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Responsible politics verses Gotcha politics

Written By: - Date published: 8:16 am, June 18th, 2020 - 215 comments
Categories: health, health and safety, national, same old national, uncategorized - Tags:

The tale of the two women who received compassionate leave to visit a close relative after a relative had died but who were not tested before being let out of quarantine and then found to be Covid infected is at the centre of news today.

Jacinda Ardern has called in the Military to now oversee the quarantine system.  Good decision.

Yesterday in Parliament National MP Michael Woodhouse cast doubt on earlier Health assurances that the two had travelled straight from the Novotel in Ellerslie to Wellington and had not interacted with anyone by suggesting that they had become lost and had then met with a contact and had close physical contact with them.

The whole incident feels like Monty Python meets Keystone Cops but without the humour.

The timing in interesting.  According to this interview on Morning Report Woodhouse found out these details two days ago and yesterday spent time checking the veracity of the story.

He then discussed matters with his leader’s office.

He did not go to the Health Ministry and did not think he should.

He thinks this was necessary for presentation of the story.

In his view his job is not to work to improve the quarantine system but to hold the government to account and show shortcomings.

But as we are fighting a pandemic that has caused huge damage to countries overseas didn’t he have a duty to bring this information to the authorities as soon as possible?  So that these operational holes could have been filled?

The delay in bringing Health to account for clearly what is an unacceptable weakness in the system could mean that the chances of transmission are increased.

He could have raised the flag on this immediately AND gone public on it.

Or he could engage in gocha politics.

Guess what Woodhouse chose to do?

215 comments on “Responsible politics verses Gotcha politics”

  1. Tricledrown 1

    Woodhouse happy for Covid to spread while he makes cheap political gains.

    • Peter Chch 1.1

      Utter  bull. If Woodhouse had not pushed this, we now would not even be aware of the fiasco that has been happening.  Arguably he has saved lives by his action.

      Like him or hate him, he did his job and did us all a great service. What is in the media is  it the tip.of a very large iceberg.

      • Incognito 1.1.1

        Incorrect. The test results raised the alarm.

      • Tricledrown 1.1.2

        All Woodhouse had to do was go straight to the media after reporting it urgently to health authorities .

        No he waited to maximize the political gain.

        • Peter Chch

          Woodhouse raised the reality that either we were lied to by Bloomfield or Bloomfield was lied to. Either way, we were placed at risk by the womens contact with others, and we were only made aware of that by Woodhouse.

        • Grantoc

          '"he waited to maximise the political gain"

          Like any good politician. That's why they're politicians

          Its what Labour and particularly the PM have doing throughout the pandemic. That's why Labour's polling so well. They've used the pandemic to "maximise the political gain"; very successfully.

          Its sanctimonious bullshit to wring your hands over Woodhouse doing this and then to turn a blind eye to Labour's efforts.


          • McFlock

            The government saved lives via quick action, and gets points for that.

            Woodhouse, if telling the truth, has endangered lives by sitting on contact information in order to score points.

            • Grantoc


              Equally you could argue that Government /Min of Health officials responsible for interviewing the two women in question were actually the ones endangering lives through their inadequate interviewing technique.

              Or you could argue that Government/Min of Health officials responsible for testing these two women, and who didn't, were endangering lives through their incompetence.

              And so it goes….

              There were obviously several breaches of the Government's border policy, meaning that there were several Government officials to sheet the blame back to for putting lives at risk.

              The Governments/Min of Health's slow and incompetent action endangered lives.

              Inferring that Woodhouse is somehow the most culpable in endangering lives is highly is selective and wrong. 



              • McFlock

                Most culpable? Nah. Possibly the most cynically callous, though.

                The nurse who failed to specifically ask about each individual symptom? Careless, not incompetent. Everyone knows the symptoms she's asking about.

                The woman who answered thast she was okay, even though she knew she had some warning symptoms (and hoping they were just regular stuff)? Careless, possibly letting her emotional circumstances make her gamble with other people's lives.

                The woman who knowingly broke contact and then went to a gymn class? Stupid and selfishly oblivious, but possibly not to be blamed for not knowing the possible impact of her spreading actions.

                The teens given an exemption who then did a bunk? Fucking teenagers and their stoopid brain development.

                But the former minister of health who apparently sat on details of a close contact for an infectious disease so he could score political points? He is well aware of the importance of the informjation and the possible repercussions of any delay, and he is making a rational, disiterested and considered decision to hold that information back? If that's the case, what excuse does he have?

      • Anne 1.1.3

         … he did his job and did us all a great service.

        He did NOT do his job. That would have been to alert the minister and the health authorities immediately of a serious breach which had the potential to reintroduce the virus into the community and he chose instead to play gotcha politicss. 

        I have nothing but the utmost contempt for the man. 

        Not only that, he has brought further stress to bear on two distraught NZ sisters. He showed no empathy or care for those women or indeed the rest of the NZ community by sitting on the story waiting for the best time to go troppo with it.

        How about reading this media release last evening. You might learn something:


        And for general interest: it transpires there were no hugs and kisses as Woodhouse claimed. One of the aquaintances who assisted them briefly touched one of the sister’s back. It was so brief and light the sister did not even know it happened.

      • Bullsit.


        He could have alerted the Ministry of Health and also raised the matter in parliament – these are not mutually exclusive actions. But no, he sat on for all of Tuesday , and til Wednesday afternoon., plotting their attack lines. 


        I thought Muller was not into petty politics and opposition for opposition's sake. Clearly we are dealing with the same old National party.


        I could not believe when Woodhouse was challenged on RNZ tonight why he didn't report it  he said something like"It's not my job, it's my job to hold the giovt to account, not to 'champion' their cause'. Utterly pathetic.



  2. Terry 2

    An investigation whether Woodhouse (and the National Party) knowingly withheld information should be done today. If he and other National MP's/Leader have knowingly withheld information from public health officials they need to be sacked or resign. It seems almost impossibly stupid to do this sort of thing during a health crisis of this nature. I do hope for Woodhouse’s sake no one dies as a result of any community spread that might occur. 

    • Enough is Enough 2.1

      Terry where do you think Woodhouse got the information from?

      You can't withhold information from the Ministry if it is the Ministry that leaked it to you.

      • Terry 2.1.1

        Exactly my point. Investigate.

      • ScottGN 2.1.2

        Woodhouse said in the parliament yesterday that ‘his source was reliable, someone close to the family’ by which he meant the 2 sisters. He’s never claimed to have received a leak from the ministry of health. That notion just started to get circulation this morning after he was criticised for holding onto the info about the quarantine lapse for 2 days.

    • Peter Chch 2.2

      Yeah, let's shoot the whistleblower.

      How about the Minister and Bloomfield be held to account as to how long they were aware of this. The media have been aware of the border sham since March. If Clark and Bloomfield were not aware, I would be very surprised and quite alarmed. Surely the systems were subject to audit?

      • Paddington 2.2.1

        Yes, it does seem a bit strange that the default position of many here is to blame Michael Woodhouse for somehow knowing something the Director General and Minister of Health should have prevented happening in the first place.

        • greywarshark

          This is what Gordon Campbell at Scoop said about the Covid-19 concerns.   He sounds quite reasonable.  Has he a good point?


          Surely, the only thing worse than making a serious mistake is to then try and minimise its implications – especially when the efforts at damage control seem highly likely to get shot to pieces. Yet somewhat incredibly, Health Ministry director-general Ashley Bloomfield did just that yesterday even after one of the two British visitors had previously misled officials by indicating that her possible Covid-19 symptoms were due to a pre-existent condition. Surprisingly, the British visitors were not tested before they were released from quarantine and set off on their now-notorious drive to Wellington where the virus was belatedly detected. Yesterday, Bloomfield chose to take at face value… More>>

  3. Incognito 3

    He then discussed matters with his leader’s office.

    Which leader would that have been?

  4. observer 4

    Doing a "gotcha" is standard opposition tactics (people like Mallard and Pete Hodgson did plenty when Labour were in opposition).

