Mike's Minute: Govt needs to be honest over Rugby Championship scandal

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Mon, 14 Sep 2020, 11:03AM

Mike's Minute: Govt needs to be honest over Rugby Championship scandal

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Mon, 14 Sep 2020, 11:03AM

COMMENT:

The only glimmer of light to come out of the Rugby Championship debacle for the government was the bad news was delivered on a Friday. Traditionally, it's the best bad news days for governments on the understanding that people forget stuff over the weekend.

For our show, anyway, no such luck.

The damage, as it turns out is two-fold, and the second bit is directly attributable to the Prime Minister who basically made stuff up. The reason we lost it is as reported, the government wouldn't move on quarantine. Three Ministers were primarily involved, Grant Roberson, Megan Woods, and here perhaps is your clue, Phil Twyford.

The three teams would fly into Queenstown, quarantine, and train. The government would not allow it in numbers larger than 15, which obviously isn't doable. The government had this on their table for three months. In those 3 months they offered one compromise, the 15 could go to 25. It's still not viable.

The Australians having run the AFL and NRL successfully stepped in and offered a solution. And despite the government knowing this was a reality, they did nothing, and they refused to budge.

Which once again leads to the question, what's the point of a decent Covid response if you can't take advantage of it?

The Australians in a similar, or you might even argue numerically slightly worse position than us, are able through agility, positivity, and genuine desire to take advantage of an opportunity worth millions upon millions of dollars. They played us for fearful dithering suckers, and good on them.

But that wasn't the end of it. As gutting as our mistake and shooting of ourselves in the foot was, the Prime Minister blamed SANZAR and SANZAR politics. That was instead of telling the truth, like they wouldn't budge, they are fearful of major events, and they'd rather stay shut.

This was a shock. Because not only were the NZR and SANZAR disappointed, they were now dealing with fiction by way of excuse. Hence you saw a response far greater and stronger than originally was intended from them.

SANZAR said there was no politics, they looked at the deals they called it.

NZR, clearly gobsmacked by the Prime Minister's fairytale, had little option but to come out as well and say there was no politics. It is, as they described it, the government's unwillingness to be flexible around quarantine. We lost the Rugby Championship because the government quarantine system would not accommodate a major sporting event. Beginning, middle, and end.

The Prime Minister is Machiavellian, she invented a blame game, and she invented an excuse. If you want to be blinded by fear, ineptitude, and intransigence at least be honest about it, and own it.

Don't blame others who aren't to blame, that’s just straight up and down dishonesty.