Andrew Dickens: Zip it, Winston - now's not the time for a blame game

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Thu, 30 Apr 2020, 1:25PM
Winston Peters. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Andrew Dickens: Zip it, Winston - now's not the time for a blame game

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Thu, 30 Apr 2020, 1:25PM

We have a saying in our family: No-one needs a could have/should have conversation right now.

We pull that one out at moments of high stress when everything is going wrong and it’s bleedingly obvious that the reason it’s going all wrong is because of a poor choice in the past.

The Covid 19 debate is full of could have/should have conversations with people more than happy to tell us what we should have done in the past.  But we didn’t.

So the latest was Professor Des Gorman. The former dean of the Auckland Medical School was talking to the Epidemic Response Committee yesterday. His hot take reckon was that we should have closed our borders in mid-February rather than late March.  He reckons that we weren’t resourced to do it.

He’s right, obviously, and wrong all at the same time.  Actually, if we closed the borders in mid-January like Taiwan we could have been in an even stronger situation.

But no-one was seriously mentioning or considering a full shut down of that at the time.  Including Professor Des.  I’ve gone back and checked the stories.  The pressure came on early March.

And the reason the lockdown has worked is because of buy in by New Zealanders.

In my opinion, any leader who closed New Zealand at the height of tourism season when there was not one case on our shores would have been pilloried for economic sabotage even more so that the government is being criticised now.

So bless you, Professor Gorman, for your profound 20/20 hindsight at this difficult time. How about you tell us your wisdom going forward, rather than looking back.

Which he has.  His other hot take reckon is that based on the numbers, we could be at Level 2 now and if we’re not he reckons that’s because the Ministry of Health is worried about something that they haven’t told us about yet. Which could very well be the case.

But this is not the time or place backwards-looking blamestorming.  Instead of upsetting people over things we can’t change we might want to urge them to get up off the floor and get us going again.

And I thought the same thing when Foreign Minister Winston Peters started grumbling that New Zealand might join Australia in an inquiry as to whether China told us the truth in a timely manner about the virus.  

Scott Morrison has already gone full ham on an inquiry and the word is that the China/Australia relationship is much rockier now than most people realise.

We don’t need to be part of this fight right now.  We need China to buy some of our stuff.  Finding out how China screwed up does nothing for the situation we are currently in.  In my opinion, the Foreign Minister is committing a little bit of economic sabotage by mentioning it.  I guess it makes him seem tough but it’s not smart.

I’m sure China didn’t tell us the whole truth but knowing that changes nothing.  Right now I think it might be wise to hold your nose and take a march on Australia and sell China as much of our milk, beef and lobsters as we can right now. We’ll sort out the screw ups when we’re back on our two feet.

So Winston. Zip it sweetie.