    The difference is that the usual "gotcha" does not put lives at risk. It's along the lines of "Did the Minister meet Dodgy Person X?" – "No" – "Aha! We got a photo and e-mail!".

    This is a pandemic. People die. It's not hard to understand that different rules apply now. But not to Michael Woodhouse.

  5. Tiger Mountain 5

    This episode seems another example of NZ National Party “snouts” at work. Oh that the Govt. would take these “enemies within” more seriously, particularly the Public Sector ones that infest many ministries. It is past time for a clean out. I recall during the “Soubrek affair” at NZ Immigration, it was painfully obvious that Departmental insiders were informing Simon Bridges.

    The immediate concern of breaching Covid protocol is obviously relevant, and quite legitimate to be raised, and the PM has moved swiftly, but the Nats have got their hit in. And–other people with compassionate reasons for exemptions have effectively been collectively punished.

  6. Anker 6

    I am sorry, the focus here should not be on what National has done or not.  This is a major fuck up.   I am not sure the govt has responsibility in the real sense cause they were not there at the coal face and sounds like they weren’t informed.  Someone somewhere in the ministry of health someone stuffed up.  Big time

    • Cricklewood 6.1

      Not the only fuck up either by the looks… gotta say there's plenty of anger amongst my colleagues at work this morning.

      Everyone including me thought all arrivals were tested before been let out, how this was not happening with a virus with a high number of asymptomatic cases is beyond belief. 

    • observer 6.2

      We can have more than one focus. "So, what would you do?" is a fair question to ask the people who want to be in charge.

      Yes, it's a stuff-up, and those responsible will have to face up to it. In the end, the government relies on officials, and the alternative government will rely on the same officials.

    • mickysavage 6.3

      I am not sure the govt has responsibility in the real sense cause they were not there at the coal face and sounds like they weren’t informed. Someone somewhere in the ministry of health someone stuffed up. Big time.

      Agreed. Which is why I applauded the Military taking over. I never thought I would ever, ever say this was a good thing for New Zealand.

    • Incognito 6.4

      Walk and chew gum at the same time. It’s holding the Opposition to account as they claim to be what this country needs and the (next) Government-in-waiting. I’d say they have shown themselves to act only in self-interest and are incapable of operating for the Public Good. National is not fit to be in Government, not even when WP is leading it, as it would in their case and with their pathetic leadership.

  7. I'd be prepared to believe his intentions were noble (such as that he didn't want ps butt covering and obfuscation) if it wasn't for the fact that he's a nasty, pompous, self-entitled little gNat 

    • Gabby 7.1

      His angry justification made no sense. Unless his 'if I'd done that we'd not be talking now' was an admission it was airtime he was after.

  8. Gabby 8

    He was quite cross when Soozy pointed out his lack of civic mindedness. Avoided addressing the hugs and kisses according to a third party bit too.

  9. AB 9

    Woodhouse calls for Clark to resign for inadvertently putting public health at risk, but deliberately puts public health at risk himself.  Interesting.

  10. aom 10

    Michael Woodhouse, if he had a moral bone in his body, should have immediately notified the contact between the two Covid-19 infected women and the person they had had physical contact with. In doing so, he would have saved a women's gym owner and clients of the facility a degree of anguish and potential infection. Instead of calling for heads to roll, his arsehole behaviour should have him looking for a new job. (https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/419254/auckland-woman-who-had-contact-with-new-covid-19-cases-went-to-gym)

    • It would have made no difference there. The gym owner found out on Tuesday and talked to the MOH then.

      An Auckland gym says a woman who lent a car to the two new Covid-19 cases – and met them when they were lost – attended a "hands-on" training session at its facility yesterday.

      The gym member had not visited the facility again until Tuesday morning, when she had a training session and took part in group classes, the post said.

      The post said fortunately, there were still 2 metre distancing marks in place in the studio, however, she said the sessions were "hands on".

      RNZ contacted the gym owner but was told to call back tomorrow.

      The Facebook post said the gym owner was advised by the MOH that she could continue her normal activities until she finds out the member's test results.

      She was told it wasn't necessary for her to let other gym members know, but she did this anyway as a precaution.


      Very concerning advice from the MOH there to carry on as usual until they got the test results.

      • aom 10.1.1

        Agree on your last point Pete but… If Goldsmith had immediately notified the authorities when he received the information, the gym attender should have been traced, advised that there was a problem and self-isolated pending a test.

  11. John G 11

    If anyone is responsible, surely it's Mike Bush

  12. Adrian 12

    It sounds like the two women did not really do anything wrong. They asked for dispensation, which apparently was their right and were granted it, they borrowed a diesel vehicle so that they did not have to stop, when they got lost on Aucklands reading system ( and who hasn’t ) they called the owners of the car to redirect them ( who else could they have called who did not know of their circumstances )and then travelled to Wellington. Who knows if they fibbed about symptoms, who knows if it was them who instigated the touch on the shoulders if that’s all it was ?

    The tracing everybody on the plane must be standard procedure if a passenger subsequently gets COVID.

    Something that this cock-up has not yet bought to light is how many people have gone through this returning Kiwis programme with only one or two such mistakes ? At the moment it is about 250 a day times what ? 100 days at least, that’s 250,000 for 2 lost women and 6 doing a runner. Not a bad outcome really and that’s what the tracing system is for, to contain slip ups and mistakes. And it has worked, that fact has been overlooked.


    • observer 12.1

      Fair point. Sadly there isn't much appetite for reasoned evaluation at the moment.

      For months we've heard the instant, armchair solutions. People can say "Close borders to everyone now", or "Quarantine only, not self-isolation", without having to think about any practicalities. Say the words, don't worry about the law, or even find the rooms.

      People are in hotels because the government didn't build barbed wire detention camps overnight. I'm OK with that.

    • RedLogix 12.2

      Fair comment Adrian. My initial reaction was as lividly angry as anyone's. Even my partner who is the least volatile person in Christendom spat a very fat tack when she read it.

      But you are right, this is a failure on the margins, but an important one to learn from and quickly.

      It's my expectation there will be a surge of returning Kiwis (and other essential visitors) over the next six months or so, and the system needs to be ramped up to handle them effectively. It's obvious the current arrangement are inadequate, and that the incentives for individuals to not cheat on the system are far too weak.

      Quarantine is not rocket science, but it does take discipline. On this I fully support using the military to bring absolute rigor to the process. 

      On incentives. Quarantine conditions aren't difficult rules to understand, the virus does not have an ideology anyone might object to, and the imposition is both temporary and tolerable. People who break the rules must be named and shamed, then sent to an isolated island facility for six weeks. Six months if their infraction results in a cluster.

      Returning to NZ right now is very much a privilege not a right. It must be essential to pre-book a place in the system as a condition of buying a flight ticket.

      In a way Woodhouse has done Labour a favour; he's staked out the National party default position on this, and they will have no political choice but to back these enhanced measures. The pandemic has shifted the ground, what would have been unacceptable authoritarian actions just six months ago, is now the correct thing to do.

      Hopefully the day will come when we can unwind them; and personally on this I'd be writing sunset clauses into any new regulations and policy introduced.

      • solkta 12.2.1

        Returning to NZ right now is very much a privilege not a right.

        No, if you are a citizen returning to New Zealand is a right guaranteed under international law.

        • RedLogix

          OK may well be a legal right but now one that is constrained by quarantine. Abuse it by breaking the rules and there will be consequences to your privileges. 

          And just in case you think I'm bloviating from a safe space, be aware I am not. As a kiwi ex-pat the conditions I am suggesting would apply to me very directly.  

          • solkta

            I support strict quarantine with no exemptions and having the military run it. And i would like to see prison sentences longer that six months for anybody breaking the rules. But telling people they no can come back is not an option both legally and morally. 

            • RedLogix

              Nowhere did I say that people 'cannot come back' (after all I also said “It’s my expectation there will be a surge of returning Kiwis”) …. but that it's clearly now a right constrained by much tougher conditions.

              Are you playing 'gotcha politics' with me?

