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The importance of Jacinda’s 1 pm press conferences

Written By: - Date published: 11:50 am, August 22nd, 2021 - 130 comments
Categories: covid-19, health, jacinda ardern, Judith Collins, labour, Media, national, same old national, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, uncategorized - Tags:

There has been this escalating drum beat about the PM’s regular press conferences.

It started off last lockdown with National.  They claimed that Jacinda Ardern was getting an unfair advantage because she was getting the opportunity to speak to us most days.  If communicating effectively and displaying true leadership is considered unfair then they have a point.

The absurdness of their position reached new depths yesterday with Judith Collins complaining about the conferences and suggesting that the news should just be released whenever.

From Dan Satherley at Newshub:

[Collins] also took a swipe at the Government’s reluctance to release details of new cases and information outside of daily 1pm briefing, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the “single source of truth” when it came to information on the response to COVID-19.

“Certainty is really helpful for people – not only people in business and small businesses but also for people just trying to go about their lives,” said Collins. “A lack of certainty, waiting for a one o’clock announcement every day, this actually adds to the anxiety – it doesn’t actually help people that much.”

I have heard regular morning updates of information being given each morning when I wake up.  Maybe Judith needs to check her sources of information.

Some elements of the media have picked up on criticisms of the press conference.  Indeed it could be said that parts of the media have got themselves into a funk about it.

For instance Fran O’Sullivan:

I’ve written before about Ardern’s irritating habit of failing to “just get to the point, Prime Minister” when she indulges in lengthy preambles prior to making the only announcement that the country really wants to hear in these Covid press conferences: “What level of lockdown are we in and for how long?” and “how many cases are we today?” etc.

As I mentioned yesterday Kate Hawkesby who expressed the desire of putting needles in her eyes during Jacinda’s press conferences.  She said this:

I tried, I really did, but I wanted to stick needles in my eyes by about 4 minutes in.

I’d forgotten how soul destroying it is to be spoken to like a 3-year-old.

I also felt exasperated that the press gallery seem to have all had lobotomies and are unable to ask a single probing question. Not one.

I understand this has come from the top down. The PM apparently has issued instructions on how these 1pm pressers are to go, they have to play by the rules, and the rules appear to include only getting your question answered if your question is an easy one.

Like, ‘remind us again Prime Minister of what people should be doing in their bubbles? Or, ‘could you tell the NZ public again Prime Minister what you’d like them to do?’

I mean, come on. Are they handing out sleeping pills before these start? Who, apart from the Labour party, are these press conferences serving?

And there was this tweet from Jason Walls which was representative:

There have been other similar comments.  Reporters just want the data and not the introduction, presumably so that they can shape the narrative.

What sorts of things is Jacinda saying?

Like most of the country I have been tuning into these conferences to see what is happening.

I rewatched the video yesterday.  I thought this was an extraordinary good example of how leaders should communicate in a crisis.

I also discovered that Jacinda’s speech notes are on the Beehive website.  Her comments from yesterday included these:

  • Yesterday we hit two records, most vaccinations administered in a single day, 56,843, and most COVID tests processed in a single day, 41,464.
  • Over 150,000 vaccination bookings were made.
  • So far 72 percent of New Zealander aged 40+ are either booked or have been vaccinated with at least one dose.
  • If you are 40+ or in one of our other priority groups and haven’t made your booking yet, visit BookMyVaccine.nz.
  • We need to test, test, test to ensure we can get an accurate picture of the perimeter of the virus and we can also be using this time to increase our vaccination rates.
  • She acknowledged and essentially apologised to everyone who has waited for hours to get a test.
  • Additional testing capacity had been established.  Yesterday there were 14 Community Testing Centres open across Auckland including four new Pop-Ups
  • In addition, four community testing centres for close contacts only were in operation.
  • In Wellington 6 community testing stations are open across the region and this includes three Pop-Ups.
  • Go to healthpoint.co.nz to get details of COVID testing sites anywhere in the country. Or call ahead to your GP to see if they have testing available.
  • Testing is prioritised for contacts of known cases. If you are called by public health then you need to isolate and get a test. People who were at locations of interest on the dates and times recorded need to isolate and get a test. If you went to a location of interest, but not on the date or time set out you don’t need to be tested.  Those with cold and flu symptoms need to isolate and get tested.
  • If you are not in one of these groups and if you are well, you don’t need a test.
  • At the moment we most need to ensure that those who may have been exposed to the virus are getting tested and getting these result through.
  • She praised “an outstanding health workforce”. “On behalf of New Zealand I want to acknowledge how tough the last few days have been. And also to say thank you. If you interact with a health worker in the coming days, at a vaccine station or at a testing station, please pass on the thanks of the team of 5
    million.”

