ZB

Barry Soper: One terrible week for this Government

Author
Barry Soper,
Publish Date
Fri, 5 Nov 2021, 7:33am
(Photo / Mark Mitchell)
(Photo / Mark Mitchell)

Barry Soper: One terrible week for this Government

Author
Barry Soper,
Publish Date
Fri, 5 Nov 2021, 7:33am

This is an announcement of an announcement that would have been announced next week but now won't be announced until next year, possibly. 

The Prime Minister was gearing up for the announcement that she would be heading off to Europe on November the 15th to pursue the free trade agreement with the region which has been on the table for the past six years. 

Jacinda Ardern came close to admitting she was planning the trip when she appeared to justify it by saying the talks were reaching a critical stage. 

Can't have been that critical because the trip's now off, not that she ever admitted it was on.  Those working to organise it have been told to down tools. 

Now you would think the Beehive could have been more open about it. It would have been inappropriate for Ardern to head off to Europe when the country is in such a state of chaos and even more inappropriate for her entourage to come back to the country and claim MIQ slots, even though they had been arranged, when tens of thousands of kiwis are going out of their minds waiting for their number to come up. 

Her minders knew she would have got a lot of flak if she had gone, given that she hasn't yet even set foot in her home town of Auckland since she locked its citizens down almost three months ago. That's happening sometime next week, we're told. 

But like everything with this Government, transparency is like mud in your eye. 

Asked about her decision to can the European jaunt, the Beehive spin-doctors simply said: "Options have been looked into but nothing has been confirmed." 

Perhaps they were waiting for an American diplomat to tweet her impending trip to Europe, as one did just before Trade Minister Damien O'Connor headed off to the UK last month.   Up until that point no-one had been told he was about to climb on a plane. 

This week has been a terrible one for this Government, culminating in the shemozzle over how Aucklanders are going to travel out of the city for Christmas. 

Jacinda Ardern set the ball rolling saying the borders would remain in place but citizens have been told they can leave the congested city, but how they are going to manage it at the borders is beyond comprehension. 

The Minister of everything, Chris Hipkins, let slip they were thinking about having cars turn up at allotted times at the borders, imagine it, making it to the border on time with thousands of cars before you and thousands more following. 

Ardern's 2IC Grant Robertson expressed hope there wouldn't still be borders in place and pooh-pooed the idea. 

So where does all this leave the Christmas traveller? Sitting in a traffic jam, the likes of which the city has never seen before - and that's saying something.