              • solkta

                You said that it was a privilege which means that it can be withdrawn. The rights around the quarantine thing are a separate issue for once they are here.

                • RedLogix

                  Separating the 'right to return' from the 'conditions of quarantine' may all be very well for the purpose of point scoring, but again in practice it's obviously wrong.

                  NZ has to be able to control the rate at which arrivals return. If for example 10,000 kiwis all decide to try and return in one week and this would completely overwhelm our quarantine facilities, then clearly this has to be prevented before they get to NZ.

                  So while the right to return is guaranteed (and I never suggested it wasn't), it's clearly not an absolute right, and that there will have to be conditions around when you travel, and why.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    "Returning to NZ right now is very much a privilege not a right." – RL

                    Replace 'a privilege not a right' with 'a conditional right' – sorted.

                    Hope you understand why someone reading your quoted statement for the first time might believe you were saying that returning to NZ now is “not a right“.  I’ll try to remember to add your unwritten “conditional” into future comments – you can correct me when I’m wrong.

                    • RedLogix

                      Maybe it was where I said this:

                      It's my expectation there will be a surge of returning Kiwis (and other essential visitors) over the next six months or so, and the system needs to be ramped up to handle them effectively. 

                      Was that what got everyone confused? Look go right ahead and parse the privilege word to your heart's content; as far as I'm concerned any reasonable person would understand the context I used it in, "yes it's a legal right, but one you'd better treat with great care because it can be curtailed".

                      Because frankly if it turns out too many kiwis coming back to NZ  fail to do quarantine properly and we do get cluster outbreaks as a result … I can see the govt closing the border to everyone for a substantial period. We already have a large number of temporary migrants stuck in country who cannot return to their home nation for all sorts of reasons, and number of other small nations have fully closed borders, so the idea is not quite as off the table as solkta was suggesting.

                      At that point whether the right of a citizen to return home is privilege or not becomes entirely mute.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Thanks – I may now have a conditional understanding of your intent.

                      Why do you believe your original comment @12.2 [“Returning to NZ right now is very much a privilege not a right.“] required such lengthy clarification? It’s true that I didn’t place enough emphasis on “right now – maybe got distracted by the cliché?

    • Andre 12.3

      It sounds like the two women did not really do anything wrong.

      They,uhhh … initially neglected to mention their symptoms, apparently until after their results came back. They, uhh … initially neglected to mention they had contact with someone during their journey.

      Coming out of the hotel it's a left turn, then the first left onto a main road, then there's a big sign saying motorway to Hamilton left right in your face, and you don't even to make a lane change. In this day of google maps on every phone, forgive me for wondering what they neglected to mention about the circumstances leading to their meetup with their friend.

      Also forgive me for wondering what else they have neglected to mention. It also appears that their … carelessness about the possibility of sparking infection hot-spots … has given them the result they wanted, with no sign yet of consequences for them on the way. I'm starting to think that lack of consequences is wrong, too.

  13. dv 13

    Adrian – good point about the numbers, the down side to that it only takes one carrier.

    And just a point they were lost so how did they tell the owners where they were to get directions. Did they not have a cell phone so could get maps.

    There may be a sort of silver lining.

    It will/has allowed the Govt to be a lot tougher.

    Open the borders (to aus, to students) has/is been a persistent cry over the last few week, now those agitators  have been shot in the foot /back by Woodhouses behaviour.




    • In Vino 13.1

      I would say it was very easy for them to thoughtlessly go in the wrong direction. They are used to England, where the sun is in the South.  Without thinking about names of towns, etc, they just assumed they were heading South, unconsciously going by where the sun was in the sky.

      I was tricked in the same way several times when I was in Europe, and found myself heading in the opposite direction to what I had wanted. Only after I had understood that the sun was no longer in the North did I think more carefully, and check names etc to be sure of where I was heading.

      I think some of you are looking for more malice than is probably there.

      • Andre 13.1.1

        You're showing your age there, In Vino, if you're still navigating by the sun and stars and eschewing such newfangled inventions such as roadsigns and maps, let alone modern electrickery.

        Among the people I hang with, I'm literally the only one that has ever thought to use the sun's position and time of day to get my bearings, as an absolute last desperation move if all else fails.

        • Adrian

          You and I will be the only ones to survive The Great Reckoning Andre. Anyone foe an electro-magnetic blast ?.

          • Andre

            Nah, I'll be screwed. Every plant I try to grow dies. And I'm too much of a wuss to go out and harvest meat.

            • In Vino

              How old are these two ladies from the UK?  They may be more like me than you, Andre.  But even more likely is that they thought it simple to just head South (being next to the motorway) and did not use modern gear.  

              The thing is, Andre, that you yourself do still use the position of the sun, but you do it unconsciously.  (That means that you are NOT aware that you are doing it.  OK?)

              • Andre

                Reports say one in her 30s, one in her 40s.

                And no, I really really doubt sun position intrudes on my lack of directional sense until I make a conscious effort to use it when other methods fail me. At which point I find that roughly 75% of the time I'm actually facing in a completely different direction than I had thought I was.

                I've traveled back and forth between north and south hemispheres many times, and never experienced the disorientation you describe. But I'm very map-oriented for getting around in strange places – hardly surprising since drawings are one of my main tools of trade as an engineer.

                • In Vino

                  I was 30 yrs here before I left the country.  I have spoken to others who also were tricked by the position of the sun in Europe until they realised what was happening.  We all differ – you have already been North several times; you have modern aids that I and my ilk did not have back then.  

                  I would just suggest that the 2 ladies in question may not be all that aware about how the sun was tricking them as they turned to what they thought was South.  They may still not be aware.  It all seemed so obvious to them at the moment of  selecting the entry to the motorway.  

                  Had they been using Satnav etc, they obviously would not have gone wrong. More likely they were unsure of how to use it in a strange car.

                  Unless someone wants to assume that they deliberately got lost…

  14. Enough is Enough 14


    Where do you think he got the information from?

    Some random person, who saw two random people roaming around the country with covid?

    He didn't go to the Ministry because its pretty obvious the information was leaked to him by the Ministry!! 

    • observer 14.1

      Not obvious at all. The gym owner has already appeared in the media, and it wasn't a "random person", it was the women's friend, who later went to the gym.

      It's difficult to follow all the strands, I realize.

      • Enough is Enough 14.1.1

        Woodhouse has today made allegations about a homeless person neing housed in a quarantine hotel.

        Someone from inside the Ministry is feeding him these stories

        • Ffloyd

          That one definitely needs looking at. He's just making up stuff in the hope that the great unwashed will take it on board and magnify it. He's a loose weapon

          • James

            You state he’s making stuff up – but you couldn’t make up this governments incompetence- it’s been proven true. 

            I assume you will apologise for talking rubbish. 

            • Robert Guyton

              Jacinda's Government steered us all through Covid 19 so successfully that international plaudits rained down upon it and us. Your opportunistic sniping sounds strained and twisted in contrast.

  15. Peter 15

    How come Woodhouse got contact with people involved?

    In a fraught, unusual situation a couple of people out of a pool of 5 million met somewhere in New Zealand for a brief time, which is quite a spread out bit of dirt.

    Did people (given an exemption and trusted to do the right) get on social media and talk about events? Did the people they met up with do that?

    As much as someone at the quarantine end being naive, careless, stupid or whatever it was, the women and whomever they met up with were naive.

    In the initial press conference the other day Bloomfield was adamant about the details. He believed what he had been told. I watched it and accepted the explanation. Turns out someone was bullshitting.  Actual events were dramatically different than what had been said. 

    Did the women bullshit whomever they dealt with from the MOH? Did someone from MOH who dealt with the women play down the story because of embarrassment or whatever when they passed it up the chain to Bloomfield? 

    This morning Bloomfield put the wobbly explanation about physical contact at the car stop down to the emotion involved at the time. He defended the women's right to privacy at the beginning.

    If the information got to Woodhouse no doubt some information about those involved will come out.  