I can understand why National is so upset.  Ardern’s introductory comments were jam packed with relevant information that provided overall context to the response and contradicted the doomsayers.  There was nothing overtly political about it.  The only aspect that was not factual was thanks being given to our health workers.

And Jacinda is sidestepping the media and presenting her own take to the team of 5 million.  And for a blessed 5 minutes her comments are not subject to media spin.

The whole exercise is masterful leadership.  Explaining what our situation is, what the plan is and why we have to be doing what we are doing.  And it is working.  This time around in my home area not only are people doing what they did last time but a significant number of them are masking whenever they go out into the public domain.

I will continue to tune in to the 1 pm briefings.  They are a wonderful examples of clear and precise communication of our current situation.  And they show something that too many countries have lacked.  Real leadership.

130 comments on “The importance of Jacinda’s 1 pm press conferences ”

  1. satty 1

    It’s called “leadership”… something they wouldn’t understand.

  2. Clive Macann 2

    Well said MICKYSAVAGE.

    Precise and accurate up-to-date info is not likely to be twisted by the Media as much as giving the short basics.

  3. joe90 3

    Best reply ever.

  4. Reality 4

    Kate Hawkesby's comments show what a self-centred arrogant, thinks she knows it all, person she is. What a demanding 'entitled' woman.

    I really appreciate the PM being the one running the show how she sees fit.

    Is it my imagination or are the media at the Beehive this time round being less aggressive and rude?

  5. dv 5

    In an unusual move the PM has said she will not attend the press conference today as to protect the eyes of some reporters.

    (This was in the wrong place)

  6. Maurice 6

    What has happened to the Epidemic Response Select Committee?

    Will it be revived if Parliament is suspended?

  7. DukeEll 7

    “Importance”

    Could have easily used “necessity” as well, but doesn’t respond accurately to the criticism from the likes of Fran o Sullivan.

    crafting a narrative around the situation is fine, wonderfully done. Making everybody wait for the facts and figures, until a narrative is given, could be construed as grandstanding and politicking

    as an Ardern supporter I’m fine with this. As a busy business owner who is having to manage deliveries, staff and customers away from the office on reduced income, waiting for our prime minister to be quiet and get on with the delivery of the essential information, it can try my patience.

    • Sacha 7.1

      If you are pressed for time, wait a bit until media have written up the 1pm session.

      • DukeEll 7.1.1

        With information that would be publicly useful pre 1pm?

        Sacha, I get you’re a public servant or government staffer, but other people have priorities in their lives that people in your privileged position don’t understand. You could be helpful with your privilege and understand. Or be problematic as you are…

        • Incognito 7.1.1.1

          With [essential] information that would be publicly useful pre 1pm?

          Such as?

          Why can’t you wait until 1:30 pm or so and read the essential info in less than a minute? Maybe the daily update should be 9:00 am, what you reckon? I think there are good reasons why not, but let’s see what you have to say.

          Who’s creating problems here and acting as an entitled person accusing others of privilege, of all things?

        • Sacha 7.1.1.2

          Neither. From yesterday's 1pm briefing it seems your concerns have been listened to – official info releases every 2 hours. Good to see. They must have deployed enough extra comms/approval resource to make that possible now. Otherwise we would get incorrect info being changed throughout the day, like some media have been delivering on their own.

