I have some sympathy for National’s position. To any of us who heard those rumours last week already about possible community transmission – and yes I heard them on Friday last week - it does seem a little coincidental that there is now proven community transmission.
My first thought when I watched that press conference at 9:15pm on Tuesday night was wondering how long authorities had known. So I can hardly blame National for wondering the same thing.
I don’t even begrudge them for wondering it out loud. It is the Opposition’s job to hold the Government, and in this case also the Director-General of Health, accountable.
And they should be held accountable because they haven’t been entirely honest the whole time. There is a long list of times Dr Ashley Bloomfield has fudged the truth when front line health workers have told us things were off: the flu vaccine shortage, the PPE problems, the lack of day 3 and day 12 testing in MIQ facilities, even the number of people who ran away from a gang tangi in Hamilton. The list goes on. It is right and proper to get him and the PM to tell us the truth.
But, that’s where my sympathy for National ends. I don’t think they’ve been constructive with their suspicions.
If National had raised these concerns or suspicions in a bid to protect Kiwis and the livelihoods – by, I dunno, trying to force the government to act faster or act differently – I would support them raising concerns.
But that is not what National has done. Instead, senior politicians in National have smirked and laid out ‘interesting’ facts, in what looks a helluva lot like political game-playing: like point scoring to score hits against Jacinda Ardern and Bloomfield.
Honestly, I don’t think this is going to find much fertile ground with Kiwis who are freaking out right now. Some are worried about their health, others are worried about their jobs or their business. Either way, this stuff is more important right now in the middle of a hunt to find how much Covid there is in the country than politics and point-scoring.
And unless National can change tack and make it sound like they’re trying to keep people and jobs safe, political point-scoring is what it’ll look like.