    Woodhouse's part in it? He spent two days verifying the story? Instead of getting in touch with the MOH with their resources? He was prepared to incubate the political opportunity while risking having someone spreading the virus.

    He will claim nobility for making sure of the facts, but the facts were not going to get to the public and suggesting he was protecting those involved is bullshit.

    Some MOH person or people performed poorly, the women involved were naive, stupid and maybe dishonest. Woodhouse, for all the making out of doing things right, is the one who acted with sinister intent.




    Did someone in the chain of events have political motives

  16. observer 16

    This is all you need to know about how much faith we should put in Michael Woodhouse:

    (from herald, now)

    He still supported opening the borders for international students but the testing and audit processes would be rigorous, he said. "It's not actually that difficult, I don't think you need to bring in the Army, you just need to follow the process."

    So when Woodhouse is Minister of Health, the same officials will be doing the same thing, but for thousands more people as well, who are not even NZ residents coming home.

  17. Rosemary McDonald 17

    So.  Uncle Ashley still on the list for a knighthood?

    NZ Ministry of Health.  Trying and failing to organize bunfights in brothels since wayback.

    Then, then… when challenged… they deny, dismiss, minimize and obfuscate.

    No one in my whanau at all surprised.

  18. ianmac 18

    The "hugs and kisses" is in question, and it became the headline. For Woodhouse to be calling the doubt of the truth of this phrase, "just dancing on the head of a pin", adds more diminishing of Woodhouse trust. He now says his informant wasn't the helper but a third party. Mmmm? Who would that be?

    • Peter 18.1

      Third party? Or fourth party? How did they get involved?  Did they contact Woodhouse? Why?

    • Anne 18.2

      Umm… the helper went to her regular gym the following day before she knew of the positive test. Gym owner has now temporarily closed gym.

      I'd say the gym was the probable crime scene. Somebody picked up the story there and rang the Nats.

      Moral: don't go to gyms.

      • Treetop 18.2.1

        I have to give the gym owner a pat on the back for being responsible and closing the gym. At least the wage subsidy has softened the blow for the gym owner. Not sure what the numbers are going to be like when the gym owner reopens or when the gym will be reopened.

  19. greywarshark 19

    He could have raised the flag on this immediately AND gone public on it.

    That would have been the right thing to do, but wrongly named Right-Wing politicians generally don't do right and Woodhouse followed the normal procedures.    So no new learnings as we approach the end of our world.

    I suggest we just listen to Monty Python as these clowns fail to miss the important point of everything and are not amusing.   Frankly I think we should ask for our money back!


  20. greywarshark 20

    versus not verses.    Or  perhaps just part of a McGonagall:

    I must now conclude my lay
    By telling the world fearlessly without least dismay,
    That your central girders would not have given way,
    At least many sensible men do say,
    Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,
    At least many sensible men confesses,
    For the stronger we our houses do build,
    The less chance we have of being killed.


  21. Reality 21

    Rosemary McDonald – I guess from your armchair of being perfect, you have never slipped up or made an error of judgement.  You have never been tired to the point of exhaustion. You have never had multiple issues swirling round you all at the same time with impatient media sources howling at you.  Dr Bloomfield does not deserve snide, 
    intolerant, ill informed comments.  

    People overlook that from February to June a massive undertaking across the whole country has had to be put in place.  We should be grateful to be living here where in the main everything has been done pretty well.  The Allies won the Second World War, but by no means was it easy or always successful.  This is a health war, where there is a lot of “learning on the job” in unfamiliar areas. 

  22. Berend de Boer 22

    MoH knew about this a day before Woodhouse revelations in parliament: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12340829

    So mole is inside MoH, making the whole point of this article moot. The issue is the continually changing MoH stories, and reassurance after reassurance which later proves to be simply not true.

    • observer 22.1

      When did the MoH know about the "kiss and cuddle"?

      That was Woodhouse's line in Parliament. Your link provides no information.

      • Berend de Boer 22.1.1

        Quote: The public health unit had found that out on Tuesday and did not let the MOH know until Wednesday as it thought it was not important information.

        • observer

          But the line was Woodhouse's.

          "This was so fleeting that actually, the women themselves who were very distressed did not recall that happening."

          Either he made it up (good headline) or he was told that, by somebody who did not accurately relay what the women had said.

          • Berend de Boer

            Eh Bloomfield describes this as: There was a very fleeting arm put around the women to provide comfort.

            So the cuddle part is already correct. 

            • Anne

              Sorry to burst your little right wing bubble but here is an update form Bloomfield:

              Yesterday Woodhouse told Parliament that the pair had hugged and kissed someone on their travels, but this morning Bloomfield clarified that that was not the case.

              "There was a fleeting interaction. We wouldn't even usually consider a close contact … they were not hugs and kisses. There was a very fleeting arm put around the women to provide comfort," he reiterated.

              "This was so fleeting that actually, the women themselves who were very distressed did not recall that happening," he said

              Sorry, have been trying to locate link. Thought it was a Stuff article. It may have been replaced with another story.

              • Bloomfield is contradicting the official MOH line from yesterday:

                “Upon leaving the Novotel in a private vehicle provided by friends, the women got lost on the Auckland motorway system.

                “On realising this they phoned the same friends who supplied the vehicle, who met and guided them to the correct motorway, so they could go in the right direction. As part of this the pair were in limited physical contact with the two friends for approximately five minutes.”


                "Physical contact with the two friends for approximately five minutes" is hardly "a fleeting interaction".


                • Anne

                  Oh for Pete's sake Pete.

                  He's done nothing of the sort. He is merely expanding on what happened as further information came to light late yesterday afternoon. And he has no doubt done so to counter the puerile and grubby ‘gotcha’ politics tabloid journalists and the Nats are currently indulging in.  

                • Incognito

                  "Physical contact with the two friends for approximately five minutes" is hardly "a fleeting interaction".

                  Oh no! Pete, you deliberately accidentally left out one important word. Remember that I used to haul you over the coals because of selective quoting? You can make it sound like they had intercourse 😉

                • Gabby

                  LIMITED physical contact. You prolly just omitted 'LIMITED' accidental like.

              • Berend de Boer

                So we went from "they went straight to Wellington" to oops, they actually got so close to people that they could put an arm around them.

                Perhaps you believe (now) that Covid-19 doesn't spread that easily?

                • Anne

                  Do you suffer from short man syndrome?

                  • Berend de Boer

                    Always attack the messenger if you have no response left.

                    • Incognito

                      What was the message again? It was so insightful, I forgot.

                    • greywarshark

                      Business slow at present in the finance world Berend de Boer?    So you have taken up contract work stirring the left pot, reaching over from the right, keeping all simmering. Something must be cooking on the right.    Tasty?  Smells like burnt toast.

                  • Monty

                    Sorry to burst your delusion view on this, any contact no matter how fleeting is bad when it comes to covid 19 it is incredible virulent which is why its spread so fast and so dangerous.

                    Did you forget or have no idea which is more likely the case the reasons why we needed to social distancing to avoid the spread of the virus.

                    This is a major screw up the MOH knew about this before Woodhouse released the information.  If he hadn’t raised it would we have been told, who knows?.  Personally, I am glad he did as it’s lifted the lid on a growing list of issues and is now getting the attention it deserves and now hopefully getting fixed.

                    We only found out yesterday from Mike Bush that 6 people absconded from the gang funeral and 2 were still missing, previously we were only told 2 people ran off and had been found.

                    The MOH has been rubbish at managing this and appears information hasn’t been getting to the right place and the internal communications and actions are not getting done.   


                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      The MoH may well have "been rubbish at managing this", but Covid-19 health outcomes for almost all NZers have been exceptionally good compared to other countries – you only need to glance at on-going clusterfucks in the U.K., U.S., Brazil, Sweden, etc. etc., to see that.

                      The MoH's substandard performance regarding the granting of quarantine exemptions is regrettable; hopefully they can and will 'up their game'. IMHO this 'bad act' by 'the MoH' does not wash away the (substantial) good they continue to do.