    • Gabby 7.2

      You don't have to listen you know, get one of your minions to do that.

  8. Ad 8

    That extra step that Minister Hipkins has announced for compulsory QR Code sign-ins is a really big step in both public health and public freedoms.

    It is a very small extra step from compulsory readings to denial of seating on an aircraft, bus or train. After that to loading Test status and Vaccine status onto the biometric chip of your passport to determine whether you can leave the country.

    Maybe that's what it takes, but it's reasonable to expect a Bill of Rights Act debate against the Health Act done out loud with each new measure of compulsion.

    • RosieLee 8.1

      Compulsory signins is all very well. However. i deeply resent the disparaging comments about old people and tech. We are not stupid. I think the covid app is a great idea – except I had to buy a new phone to do it. My computer and old phone did everything I wanted – but I could not install the app.

      The other thing is that at the entrance to a lot of shops/supermarkets etc the Physical sign in and sanitizer tables are in the way of the phone signins. And many of the signins are in a shiny light which makes the phone signin difficult, and the physical signins are often not there any more. Or you just want to sign in on your phone and you're behind the people who are manually signing in etc. It all adds up to making the whole process a damn nuisance.

      Stop criticising old people. We are not all tech stupid.

    • McFlock 8.2

      Well, no, those additional steps are quite big, especially if denial of seating is based on vacc/test status.

      Sign-in is easy – "oi, sign in" will get most of them.

      For planes we already have identification and enforcement of access, but integrating a separate authorisation step will require a secure method of cross-referencing between the ticketing/boarding systems and the relevant medical databases.

      Adding vax/test data to passports might be feasible with the current chip, if there's that capability. ISTR the international standard is Bushjr-era, so even if it's doable there might be issues around global implementation (otherwise our travellers might get turned away at foreign ports because our chip behaves funny).

      But busses and trains:

      • Identification: how do you know the fare card or vax cert is being used by the owner?
      • Authorisation: how do you reliably and quickly lnk the prospective passenger to their vax status?
      • Enforcement: who is going to confirm a problem and kick the passenger off?
    • Andre 8.3

      Personally, I have zero problem with the idea of some kind of a vax passport being required for entry to a plane or bus or train or workplace or any kind of crowded place open to the general public. Once everyone that wants vaccination has received it.

      In fact, I strongly support it. Only exceptions being strict necessities of life, such as food suppliers, doctor's visits, WINZ etc – where masking would be compulsory.

      Especially if the alternative is denying all those things to everybody, like we're doing now. Because of a few unvaxed.

    • AB 8.4

      The Bill of Rights does contain a section on "Rights and Security of the Person" including a right "not to be deprived of life". Safeguarding this right during a pandemic might run up against the right to "freedom of movement".

      So any such case would get interesting. But the real takeaway is that any attempt at a comprehensive statement of rights will always be internally contradictory in just this manner. Which is why things get thrown back into the political sphere.

  9. John G 9

    Fran O'sullivan seems to think that Jacinda is there just to talk to business. There is 5m of us she needs to talk to. I was taught that good communication should be able to be understood by a 12 year old. Keep up the good work PM

  10. KJT 10

    Must be really annoying to National's media propaganda mouthpieces, that they cannot "spin" Government statements to the public, as we are getting the facts straight from the source.

    Very apparent in the factual delivery of necessary and useful information.

    Followed by a period of “gotcha” questions from ill informed media “personalities” asking for repetition of information already covered.

    To the stage I now just switch it off when they start the questions.

    • Westykev 10.1

      The main spin people are hearing is straight from the Covid-19 podium briefings. The PM seems to enjoy them a bit too much it seems and I and many others I know can't be bothered watching them anymore.

      I follow the rules, wearing masks in public and QR scanning if visiting the shops and petrol stations as I understand that due to the poor vaccination rollout this is the only way to keep people are safe for the time being. Just a pity that after last years fantastic Covid-19 response by the Government they have failed us since.

      All people that wanted to be vaccinated by now should have been so. Our health system is still not prepared. Our contact tracing is still not up to standard and the pop-up testing is woeful.

