ZB

Andrew Dickens: Ashley Bloomfield was the right man for the right moment

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Wed, 6 Apr 2022, 5:13pm
Photo / NZ Herald
Photo / NZ Herald

Andrew Dickens: Ashley Bloomfield was the right man for the right moment

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Wed, 6 Apr 2022, 5:13pm

And so Ashley Bloomfield will leave the building in 4 months.

A decision he made late last year. Even though he has another year and a bit on his contract.

As he said he wanted to leave when the country was in a good place with the Covid pandemic.

So there's some certainty for you. In 4 months we should be sweet.

I've never envied Ashley's job. It's been 24/7. The decisions have been necessary but never palatable.

But he's always been there. Dr Ashley Bloomfield is a smart but simple man. He reads the science and applies it.

He's been honest and calm and unrattled. He shied away from overly emotive language.

He has communicated the need for some drastic actions well and always with charm. It's that charm that has been his greatest ally.

Sir Geoffrey Palmer noted that it's been a long time since any public servant became so well known.

For that you must blame the Prime Minister who co-opted his charm and shared the podium.  

It was unnecessary. But perhaps the joining of a politician with a technocrat was the reason our response worked so well over the initial stages.  

We believed Ashley in the way we'd never believe a politician.

He was the right man for the right moment.

But that moment has passed.

It has become evident that the Health system he presides over is deeply flawed. So flawed the Government is redesigning it.

Ashley is the boss of that system. The Roche Simpson report said to me that the Ministry and the Department were leading the boss astray while at the same time not listening to what the boss was promising. That can't continue. And nor can the boss.

So a new structure will emerge. I'd hope that the medical advice and structural management that is in Ashley's job will be separated

But for now it's Ashley's day. Well done that man.

And as Chris Hipkins has already said: he deserves a beer.