Kate Hawkesby: Quit buck-passing on quarantine blunders

Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Mon, 22 Jun 2020, 11:44am
Megan Woods is now the Minister in charge of the quarantine facilities. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Kate Hawkesby: Quit buck-passing on quarantine blunders

Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Mon, 22 Jun 2020, 11:44am

The quarantine blunders don't appear to be going away. By all accounts, it's still a shambles, there's still not enough tests being done.

Yesterday we didn't even have enough hotel beds for people. But who is owning this?

I've listened to the Government duck and dive for days over who should be held responsible.

I note our smiling duo of director general of health Ashley Bloomfield and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have sharply exited stage left now that the news isn't so good. Housing Minister Megan Woods is now running the show. What's her new title? Chief Fixer-Upperer?

Whatever happened to accountability?

No one wants to believe the buck stops with the leadership, they're all busy sheeting it back down the food chain.

Who at the bottom of the food chain cocked this up? Let's get their head on a platter. God forbid that it should reflect badly on the politicians.

Two new Covid-19 case discoveries today proves the Government's isolation and quarantine system is working, the heads of the operation say.

Yet, these are the very same politicians who, in Opposition, could not call out hard and fast enough for heads to roll for any and everything.

How Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard got away with that half a million dollar slide still bewilders me. But this is a Government not interested in accountability. They use phrases such as "let's not play a blame game" and "let's not have a witch hunt".

Why not? Is the truth too hard to face?

Because here's the ultimate irony and hypocrisy: The rules our politicians expect us to follow in the private sector – are not remotely adhered to by them.

If this quarantine breach of the two sisters getting out without a test had happened in the private sector, WorkSafe could prosecute the firm for not taking all reasonable actions to ensure the safety of workers and others.

Personal criminal liability would extend to the PCBU, Person Conducting a Business Unit – which is Bloomfield, and the company directors – which would be David Clark for a start.

This is a massive double standard.

Is it because these politicians have never worked in the private sector?

Do they just have no respect or understanding of it? Is it a lack of experience in leadership?

If we look at it from a health and safety perspective, which let's face it, most companies are weighed down by on a daily basis.

The pages on health and safety governing businesses are so prohibitively long these days, that some businesses can barely operate.

Yet the same standard is not being applied here.

You cannot argue in the private sector, that "employees failed to follow rules" as a defence. It's not.

Business leaderships are accountable, they have to be. Entire boards crumble, livelihoods are lost, jobs gone, careers ended, reputations finished, on the back of cock-ups such as this.

And yet for the politicians, nothing. Crickets chirping. Nothing to see here.

In saying, "we don't want a witch hunt" what you're really saying is: We expect you in the private sector to follow all the rules but we won't.

How is that fair?