Andrew Dickens: Coronavirus outbreak is the wrong time to play politics

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Wed, 11 Mar 2020, 4:41PM
New Zealanders of all political persuasions to band together to keep a lid on this thing. (Photo / AP)

Andrew Dickens: Coronavirus outbreak is the wrong time to play politics

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Wed, 11 Mar 2020, 4:41PM

At this time of crisis not everyone is playing the Coronavirus issue with a straight bat and they need to think about what they’re doing.

This morning on the Mike Hosking Breakfast, Mark Mitchell was on air with Stuart Nash talking about the response to the threat.

Mitchell promised the Opposition would work in a bipartisan nature with the Government to fight the spread of the virus but then added a clause that said, “as long as the Government is telling us everything”.

I wouldn’t have thought anything of it until he repeated that same line three times in a row in a short space of time. We’ll work with you as long as you’re telling us everything.

It started sounding like one of those talking points the strategists draft every day and then pass on to the caucus to use in interviews so that everyone is on the same page, saying the same thing.

Now, maybe I’m reading too much into that repeated line but it sounded like Mr Mitchell was insinuating that the Government is not telling the Opposition or the people of New Zealand the full story of Coronavirus’ impact on the country. And that’s a mighty big accusation to make and we’d need some concrete proof of that.

But I don’t believe he thinks that. I don’t believe he’s saying that there’s an active cover up of the true scale of the epidemic.  He’s just trying to say that this government is so useless they don’t know the impact or what to do which has been this oppositions standard go to line all crisis long.

Add this to my inbox which has been full of people alluding that something’s fishy without being able to back it up.

Personally I’m more inclined to believe the statements and figures from the Ministry of Health and Ashley Bloomfield’s office and the government spokespeople than the reckons of the barely connected and the gossip mill and the people trying to score political points.

This is the wrong place and the wrong time for these sorts of games and rumours and reckons and dog whistle politics.  If there is some cover up of numbers then get some concrete proof and we’ll deal with it later.

But right now is the time for all New Zealanders of all political persuasions to band together to keep a lid on this thing.

And a final note. 9000 people or households have self isolated so far. You people are heroes. Almost all are perfectly healthy but have made a sacrifice for the rest of us. Thank you. That’s the spirit.