      I don't give a flying fuck about party cheerleaders defending the shit response since last year nor their international comparisons.

      I care for the people of this country that have been let down and will suffer unnecessarily so. More than likely it will be the people Labour say they are there protect, the low waged, the sick and those receiving income support. Fuck them

      • KJT 10.1.1

        You're listening to the media too much. Who are expecting miracles. I've been hearing facts from the podium briefings. A refreshing change from media bs. The testing is working well. And vaccinations are ramping up, as we would expect. It takes time to train and find staff for both. And to sort out facilities, get deliveries and organise.

        That testing was carried out for 40 000 in a day, with just a few hours of waiting for some, is a success, not a failure.

        I'm neither a Labour supporter or voter. They have been way to slow or missing on many things. Welfare and housing are just two. But their Covid response and communication have been excellent. The misteps have been mostly outside their control, such as our previously run down health system, state servants appointed for political support by National, or inordinate pressure such as petitions to "open bubbles".

        The briefings. From the viewpoint of someone like me, who is trained in communicating necessary information in an emergency, are generally very well done.
        You do not want everyone racing off before they have all the information. The sequencing is deliberate.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 10.1.2

        The PM seems to enjoy them a bit too much it seems

        Onya Westykev, thanks for that penetrating insight into just how much our PM is enjoying the latest outbreak. As for keyboard whingers with chips on their shoulders about the outstanding leadership and behaviour our PM is modelling – "Fuck them".

        Pete said it best, imho:

        Most of those finding anything they can to bitch about re vaccinations should look at themselves in the mirror and wonder that in the stuff-up, the oversight, the schemozzle, the disaster, at least one prick made it through.

        • Gypsy 10.1.2.1

          Hi Drowsy

          I was specifically referring to testing. The reasons for the slow vaccination rate are more complex, although planning appears to be a factor. For testing, my comment referred to a 'total failure of planning'. I'll happily rethink the word 'total' – if you've read some of my comments you'll know I've been personally impacted by this in a number of ways and I'm grumpy. But I will say that the implementation lacks all of the signs of a well thought out plan. In fact it has the characteristics of a poorly conceived and lazy plan.

        • Gypsy 10.1.2.2

          "Chop chop Gypsy, "the planners" are hanging on your every whinge."

          Wow – I'm impressed. smiley.

      • Patricia Bremner 10.1.3

        Westykev, you "don't watch the covid briefings", but 'know" the PM enjoys them too much.

        You sir, are making stuff up!!

        • Westykev 10.1.3.1

          You missed my point about not watching them anymore.

          • Patricia Bremner 10.1.3.1.1

            No I did not. You put your feelings on her!! You are saying she enjoys the podium, and suggest she is using the situation. That is your made up belief.

            Just don't rationalise your behaviour in such a way.

      • Gypsy 10.1.4
        1. On balance, the government's response to Covid-19 last year was as good as could be expected. There was no playbook for Covid, and there were conflicting opinions globally about what was the best response. To their credit, the government chose a strategy and stuck to it.
        2. What this latest outbreak has revealed is that there has been a serious failure at a government or agency (eg MoH) level to use the intervening period to conduct adequate planning for another outbreak.

        Andrea Vance wrote : "These are failings that were foreseeable and are unforgivable." I'm unsure whether this is a failure of government or government departments, but a failure it is.

        • KJT 10.1.4.1

          Andrea Vance's "reckons" like so much from the National party propaganda corps, is misleading and mostly just plain wrong.

          If you do some analysis, instead of just repeating right wing media. There are obvious reasons why we are still rolling out vaccinations. Capability and supply for one.

          The number of tests in the last few days, is a success, not a failure. We do not have an infinite number of testers and we never will.

          Vance does not examine why we don't have all front line workers vaccinated. There are many reasons, including being able to release people from essential work to get vaccinated. I haven't had my second one because I've been too sick with flu. For example.

          The ambiguity around essential workers is almost entirely on businesses, trying it on. Some of the big box retailers who should, by now, know better, included.

