ZB

Kate Hawkesby: For once, kudos to the Government

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Thu, 14 Apr 2022, 7:18am
(Photo / NZ Herald)
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Kate Hawkesby: For once, kudos to the Government

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Thu, 14 Apr 2022, 7:18am

Hallelujah, praise the Lord, kudos to the Government today for coming to their senses, for ignoring the howls from the epidemiologists, and for finally putting us all where we need to be – into an orange light.  

I’m thrilled for the tourists arriving, for the hospitality sector, for retailers, for the events business, for nightclubs and bars, for everyone who’s been hamstrung by a red light.  

Not only that, there’s no big delay on it which I thought there would be. Into an orange light – boom, as of midnight last night, no mucking around, that’s what we like to see. Decisive bold action.  

I couldn’t work out why the PM wasn’t there to deliver this resoundingly positive news in person. I mean surely, she’d want to be the face of such good news? But no, it was left to Chris Hipkins. Who, I have to say, turned up woefully under prepared which I also thought was unusual. Why did he not have the rules of Orange at his fingertips? How did he not know there’d be questions on that? Surely the most obvious part of it would be the mask rules.. and yet that was the very thing he seemingly knew nothing about.  

Not only that, he took a wild guess and got it wrong. So wrong that he had to apologise for giving the wrong information. No.. at the pulpit of truth? A mistruth? How is this possible? He admitted to not having ‘refreshed himself’ with the guidance around mask use before he came to do the press conference. He apologized, admitted he should have been better prepared, but said that “there’s been a lot going on.” 

Not really an excuse when you’re a senior Minister in Cabinet and your one job as Covid Minister is to actually know and be able to explain the rules you’ve invented around where and when to wear a mask. Which by the way is so confusing in Orange I won’t even try to explain, but you can look it up. Suffice to say it’s probably safest to keep a mask on you at all times just to be ready for the different circumstances they’re required. 

He wasn’t the only senior minister caught short yesterday though. Megan Woods, Associate Finance Minister, didn’t even know what the official cash rate was until she googled it. Winston Peters said there was something dramatically wrong with that, he said “if you don’t know these things, then what exactly are you bringing to the Cabinet when you come to make decisions?” 

I’m not sure how, in a week when the biggest story out of Australia was Albanese’s gaffe at not knowing the cash rate, how you don’t think to school up on that here? How you think you won’t get asked? Surely you must assume it’s likely and you should know it. And how do they not know this stuff anyway?  

The details of their own portfolios should be apparent to them at all times surely? An Associate Finance Minister should know the cash rate, a Covid Minister should know the mask rules. Apologists will tell you they’re busy and tired, aren’t we all?  

But sadly ‘having a lot on’ is not really an excuse that washes when you’re in government. Being in government by its very definition is to have a lot on. It’s a privilege.  

But look, they got us to an orange light at long last, so for that today, I give them top marks.