                      Do wonder if the usual suspects will continue to agitate for a relaxation of travel restrictions on international tourists and tertiary education students – those ‘industries‘ won’t pay for themselves.

                    • lprent

                      Sorry to burst your delusion view on this, any contact no matter how fleeting is bad when it comes to covid 19 it is incredible virulent which is why its spread so fast and so dangerous.

                      Always nice to see that some people remain the same…


                      Covid-19 had a R0 of about 2.5 in Jan. Looks like globally it is 5.7 according to wikipedia (based on what is now known). This means that it is infectious.

                      But it pales in comparison with the R0 of other diseases…
                      Measles Aerosol 12–18[2]
                      Chickenpox (varicella) Aerosol 10–12[3]
                      Mumps Respiratory droplets 10–12[4]

                      This means that it is infectious – but not “incredibly virulent”. It is just a new epidemic disease.

                      The problem is that there is no population immunity world-wide and a high risk of death fro some groups of people.

                      Monty – you are as stupid and as ignorant as ever. If you want to come back and comment here, could you please refrain from being a hysterical idiot and stick to facts.

                • lprent

                  Perhaps you believe (now) that Covid-19 doesn’t spread that easily?

                  Kind of an idiotic comment. It really just indicates that you have been too damn lazy to actually investigate the issue. Or possibly that you’re so interested in point scoring you don’t engage your brain – like many of the National supporters.

                  Covid-19 isn’t as easily spread as influenza. That really isn’t the problem. It is its other characteristics that make it dangerous as an epidemic.

                  Influenza has a incubation of less than 48 hours, and when you become symptomatic is when you start being infectious. The latter was the same as SARS and was also why one of the reasons why it was easy to stamp out. Its symptoms were severe and you (and the IR temp sensors) knew that you had it.

                  Covid-19 has a median 5 day incubation period before symptoms appear and (probably) sometimes don’t show an infected state for more than 10 days. Most people start shedding virus days before symptoms appear. And at least a third of those infected never show symptoms – but are still able to infect others. The period of virus shedding is at least 5 days.

                  I’m sure that even someone who appears to be as stupid as you appear to be can see the implications. It isn’t the infection rate of about R2.5 that makes this a dangerous disease – that is pretty low for an epidemic disease. It is that people don’t know that they have it and can infect others.

                  Where have you been for the last 5 months? Interrogating your arsehole? Or only listening to dimwits as ill-informed as you are?

                  (I’d have put that more kindly – but I really despise fuckwits to try being snarky and outright ill-informed and stupid at the same time).

            • Incognito

              Nope, that’s a semi-cuddle.

        • anker

          Berend, public health unit covering their arse.  Left Bloomfield looking bad. He must be spitting tacks.  All information is important…….

  23. Riff.s 23

    New Zealand, discombobulating over two cases who have been mostly in isolation. Most countries have far bigger problems.

    It is important not to give the virus magical properties. It takes a few days to become contagious. Track trace isolate and test works.

    • Berend de Boer 23.1

      Good point, and true in this instance. But I think we're more upset that we don't give people tests when we release them early.

      I'm in favour of compassionate release, as I think this can be done safely. But clearly MoH can't do this, and now we're back to the cruelty of people not being able to attend funerals for example.

      This case might have gone OK (we're still checking 313 people), but what about the next one? Do NZers have trust in our border control? I doubt they do.

      • anker 23.1.1

        No compassionate release.  Quarantine 14 days is the best way to ensure virus doesn't spread as some tests can be false negatives.  Sad for people, but many people living overseas don't get to see their relatives before they die or attend the funeral.  That's something most people take into account when they choose to live overseas.

      • Treetop 23.1.2

        "Do NZers have trust in our border controls."

        I have not had trust in our border controls because there is a 14 day isolation period for an important reason. I was also aware of testing not being done on release, even if it were there are false negatives.

        Covid-19 does not discriminate. It is unwise to cut corners, eventually what you do not want to occur, will.


  24. Ffloyd 24

    Riffs. Totally agree. Odd Fuller said he wouldn't be using the pandemic as a political tool but here we are. It's all political now to grind their gears for the election. I sense more to come. All they have is to discredit Jacinda in particular. National are on their knees.

  25. Daveski 25

    A perfect example of why the Standard and other blogs are completely irrelevant when it comes to political debate.

    There is a fundamental failure of operations of the quarantine system.  The government cannot be blamed for operational failure but it can be blamed for not ensuring governance is in place.

    MS – look, blame National



    • Adrian 25.1

      Not a fundamental failure, that's just kneejerk bullshit. Somewhere around 250-300 thousand people have come through this re-entry system for a total of 2 lost women on a screamed for "Won't Someone Think Of The Grievers "mission by the Opposition and all the media dickheads like Hoskings et al and 6 others not returning from another funeral.

      If anyone is at fault it those irresponsible headline grabbers demanding stuff they know is stupid. Direct your anger at them.

    • Incognito 25.2

      A perfect example of why you and other RWNJs are completely irrelevant when it comes to political debate.

      There is a fundamental failure of processing written words. The Standard and other blogs cannot be blamed for your intellectual failure but they can be blamed for allowing you to demonstrate it without a shred of doubt.

      • greywarshark 25.2.1

        Daveski   Nothing's perfect in this world and we just have to put up with that, including you.

  26. RedBaronCV 26

    Why does the ministry release go on about the women being distressed. If they are that distressed that they are not thinking clearly – then should they even have been driving?

    And now they have had contact with their other elderly parent. They seem to forget a lot and then be upset when queried.

    But IF we get a much tighter system with plenty of testing to pick up the asyptomatic (Hong Kong?) because their are a lot of other worrying instances being revealed that could have turned bad too.

    • Adrian 26.1

      Hold on RB, we will have an answer to that within 6 to10 days after last weekends footy games. If there is any lingering asymptomatic cases 100,000 people at the rugby and a couple of million in the pubs and clubs should prove or disprove that question.

      I would have thought that if we had cleared positive cases by 28 days or so then any asymptomatic ones would have self-cancelled as well.

      • RedBaronCV 26.1.1

        Yeah there is still a way to go. I worry about the asymp at the border who goes to managed care and mingles with a late stage near release arrival. Arrival testing plus the 3  days etc at least get them into the stricter facility from day 1.

    • anker 26.2

      Yes that's yet another thing about these women I a fail to understand.  Anyone travelling internationally at the moment must surely be aware they could pick up the virus or carry it from the UK.   I know I felt this way when I travelled to the UK in mid Feb and returned late Feb.  At that stage from memory there were barely 20 confirmed cases in the UK.  So how they could not have considered the possibility of a covid infection beggars belief.  Also coming to wellie without a test and risking infecting someone else, likely an elderly parent also beggars belief………..stupid and careless.

      But I have to say re getting out of Ak, understand about getting lost.  But they didn't need to get out of the car to talk with friend.  Could have just followed her.


      Still their current predicament must be truly awful.  I do understand that.

    • joe90 26.3

      (Hong Kong?)

      Repost of a couple of threads detailing the authors Hong Kong experiences.



  27. observer 27

    This is what we have come to now. Claiming to be shocked by entirely predictable things:

    People in a city hotel have contact with people through railings

    Well, who could have guessed?

    Everybody who says "Quarantine" must stop watching movies (featuring island fortresses and armed guards) and start facing reality.

    If nothing else, perhaps this can lead us to more honest conversations about what "quarantine" means. Sure, there will be signs on walls, and other boxes ticked. But human interaction is guaranteed, and any proposal on paper with "protocols" won't change that.

    So let's not invite more people in, and say "It's all gonna be fine … because quarantine!".

    • Adrian 27.1

      Reply to Bazza, It had already been reported, Woodlouse got it fourth-hand from a gym-junkie gossiping member of the Whispering Classes.

