Kate Hawkesby: We have every right to question the government

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Fri, 20 Mar 2020, 10:03AM
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Kate Hawkesby: We have every right to question the government

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Fri, 20 Mar 2020, 10:03AM

I see this week that the Prime Minister has had a go at the opposition or anyone who looks to criticise the governments response. Journalists have left all objectivity at the door as they swallow the government line that we all need to fall in behind this government's response.

A fellow broadcaster on this station warned about not trusting business people or entrepreneurs on this because they have nothing to add here and are not 'experts'.

The over arching message is - get your information from one source. Really? Are we Cuba? I don't think so. Why isn't a range of voices important at this time? Why is there not merit in an entrepreneur who cares deeply for their country, has the resources sometimes to throw money and time at research and maximum information? 

They're often people who're globally vested in the bigger picture, they think outside the box, and I would have thought, should not be so easily dismissed. I also think to say that any criticism of the government is 'politicising' the response, is in itself a manipulative political response. A bid to shut people down. We have every right to question how our government handles a crisis, especially when it involves lives. 

Every single country in the world dealing with this right now is questioning and challenging their government's responses. That's normal. We don't have to be sheep blindly led down one path, on the basis of the only 'experts' our government chooses to hire.

I feel sorry for the opposition in all of this actually. Despite asking for collegiality and cross party support, the government is shutting them out of a lot of the information available to them. 

How can you truly ask and expect people from across the aisle to get behind you, when you won't brief them comprehensively on all your facts and advice and what direction you're taking?

To truly expect full support, you have to share your knowledge and sources of info surely? So throughout much of this the opposition's hands are tied - criticise or question, and you're called irresponsible, or accused of politicising. But to say nothing is to have to assume you trust everyone involved in leading us through this, and to trust the advice they're receiving. 

Imagine if we'd done that with Kiwibuild.

Finally I feel sorry for parents. This is a really tough time to know what to do. Schools are open, I'm happy to say unpatriotically, I don't think they should be. I know they're telling us the 'experts' are saying to keep them open, and they've got an official spreadsheet for schools on 'responses' and closing schools is not currently one of them.. but I think to be ahead, and move fast, and keep our numbers as low as possible, the next thing we should close, is the schools.