          She missed the prioritising of MIQ, which is a genuine concern. And note the premature bubble with Oz, which she strongly pushed, is not mentioned. Neither are the reasons for the shortage of medical capability in all areas, including people who can be quickly brought up to speed as testers, vaccinators, nurses etc, which predates this Government.

          • Gypsy 10.1.4.1.1

            "The number of tests in the last few days, is a success, not a failure. "

            I wasn't referring to the number. I was referring to the poor implementation. The abject lack of any kind of planning.

            "There are obvious reasons why we are still rolling out vaccinations. Capability and supply for one."

            Both of which are within the control of planners if they are doing their jobs.

            "There are many reasons, including being able to release people from essential work to get vaccinated."

            It is August 2021. We have had the vaccine for months. Getting vaccinated takes seconds.

            • KJT 10.1.4.1.1.1

              Despite what people like Vance are saying, it is logistics and staffing which have constrained the response rather than planning. Being mindful that the best plan may not ,"survive contact with the enemy".

              Though some of the DHB's could have done a lot better.

              It is easy to see on hindsight today what could be done better. Those things, as far as I can see, are being addressed as quickly as they arise. The pop up testing and drive throughs must have been already planned, given they have been set up within days. Still have to get staff from other jobs and locations.

              The best planning cannot supply staff or resources that are simply not there. Like vaccine supply a couple of months ago.
              Getting vaccinated takes half an hour, with staff having to be available trained in allergies and shock as well as vaccination.

              • McFlock

                There's also the old maxim that "no plan survives first contact with the enemy".

                When we look at some of the absolute clusterfucks overseas (my favourite being the UK using .xls format to collate test results in a weird way – like, why record one observation in several rows?), we're still lucky to have the leaders and bureaucrats and staff that we have.

                • Gypsy

                  "The days that large projects work with no flaws completely according to plan are few and far between, no matter how many resources were thrown at planning."

                  I'm not talking about zero flaws. I'm talking about a reasonable outcome. What we're experiencing is not that.

                  • McFlock

                    So what are your success criteria for "reasonable"? Because mine is "elimination of delta after a couple of months of L4 for most of the north island".

                    My criteria for "spectacular" is no further community transmission after a couple of weeks.

                    Bear in mind that both criteria seemingly border on "impossible" in the discourses of some chicken littles and petulant egotists.

                    • Gypsy

                      We may be talking at cross purposes. My beef is with the lack of planning for the current circumstances. Another outbreak was predictable, possibly inevitable. A reasonable outcome would have been being better prepared, including having mitigated the issues I raised here.

                    • McFlock

                      Those are all vague urgings for better.

                      What actual success criteria do you have? I'll add a further criteria for "satisfactory": no mass graves or crematoria running overtime this year because of covid. Although that's some hard marking.

                      What "planning" would have stopped businesses bitching that the rules are unclear (in an effort to be regarded as essential)?

                      What countries would you deny vaccines to until we're at 100%? Should we outbid, say, Fiji?

                      If you want to test 50k people a day, mostly in Auckland, where would you magic the staff and kits from? How would you keep it accessible while averting long queues?

                      Anyone can write a list of shortcomings. How would you actually fix things, that's the difficult bit. You know, the planning.

                    • KJT

                      Our conversation has convinced me that Gypsy has little comprehension, or experience of what's possible, and the human and logistics limitations on emergency responses.

                      Though we agree on the dysfunction of too many managers in DHB's. Something the Government has already signalled they will address.

                      Like too many right wing critics. Questions, but no plausible answers.
                      And little self awareness that in all likelihood, if they were in charge, it would have been a lot worse.

                • Gypsy

                  "What actual success criteria do you have? "

                  Having adequate supplies of PPE and testing swabs. As in not running out.

                  Having a sensible testing methodology.

                  Being at least in the higher levels of the OECD on vaccinations.

                  Having close to all front line workers vaccinated.

                  All of these were possible. With adequate planning.