    • Koff 27.2

      Not sure what the standards of mandatory quarantine here are now in Australia, but when I spent 2 weeks in a Brisbane hotel in April after arriving  from NZ it was quite strict.The almost empty AirNZ flight was met by Border Force and military personnel. We spent two weeks in a room in the Mariott and didn't see anyone physically until the last evening when a masked cop turned up. We weren't allowed out when food deliverers came with food or to get any exercise for the first week. We could go for a walk with a cop in the second week after phone medical queries but we didn't bother. 

      Think Australia has had a more effective quarantine system than NZ for foreign arrivals, but there have been similar stuff-ups for interstate exemptions. Queensland has been shut off from the rest of Australia since late march, hasn't had any community transmission now for weeks, but has had several bad scares. Once when a nurse got a travel exemption to go to Brisbane, returned to Rockhampton infected "somehow" and went back to work in a rest home(!) with symptoms and then tested positive. Another scare was a Melbourne fruit picker who got an exemption to fly to Bundaberg to pick fruit (!), had symptoms, wasn't quarantined,went out with his mates in Brisbane before flying to Bundy, then went to work, felt ill and was tested positive. Luckily for what has been a very firm and well organised state interventon into the Covid-19 response there was no-one else tested positive, so lessons learned. Guess as both NZ, Oz and other countries open up more and more these things are going to happen. It's an unprecedented situation and sometimes the lessons have to be learned the hard way.

    • Anne 27.3

      Observer @ 27

      Have you noticed most of these tale tellers insist on anonymity. 

      I'm expecting the next headline to be

      "Quarantined Passengers allowed To Make Indiscriminate Phone-Calls"

      A woman in quarantine at the Bedside Table Inn, Whykickamoocow who wishes to remain anonymous has reported people making unsupervised calls to family and friends. She said it goes on all day and half the night. "You can hear their conversations through the walls" she said "but its not easy to know exactly what they're saying………….. 

  28. Bazza64 28

    Labour got all the praise when things went right (& rightly so) now they have to take responsibility when things go wrong. Opposition parties always play gotcha politics, that is their job as they want to get elected. That is the adversarial nature of democracy. To try & pin the cock ups on National is sour grapes. We should thank National for bringing this whole mess to the surface.

  29. Adrian 29

    Maybe the problem is that as it is nurses administering tests and the medical regime around Nurses and doctors giving treatment or procedures to people in their care demands that permission must be sought and the ability to refuse is part of the law.

    Maybe we have taken this sanctity of personal rights too far in the case of pandemics, but then again should we go as far as China and arcweld doors shut in apartment buildings?


    • Anker 29.1

      Adrian you are right.    But it turns out you can compel testing.


      interesting hearing about Brisbane 

  30. McFlock 30

    One thing that confuses me with the potential to irk is that we seem to have built up testing capacity that we are not using. Surely every person who gets of a plane should be tested at the airport? As in, before the baggage claim?

    Woodhouse is an arse and always has been, though.

    • Cinny 30.1

      Woodhouse is an arse and always has been

      Why yes, grandstanding to link himself to Gallipoli springs to mind.


      • Ffloyd 30.1.1

        Cinny. And he's still at it. Making sweeping unverified unverifiable accusations of further quarantine breaches and it's getting reported Willy nilly. I think that he thinks if he slings enough shite around some of it will stick. He really is an odious morally corrupt excuse for a human being. His Labour Party Leader? I mean national lol, should have a stern word with him.

  31. observer 31

    Reporters at 1 pm press conference asking Bloomfield why anybody should trust anything he says, and asking if he'll apologise for people's "vilification" of the 2 women. Wow. Because he was the one doing that? Does he control talkback radio too?

    Do these people ever look in the mirror?

  32. Please lord – let him catch it

  33. observer 33

    Another one from the "so stupid you couldn't make it up" fine: Todd Muller says that NZ has now put the Trans-Tasman bubble at risk.

    Fact-check for Toddy: Australia has averaged 12 new cases a day, over the past week.

  34. Adrian 34

    Well,fuck me !  It really sticks in craw to say this but I almost feel sorry for Todd Munter, he just can't catch a break. On second thoughts what the fuck was I thinking, no I don't he's an arse and all who sail in the S.S.N Chris Bishop are to. ( S.S.N.. Sinking Ship National ) what a bunch of no-hopers. Shit this is funny. See the Herald site.

    Sorry too useless to link to story, country internet keeps dropping out, the wire is stretched too thin on the dodgy Nat installed wire.

  35. Treetop 35

    It is clear that the isolation/quarantine rules were not robust enough. There was no point in isolating if exemptions were given. To not have tested at least once during isolation was fool hardy. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, I would have liked to have heard Woodhouse speak out earlier on, regarding a 14 day isolation with no exemptions and at least an exit Covid-19 test.

    It is always a difficult time when family and close friends pass on and due to the shock and grieving process a person's judgment may not be as sharp as it usually is, this is why the bereaved need to be supported.

    The reality is that following the rules is necessary and there is no guarantee that even when the rules are followed that a case will not emerge.

  36. anker 36

    Breaking news…….Apparently Chris Bishop lobbied for these women's releasee from isolation………….

    Woodhouse at best exaggerated the truth, "kiss and cuddle"…….at worse lied, despite his claim that he waited to break the news cause he wanted to check his facts…….so completely about political point scoring.

    Muller saying Trans Tasman bubble at risk.   Ffs some of us see that that is the silver lining out of this situation.  That more and more people will be reluctant in NZ to let it go ahead.   

  37. ianmac 37

    National MP Chris Bishop lobbied for the early release from quarantine of two sisters who later tested positive for coronavirus.

    Not sure of the significance of this as I suppose we should expect that the important thing is that the quarantine should be sound regardless of who suggest that they be released.


    • Enough is Enough 37.1

      Unless he also suggested letting them out without being tested this isn't really a story is it?

      • observer 37.1.1

        The story is not that he represented them in their request. It is that while these women have been Public Enemy nos 1 &2, their MP has been silent because his party has been scoring a point.

        He could have told the public that he had acted on their behalf, and he believed it was the right thing to do. Instead he hid under his desk and hoped nobody would notice.

        He could have been honourable, but chose not to be, and instead the information (that the public are entitled to know) came from his opponents. So, neither brave nor smart.

      • AB 37.1.2

        Strictly-speaking no. But there is (I think) an inescapable sense of the Nats applying pressure to the system in order to break it for political advantage – irrespective of the public health consequences.
        That potential breakage can run in two directions of course – a ‘cruel’ and ‘heartless’ denial of compassionate leave, or a too-lax granting of it.

    • Paddington 37.2

      "Obviously I did this on the basis that testing would occur and the rules would be followed. My job as MP for Hutt South is to assist constituents, which I was doing.

      "These women should have been tested after three days. They weren't. They should have been tested before being released. They weren't.

      "This is a desperate smear from an incompetent Government keen to hide its own failings at the border."



      He has a point.

      • Gabby 37.2.1

        I'd still like to know whether they're friends of a friend.

      • Ffloyd 37.2.2

        You would have thought he would have enquired as to their status before submitting request. He sounded very uncertain with some of his answer to Lisa Owen.

      • Ffloyd 37.2.3

        Apparently they were not constituents. He was lobbying on behalf of a good friend/acquaintance from Britain.

        • Paddington

          This from the Herald:

          "Bishop said he was contacted by the women on June 12 and asked for help in having the Ministry of Health urgently assess their application for compassionate consideration to visit their very sick mother. "

      • Ffloyd 37.2.4

        Apparently they were not constituents. He was lobbying on behalf of a good friend/acquaintance from Britain.

  38. Anne 38

    Before making representations on their behalf did he ask them the results of their quarantine tests?  If he did, then he made representation despite them not having been tested. If he didn't, then that was a serious omission on his part and he should apologise to the team of 5 million for failing to do so.

    • Paddington 38.1

      Hi Anne.  He simply forwarded an email on behalf of constituents.  He had a right to expect the normal protocols to be followed I would have thought.  I feel we're in danger of shooting anyone other than the people at fault here.

      • observer 38.1.1

        But I note you immediately accept Bishop's version as complete truth.

        It may or may not be, but forgive me if I don't wave him through with such confidence, while demanding evidence everywhere else.

