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?