                  • McFlock

                    Having adequate supplies of PPE and testing swabs. As in not running out.

                    We have adequate supplies. Local managers, many in organisations not actually run by MoH (i.e. GPs) have run dangerously low at times.

                    Having a sensible testing methodology.

                    What do you mean? That's not an outcome.

                    Being at least in the higher levels of the OECD on vaccinations.

                    Which countries would you have liked NZ to outbid and deprive of vaccines for this to occur?

                    Having close to all front line workers vaccinated.

                    What do you regard as "close to all"? How do you define "front line workers" – according to the vax priority group list, or some other criteria?

                    All of these were possible. With adequate planning.

                    Nope. Some are vague and therefore easily gamed, some are beyond the control of MoH or even DHB planners (you can have a store of masks, but you can't force GPs to face-fit for N95 staff you don't know about in the 18 months they've had to do it, or order a resupply in a timely manner), and one involves us taking more vaccine stock away from countries that are in dire straits.

                    But sure, magical "Planning" will cure everything. Even more reliable than Captain Hindsight, apparently.

                    • Gypsy

                      “We have adequate supplies.”

                      I don’t think that’s correct.

                      “What do you mean? That's not an outcome.”

                      Ok, I’ll specify. Having people wait no more than 60 minutes. Implementing a booking system. Prioritising people who are either close contacts or symptomatic.

                      “Which countries would you have liked NZ to outbid and deprive of vaccines for this to occur?”

                      Are you suggesting that's the reason for our vaccination rate being the lowest in the OECD?

                      “What do you regard as "close to all"? How do you define "front line workers" – according to the vax priority group list, or some other criteria?”

                      Close to all = above 90%.

                      Front line = Examples: police, contact health staff (e.g. nurses, doctors), border control workers.

                      “Nope.”

                      I disagree. We’ve had months to prep for this. As I said, perfection is unattainable, but what we have was preventable.

                    • McFlock

                      Think what you want, but there's still a difference between managers of independent organisations not being up to the pace vs wharehouses being empty due to poor planning.

                      Having people wait no more than 60 minutes.

                      What's your plan for that? How do you handle bookings alongside drop-in capacity?

                      Implementing a booking system.

                      At what level? National? Regional? Regional including subcontracting organisations? Via patients calling individual testing centres or a centralised web app? If centralised, how do you ensure all testing agents use appropriate tech? Will they all have to be certified complaint in the connectedHealth IT framework before being integrated into the booking management system?

                      Prioritising people who are either close contacts or symptomatic.

                      How? A checkbox on your booking system based on honour rules? And aren't the more important tests the ones that reveal unknown transmission? Symptomatic or close contacts should already be in isolation, we need to know about the ones wandering around the community, too.

                    • McFlock

                      Close to all = above 90%.

                      So some hospitals in your link might actually meet that standard.

                      Front line = Examples: police, contact health staff (e.g. nurses, doctors), border control workers.

                      So group1, some of group 2, but a more vague list than currently that for group 2. And maybe not including back-office hospital staff, but they would be included in the hospital staff vax rate above.

                      Do you go for heavy oversight of employers jabbing workers, i.e. they send MIQ a list of all employees and MIQ cross-references that list against vaccine recipients, or do you rely on some level of self- monitoring by employers? How do you maintain confidentiality of employers, employees, and their contraindicating medical conditions? How do you confirm that the vaccine recipient is in fact e.g. a DHL courier of the same name?

                      Oh, and get it right, because some internet quarterback will be pouncing on any irregularity or "ambiguity" when a branch manager gets pissy at the extra paperwork they have to do.

                      “Which countries would you have liked NZ to outbid and deprive of vaccines for this to occur?”

                      Are you suggesting that’s the reason for our vaccination rate being the lowest in the OECD?

                      I’m saying we can afford to be slower. cf:mortality rates. But it’s still a fair question, given the growing vaccine gap between developed and less developed nations.