        • Paddington

          TBH it would be too easy to prove if he lied.

          • McFlock

            has that ever stopped a politician?

            It seems to me to be a bit much of a coincidence that the mp they approached for help was a nat, and the opposition leader who apparently has more information about the people's close contacts than the MoH is also a nat.

            So what followup did Bishop's office do?

            If either Bishop or any other nat got information about close contacts, how long was it between their finding out and when they notified the MoH of the contact?

            The lackadaisical attitude by the frontline quarantine staff and the people who received special exemptions and then endangered others deserves scruitiny, as does whether any politicians delayed public health responses for point-scoring.

            After several weeks, it looks like folks got into a routine of okay-ing requests, and expecting the travellers to volunteer information. Meanwhile, the travellers (not just the two drivers) were prepared to gamble that they didn't have it.

            • Tiger Mountain

              There are two issues really as this little scenario develops…
              • NZ National Party dirty tricks as usual–now a little more in public view since Slater’s demise
              • Public Health–re quarantining effectively

              The Nats seem to think the way to an election win, or lesser mauling, is via the Govt. stumbling over Covid response so there must be push back. ‘We’ need to know if Bishop and Woodhouse communicated over these two individuals case.

            • Paddington

              " has that ever stopped a politician? "

              True.  I just assumed that this was some thing so easy to verify, he wouldnt be that silly.  Never overestimate the power of stupidity.

      • Anne 38.1.2

        My fault. I meant to add a little winky emoticon to denote tongue-in-cheek. I forgot.

        It was a case of tossing the "gotcha" type politics Woodhouse is currently engaged in right back at him and his lackeys. 

        I mean if its good enough for them, its good enough for us.

      • Ffloyd 38.1.3

        What constituents?

  39. Tiger Mountain 39

    The centrists and “guest tory” posters on MickySav’s “Gotcha” post may have jumped the gun a little as ianmac and Anne’s link suggests.

    Mr Bishops involvement, and any communication with Mr Woodhouse, is well worth investigating with his previous form re the Nats IT activity . The Nats have done well here, “compassionate exemptions” are now sidelined–collective punishment in effect, as fallout from more Nat dirty tricks imo.

    • Paddington 39.1

      I'm not the slightest bit interested in how well the nats have done.  I'm interested in the failures of our health system that seem to have gone from a leak to a flow in the past few days.  I'm also interested in why we have a Health Minister who seems immune from accountability.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 39.1.1

        "I'm also interested in why we have a Health Minister who seems immune from accountability."

        Maybe he's planning ahead for a CEO position in private industry?  Thank goodness the MoH and our public health services have done such a (comparatively) good job of safeguarding NZers during the on-going Covid-19 pandemic.  Shout out to nurses/doctors/other frontline healthcare workers, and all who support them.

        "In the year leading up to the 2017 election, the unlamented former Health Minister Jonathan Coleman, now CEO of a large private hospital operator, was besieged by campaigns highlighting the shocking state of mental health services in New Zealand, and the terrible statistics that was leading to, such as the world’s worst youth suicide figures. The clamour got so loud and so persistent, and the idiot stuck his head in the sand for so long, that even the mainstream media acknowledged the impact concerns about the state of mental health were having on public perceptions of the various parties, and elevated it to a ‘key election issue’."

        • Paddington

          Well said.

        • Rosemary McDonald

          Thank goodness the MoH and our public health services have done such a (comparatively) good job of safeguarding NZers during the on-going Covid-19 pandemic.


          Perhaps you missed David Skegg on Natrad this morning?


          This…https://www.bwb.co.nz/books/health-people…David Skegg?

          He knows a wee bit about Public Health, and he's none too impressed.

          In fact,  he sounded pretty pissed.

          He said that with about 200 people leaving quarantine early on compassionate grounds the country urgently needed to know how many had left their hotels without a test. He did not accept that there were no records to show this information.

          "There's clearly been less testing than we were promised."

          There was a big mis-match about what was happening and what the country had been told regarding those in quarantine being tested after day three and day 12. The run of more than 20 days without a Covid-19 case may be because testing of travellers was not being carried out.

          In Australia, positive tests of travellers were being detected almost every day.

          (bold mine)

          For all the crowing, it would seem that your beloved Ministry of Health is more cock and doodle rather than do.

          • Paddington

            Geez I hope you're wrong, although Skegg is rated, and seems less than impressed.  Meanwhile, according to https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2020/06/assistant-chief-of-defence-was-already-in-charge-when-covid-19-pair-left-quarantine.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter the armed forces were already in charge when all this happened!  So when Mickey wrote "Jacinda Ardern has called in the Military to now oversee the quarantine system.  Good decision." he was actually 4 weeks late!

          • Drowsy M. Kram


            Dear Rosemary, could you list a few countries that have objectively achieved better Covid-19 health outcomes for their citizens than NZ?  I can be a bit of a misery guts on some subjects, but still consider that the demonstrably good outcomes (so far) for NZ must be due in part to our public health services.  Those outcomes are all the more impressive when you consider the relative (under-)resourcing of our public health services; it’s probably a very real daily struggle for some of those working ‘at the coalface‘.

            You seem to believe that these comparatively good Covid-19 health outcomes occured in spite of our public health servives and the MoH.  We'll have to agree to disagree about that.

            Can you reflect on why you're disappointed that NZ’s team of nearly 5 million has done well, so far?   Since we've done well, there's nowhere to go but down, so cheer up, your disappointment about NZ's good Covid-19 health outcomes will likely be short-lived.

            • Rosemary McDonald

              Dear DM.K, with respect, I repeat…(well, I'll repeat what the expert in Public Health said.)

              There was a big mis-match about what was happening and what the country had been told regarding those in quarantine being tested after day three and day 12. The run of more than 20 days without a Covid-19 case may be because testing of travellers was not being carried out.

              In Australia, positive tests of travellers were being detected almost every day.

              It could very well be the case that we haven't done quite as well as is claimed.

              You will  recall how for such a long time the message from the Ministry was that only those with symptoms need to be tested…and indeed the media highlighted the stories of those who asked to be tested and were refused… only to test positive when finally tested.

              And yet again today Bloomfield used the term 'asymptomatic'…as if that should have any baring whatsoever on whether or not a recent arrival should be required to be tested.

              And poor old Ashley got another drubbing from the Auditor General for his mixed messaging regarding the use (or not) of PPE.


              Dear Drowsy, you seem to believe that this is somehow not only ok, but something we should be celebrating.

              I believe we deserve better.

              Which is what Skegg has been saying, for some years now…


              • Drowsy M. Kram

                Dear Rosemary, you could be right, but I hope you're wrong. It's true that I believe the Covid-19 health outcomes NZ's team of nearly 5 million has achieved so far are definitely worth celebrating – Emeritus Professor Sir David Skegg himself has mentioned "all the covid-19 gains" NZ has made.  It's also true that I believe the NZ MoH and our public health services contributed to those relatively good outcomes.

                I'm seeing a silver lining (only ~1500 confirmed and probable cases, and only 22 deaths) in NZ's Covid-cloud.  I do feel a bit sorry for those who can only see, or only want to see, the cloud – and yes, it does loom large.

                Of course, you're quite right when you say: "It could very well be the case that we haven't done quite as well as is claimed." Similarly, I would be quite right to say: "It could very well be the case that we have done as well as is claimed.", or indeed that "we could very well have done a great many things."

                Perhaps we could agree that, based on Covid-19 health outcomes, NZ has done relatively well so far (hooray!), and that there is room for improvement.

    • I can't see any sign of Bishop having done anything wrong, acting for constituents is common for electorate MPs, he would have been negligent not to pass the email on.

      Having a constituent matter outed by senior Ministers in parliament deserves more scrutiny.

    • Incognito 39.3

      Are you suggesting the National MPs exploited a known weakness in the system and used it to their political advantage? That would be unprecedented, surely?

  40. observer 40

    I don't think Bishop's action is a scandal. I do think he is a hypocrite.

