Kate Hawkesby: Labour is milking Covid for all it's worth

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 5 Aug 2020, 10:41AM
Photo / File

Kate Hawkesby: Labour is milking Covid for all it's worth

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 5 Aug 2020, 10:41AM

Polls pointing to a Labour landslide is the only reason I can think of that the government has given up any kind of campaigning.

Campaigning on any issues I mean. Why bother?

They seem to have accepted that the one true redeeming feature for them these days amidst a swirling whirlpool of debt and unemployment, is to just keep saying the word, “Covid”. After all, it’s done very nicely for them thank you.

Internationally it’s won them praise, locally it’s won Ardern adoration, and from a media point of view it’s provided a never ending cycle of news content – which is just what the media needs and loves. Anything and everything with Covid in the press release makes the news.

But I notice yesterday the feedback into this station started to turn a wee bit.

“Sick of Covid”, one person texted, “isn’t there any other news?” Excellent point, and I wish there was.

There could be, given we’re 6 weeks out from an election, some issues or policies to discuss maybe?

There could be some economic plans being debated around how to drag ourselves and future generations out of the mire that is this downturn? But no, we are still harping on about Covid as though we are in fact living in Melbourne, not New Zealand.

The thing about Covid is, it’s not here. Not apart from a handful of contained cases in isolation anyway.

It’s not in the community and hasn’t been for months. So why are we still banging on about it?

Because it’s points. It’s brownie points and poll points and that’s all that matters to a government in election year.

Labour has seen what Covid has done for them, and they’re running with it.

Forget policy, forget issues, forget future plans, as long as they can keep reminding us to wash our hands, it keeps us in a state of fear. It keeps people on the back foot and it yields a sense of gratitude. It makes an inexperienced disorganised government look like saviours. We focus less on what they haven’t done, and how many ill conceived bills they’re rushing through, and more on the fact the international press said Ardern is eloquent. Are we really that shallow?  

And is anyone questioning why new Covid advertising is coming out now? After months of Level 1, we need to start some more advertising on how to wash your hands, now? Aside from what that must be costing us the taxpayer in advertising, isn’t it essentially politically motivated? What worked well for us - Covid. What should we do in the lead up to the election? Policy messaging? Nope, more Covid.

This is an extremely unusual election make no mistake, but if there’s this much arrogance from a first term government now, god help us post September.