the managed isolation units showing that they work. There is no community transmission yet and every day is a blessing.  We have the most open domestic economy in the world. We have stadiums full of crowds and bars full of people.

We have been great. But not perfect.