    At the very least, we now know that National are absolutely fine with exemptions. They wanted one.

    Even a negative test result well within the incubation period would not have guaranteed public safety. They had been in NZ for 5 days.

    • Herodotus 40.1

      Are you for real 😤- Bishop acted for these 2 sisters, nothing wrong with an MP acting for Kiwis. Don't you want MPs acting for our benefit ??   

      It is not his fault that the sisters, he and all of us were let down by as we are told a systematic breakdown of what was suppose to be implemented. The system was approved to protect us, BUT GUESS WHAT ??  And the breakdown was not only with these 2 but so many others. 

      • observer 40.1.1

        If the system had got everything right, the women would have been tested once before they left quarantine after 5 days.

        • Andre

          And on receipt of positive test results, they would have been moved from the managed isolation hotel to the much stricter quarantine hotel, no?

          Which raises the question, why are they still in their own self-isolation rather than in the quarantine hotel where recent symptomatic arrivals are supposed to be? Particularly after they have already been shown to act somewhat carelessly with respect to public health?

        • Herodotus

          But the system let everyone down, and poor Ashley is left to face the consequences. But look over there … a distraction to hide the f$%^& up. 

          Had the processes been followed we most probably would be were we are now. And not just in this case, but I read that the system has been lacking. We have been extremely fortunate that there has not been an outbreak due to this.

      • Adrian 40.1.2

        Bullshit, it was support to get out of quarantine 10 days before anyone else was allowed to. Entitlement all over and Bishop should have known a lot better.

        • Herodotus

          So what of all those others that were able to get out? get that log out of you eye. Funny how the team of 5million has been let down and now we see lack of ownership. They were allowed out because … our officals thought it was safe, otherwise they would not have been let out. 

          BUT our fail safe system f@#$% up big time. Now it is diversion – We are told that Nat are playing gotcha tactics how do some feel about the low political stance from Hopkins and his playing politics ?

          I gather you have no understanding what MP's do ? Perhaps educate yourself on this. 

      • Draco T Bastard 40.1.3

        Don't you want MPs acting for our benefit ??

        Yes I do but that precludes them working to get people out of quarantine early so as to endanger the rest of us.


        The concept of compassionate leave from quarantine should simply not exist.

    • ianmac 40.2

      "At the very least, we now know that National are absolutely fine with exemptions. They wanted one."

      So true observer. 

  41. ScottGN 41

    Just to be clear, so far it has not been established that anyone involved was actually a constituent of Mr Bishop, i.e. a person residing in the Hutt electorate. The two women lived in the UK, so did the intermediary who contacted Bishop via Twitter on their behalf. Mr Bishop also wouldn’t confirm that the women’s parent who’s funeral they were attending was a constituent either, he would only say that person ‘lived in the area’.

    • McFlock 41.1

      He doesn't seem to have DMs enabled on Twitter, so how was he contacted again?

      • ScottGN 41.1.1

        On Checkpoint Lisa asked him if the intermediary was a friend. He said no. She then asked how he was contacted by the intermediary. Bishop said ‘by text’ at which point Lisa suggested he was obviously a close enough friend to have his (Bishop’s) cellphone number. Bishop then said the contact was via Twitter. Make of that what you will?

      • Tiger Mountain 41.1.2

        damn those pesky details, eh what…the Nats should be pursued to the end of the trail on this manufactured hit.

        • Peter

          It would be a shock to find that Bishop was acting like a slime ball.  Opposition suits him. He deserves to get to enjoy it for three more years.

  42. xanthe 42

    Once again Jacinda has finessed the outcome she wants!

    there is a huge groundswell wanting the border protection tightened up …..  funnily enough that's exactly what Jacinda needs to do …. and now she can.

    she managed the same thing going into level 4..


  43. When Jacinda said "they were bringing in the military" it was very misleading because Digby Webb was already doing  the job when these fuck ups occurred.

    When will this government stop arse covering and start to tell the truth?

    • observer 43.1

      Do you object to Webb having an expanded role now?

      • Naki man 43.1.1

        No i object to the PM trying to smooth over a huge series of incompetent fuck ups

        by deliberately misleading the public.



        • The Unliving

          In which case you must have found 2008-2017 to be an extremely objectionable time.

        • Tricledrown

          Nakeeed Man Facts Webb was in charge of repatriating New Zealanders stranded overseas nothing to do with the Health Dept's monitoring of the isolation .

  44. Corey Humm 44

    Outrageous and this luckily it is getting out there that this happened and nats message is still completely all over the show but this and the chch funeral shouldn't have happened. 

    I'm with Winston, find the civil servants and throw them under the bus and remind everyone about nationals involvement at every opportunity. Seriously, anymore cases and the public will demand scalps, people have been complaining about lax attitudes about quarantinees mingling. 


    Jacinda has out up with more uselessness from civil servants, Labour employees , ministers and coalition partners than Clark ever would and everytime Ardern hasn't scalped or thrown someone under the bus her popularity has taken a hit. The public do expect the prime minister to be a bit of a mongrel when necessary I get that Labour are afraid of civil servants and their unions but anymore screw ups and we'll be demanding some scalps.


    Still think a majority Labour is possible but Labours been weak at controlling this narrative so far this week. 

  45. Stunned Mullet 45


    • Incognito 45.1

      Don’t be. Everything will be alright after 19 September.

      • Stunned Mullet 45.1.1

        Really ?

        What's happening in September that'll solve the global pandemic and the local and global economic woes and let's not to mention the partisan political hackery?

  46. Jum 46

    So, Chris Bishop advocates for two women to get out of quarantine and travel to Wellington. Suddenly, the Government is now in the gun for everything that happened.


    Has anyone seen a copy of the obviously compelling message from Bishop to let these women go without testing before 7 days had been completed? There seemed to be no absolute emergency because the parent had died; is that correct?

    I think there's a term for seeding a scandal.

    Why is nobody blaming these women for lying about their activities travelling to Wellington?  Why is Woodhouse allowed to get away with delaying for hours to get his moment in question time at the expense of possible deaths?

    Why is a national party opposition member's email address still using govt when they're not the Government? They're in Parliament yes, not Government.

  47. satty 47

    Good questions, Jum.
    Does someone here really believe that Chris Bishop goes through all that for some random personally unknown constituents? And simply forwards one single email, without any follow up, and they get out of quarantine within such a short period?

    How did National know all their “travel details”, which they – as far as I can see – deliberately falsified / withheld from the health officials? Surely not through pure luck.

  48. McFlock 48

    The phrase "victory disease" comes to mind.

    NZ has done bloody well compared to most of the rest of the world. Otstanding. Achieved a solid A, with a couple of typos that kept it shy of an A+.

    And because things were going so well, the system collectively let standards slide. More and more exemptions granted. Forms rubberstamped without each question asked each consultation on each day. Lots of trust, not much supervision. Tests delayed or not done, and nobody following up to ask why.

    A good time to put a bit of stick about and straighten things out, I reckon.

  49. NZJester 49

    The "Gotcha politics" of the two women being released from quarantine before testing positive might be backfiring a bit on the Nats. The news is reporting that Health Minister David Clark has said he was aware Hutt South MP Chris Bishop provided a written positive representation which may have led to the women being granted the exemption.

    So fingers are now being pointed back at National for this serious breach.

    "COVID-19 pair released from quarantine after lobbying from National MP, Labour claims"


    • Tricledrown 49.1

      This could be a deliberate set up how did Woodhouse get to know who these people were did Chris Bishop pass on information.

      • Tricledrown 49.1.1

        Matthew Hooton's dirty politics's finger prints on this one.

        • Patricia Bremner

          We will never really know,  but past experience gives a few clues.

          New Zealanders had become confident of their safety and fight or flight has taken over in the form of finger pointing.

          I think National have made a bad call here.  The rules will be tightened and they can no longer cry for early releases in the face of this debacle.  Further,  getting students in earlier just took a massive hit.  So Todd got it wrong again.

          The smear and sneer campaign looks very like Hooten's work. DP  IMO

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