ZB

Barry Soper: The virus will be the Government's undoing

Author
Barry Soper,
Publish Date
Tue, 1 Feb 2022, 1:25pm
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Barry Soper: The virus will be the Government's undoing

Author
Barry Soper,
Publish Date
Tue, 1 Feb 2022, 1:25pm

Over the past two years we've heard it ad nauseam. We're a team of five million and we are constantly reminded to be kind to each other and yes, it's come from the self-appointed team leader Jacinda Ardern. 

Many of us retired from the team shortly after it was created and it now grates to still be described as members of it.   

It should come as no surprise to Ardern then why her popularity's on the wane – last week's One News Kantar poll gave her a miserable personal rating of 35, one percent lower than where John Key was when he decided to call it quits. 

Labour's rightly worried with the elevation of Chris Luxon to National's leadership – he's unlikely to hoover up votes like Ardern did at the last election, thanks to Covid, but he's determined to suck them up with a broader brush rather than simply relying on a virus as she has done. 

He knows the Government has now lost that argument; they are finally resigned to living with it even though the phase we are currently in is still incredibly a stamp-it-out strategy. 

But it's the virus that will be the Government's undoing even though it's still doing its best to scare our citizens into submission by trotting out modellers' predictions, telling us we'll all go to hell in a Covid cart unless we're careful. As one of the most vaccinated countries in the world the dire predictions are unlikely to materialise, but a scared population is a compliant one. 

The Beehive knows it's losing its sting and that was evident over the weekend, and since, over the case involving Charlotte Bellis, the pregnant kiwi journalist working for El Jazeera out of Afghanistan. It seems the Taliban's more sympathetic to giving her sanctuary to have her baby there rather than the Government in this country. 

There were legitimate issues raised that made her find her passage back to New Zealand wasn't as simple as she thought it should have been, not the least that she wasn't prepared to travel within 14 days of lodging her emergency allocation application for an MIQ slot. 

Put that to one side though and think about the callous, cruel policy that prevents Kiwis from claiming their birth right, to come back to their country, to come home, when they want to.     

MIQ was justified two years ago when we were entering the unknown. But it's not justified now when the mutated Omicron, is likened to little more than a bad cold at worse.   

Bellis deserves credit for raising the plight of thousands of New Zealanders who should now be allowed to come home and it seems the Government's starting to listen. 

As the pressure built on the Bellis case, Covid Minister Chris Hipkins put out a statement urging her to reapply, adding there will be changes at the border and they will be announcing them soon. 

Why the delay?   

It's unlikely to help the distraught man who phoned Newstalk ZB from New York saying he wanted to get home to see his elderly mother who's dying in hospital while his father is left to fend on his own. 

How many times have you heard stories like that?