Mike's Minute: Govt's rocky week shows they're out of their depth

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Fri, 3 Apr 2020, 10:02AM

Mike's Minute: Govt's rocky week shows they're out of their depth

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Fri, 3 Apr 2020, 10:02AM

COMMENT:

These must be strange times.

Shamubeel Eaqub and I turn out to be in lock step on one key thing: We need an adult in the room. That's what he said to Parliament's Epidemic Response Committee.

That committee might have been one of the great modern democratic discoveries. All the stuff you never hear about, all the Parliamentary question times you never listened to, was there on display with the added advantage of a bunch of experts, Eaqub being one of them.

By week's end Sir David Skegg spectacularly exposed the Government over a lack of testing, a lack of clear direction, and a plan. Act MP David Seymour managed to change the Government's mind on community newspapers.

And Eaqub exposed the cold hard reality that this is turning into a chaotic mess - and no one of any great repute is actually running this thing.

When someone as left and dour as Eaqub, nothing personal intended given he's my new hero, but when someone like that says what he said, we should all be bolt up right and paying attention.

There is no plan to get us out of this, the same way there was no plan to build 100,000 houses. The Government went into this with a reputation as being useless at delivery, with a lot of noise, ideas, and committees, but little concrete behind it.

So at week's end the medical profession are crying out for personal protection equipment the Government said was plentiful - and yet is nowhere to be found. The flu vaccine which was over-ordered, but is nowhere to be found. The contact tracing that they were all over has vanished as story after story emerges of people a week into isolation not having heard a word.

The testing scam has finally been exposed. There were never enough kits, the criteria for testing was a joke (as well as confusing) and the Prime Minister most embarrassingly of all on Tuesday decided to use the World Health Organisation's two-week-old mantra of "test, test, test." It was as though Jacinda Ardern had just put her latest teddy in the window and discovered it as a fresh buzz phrase.

Add the scandal of funding for beneficiaries that isn't virus-related, the minimum wage rise that can't be afforded, the funding for Māori (as though the virus had a racial element) and this is the most blatant pork barrelling you've seen in a generation.

Top off the refusal to quarantine return citizens and still defending the idea of self-isolation as workable.

You have ended up with a Government in seriously deep trouble, and quite obviously a mile out of their depth.

The love-in that this started as, with your Facebook Lives, and be kinds, and shout outs to sign language experts, is turning. And watch next week as jobs and livelihoods tumble, how quickly this becomes an economic fight over a Government that still insists that health trumps all.

This thing is costing the economy more than $3 billion a week, how many weeks can we afford that and still have a Government telling us we all need to be at home doing nothing?