Mike's Minute: Government needs to change their lockdown messaging

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 30 Mar 2020, 9:49AM

Mike's Minute: Government needs to change their lockdown messaging

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 30 Mar 2020, 9:49AM

This week's challenge is to try and see if we can do something about the Government's messaging.

Forget the whole issue around what's local, and how far you can drive to a park. The Government, in yet another example of how this whole thing is highly political, is controlling the messages you hear on any given day.

We have been looking to get Iain Lees-Galloway on the radio show for most of last week - he is not allowed to speak to us.

We want to talk to him in his capacity as Immigration Minister. The visa issue around foreign workers both stuck here, and not allowed to come in to the country, and the issue of fruit harvesting and there not bring enough hands on deck. These are serious issues with economic implications.

We also wanted to talk to Immigration New Zealand, who were happy to talk apparently, but had been told not to.

There is a very distinct line between getting messages out that you want people to hear, which is standard practice for any government, and preventing genuine detail coming out because you don't want it to, or it might not suit your agenda.

Part of the excuse is Iain Lees-Galloway isn't on the right virus committee, so they offer up a minister who is, in a one-stop shop sort of role.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is not a Government festooned with great talent. A lot of these ministers under other governments would barely be making the tea, far less have a portfolio.

Simply putting a person up doesn't mean questions get answered or detail gets delivered. I'll spare names to save embarrassment but a couple of ministers were floating around last week, basically saying we don't have that detail, we haven't talked about that, I'm not sure where that sits, and any other series of 101 PR spin lines designed to say nothing.

The longer this goes on the more suspicious I get that this is a PR exercise for the Government, and they are as interested in how this plays for them politically, as they are for the lockdown itself and our wider wellbeing.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is running a very fine line between being an actual leader with decisive decision-making powers, and a TV and radio presenter with lots of time for Facebook Lives, teddies in the window, and a lot of touchy-feely be kind to each other.

While we are all bantering backward and forward about whether kayaking or abseiling is good exercise, and how far we can drive to do it, the Covid-19 numbers are going up dangerously.

It is becoming clearer the airport and testing have been a joke, there are issues around personal protection equipment and access to it, there are people who may or may not be isolating, and there is tonnes of work sitting in paddocks and fields across the country needing to be done, to actually make this country a living.

What's happening with that? And who's doing it? That's our question. Iain Lees-Galloway has the answer, and yet he's locked away.

Some of the media might want to wake up to this and realise they're being played. Surely I can't be the only one who wants some proper insight, information, and answers from the proper people.