Heather du Plessis-Allan: Impossible to respect Jacinda Ardern's decision to refuse epidemic response select committee

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Tue, 24 Aug 2021, 6:01PM
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (Photo / NZ Herald)
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (Photo / NZ Herald)

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Impossible to respect Jacinda Ardern's decision to refuse epidemic response select committee

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Tue, 24 Aug 2021, 6:01PM

I am so disappointed in the Prime Minister for refusing to allow the opposition the chance to properly scrutinise this lockdown and her decisions about it. 

I think most of us are reasonably understanding of the decision not to let Parliament sit. 

I think we can see that a gathering in Wellington like that might be a little problematic in level four. 

But there is no reason to refuse permission to set up the epidemic response select committee like Simon Bridges did back in the last level four lockdown. 

That was done via zoom. No one needs to travel. No one needs to congregate. It’s completely safe. 

Yet, it would allow the opposition to control who gets called in to answer questions, who gets to ask questions, and how long questioners get during that select committee. 

It is simply not comparable or good enough to rely on a bunch of existing select committees with labour MPs in charge. 

Especially when the health select committee, arguably the most important one right now, is chaired by the hapless Liz Craig who, along with other labour MPs on that committee, has been so hell bent on wasting time and frustrating Chris Bishop from being able to ask questions that she ended up reprimanded by her own teammate Trevor Mallard.  Does that fill you with confidence?  

Right now, select committee chairs like her know we’re watching so they’re on notice and they’ve been on their good behaviour today but that’ll only last so long. 

It is so valuable when the opposition MPs get a chance to fire questions at the likes of Chris Hipkins and Ashley Bloomfield.  

Already today David Seymour got more out of Ashley Bloomfield in about 3 minutes   than the press gallery got out of him in an hour. 

Simply because David Seymour knew what the weak spots were and he drilled straight in.  

The Prime Minister doesn’t need to hog all the media space. 

She already gets up to an hour a day any day she likes beaming straight into Kiwi's lounge rooms. 

She already gets to pick and choose which media outlets she goes on in a bid to avoid hard questions. 

When she stops meetings from taking place via zoom It goes beyond a health-based decision and becomes a political decision. 

She is playing politics here while she pretends to rise above that. 

It is impossible to respect this decision and her for making it.