              • Gypsy

                "The best planning cannot supply staff or resources that are simply not there. "

                You're missing the point. Planning avoids such shortfalls. Like ordering enough swabs and ppe. Like implementing a booking system for testing so people aren't waiting 9 hours in a queue. Like having a clear message around what is and what is not an essential service. This is not rocket science.

                • KJT

                  You. Are missing the point.

                  Quoting from so called journalists such as Vance, Garner, Soper, Hoskings, etc who are determined to seize on absolutely anything, that helps get their favourite political party up in the polls. Who pretend that having to wait, on a two day period where testing and vaccination has broken records, is “evidence of a shambolic approach”. The right wings new word. Fortunately they can only cope with one new word to parrot, at a time.

                  People who can barely organise their way to the hair dresser, who think they are qualified to comment on the Governments planning capability, or anything else.
                  Meanwhile those who actually know what it takes to plan and organise in an emergency find this Governments, actions, planning, management and communication, on covid, impressive!

                  • Gypsy

                    "on a two day period where testing and vaccination has broken records, is “evidence of a shambolic approach”."

                    You are not listening. My point is simply that breaking records (whatever that means in this context) is not a measure of success when people are forced to queue for hours on end in an execise that could and should have been planned and managed in a more efficient manner. These are 'foreseeable' failings.

                    But it seems you were so triggered by the mention of Andrea Vance that you didn't follow my links. The authors range include Troels Sommerville, Bridie Witton, Adam Pearse, Amy Wiggins, Michael Morrah. No sign of Garner, Soper, or Hoskings.

                    And here are the names of people mentioned in those articles:

                    Professor Michael Baker

                    Professor Nick Wilson

                    Royal College of General Practitioners Medical Director Bryan Betty​

                    Felicity Cooke

                    Professor Michael Plank

                    Professor Des Gorman

                    I think these people are entitled to their observations and 'reckons'.

                    We've had months to prepare for this outbreak. If you think everything's hunky dory, then fine. I have seen it very differently.

                    • KJT

                      Anecdotes are not evidence.

                      And criticism of aspects of the Government approach is not confirmation of"poor planning".

                      I've been critical of aspects myself, including the MIQ priorities.

                      It was never going to be possible to ramp up testing in a bigger outbreak, without people having to wait. Especially when a lot turned up who were not in the list, obviously didn't listen to the briefing. We simply don't, and never will have, enough people we can divert from other medical tasks instantly!

                      The number of tests successfully done shows good, not poor, planning.

                      No one ever said everything is hunky dory.

                      I've done a bit on writing procedures, designing training, training and drilling as well as leading emergency responses. I have a fair idea what it takes. And all the obstacles to perfection.

                      If you have any further doubts that our leadership, and indeed most of our Government apparatus have done well, you only have to compare it with countries overseas, that are really "shambolic". Or indeed what would have happened with National who took months dithering on borders and lockdown, as well as being responsible for our current lack of medical capability, and the MOH’s lack of staff and resilience, that you complained about below.

                    • KJT

                      As someone else rightly said.

                      ,"If Government was unprepared it would be unlikely that they would be up to 50 000 tests a day, and 57000 vaccinations".

                  • Gypsy

                    "The number of tests successfully done shows good, not poor, planning."

                    No it doesn't. It shows a remarkable resilience of the population and of front line workers in the face of a total failure of planning.

                    "f you have any further doubts that our leadership, and indeed most of our Government apparatus have done well, …"

                    You are not listening. The people calling these failures out are professionals from within the system. We're running out of swabs and PPE. We're queuing for hours to get a simple test. Our vaccination rate is near the lowest in the OECD. Frontline workers have not been vaccinated in anywhere near acceptable numbers. And we’re calling nurses back to work who are considered ‘close contacts’.

                    And you think these are signs of good planning?

                    Here’s a challenge for you. Go back to the Andrea Vance piece because the more you try to defend the situation we are in, the more her piece grows in credibility.

                  • Gypsy

                    ""If Government was unprepared it would be unlikely that they would be up to 50 000 tests a day, and 57000 vaccinations"."

                    As of 20th August, only 40% of the police were vaccinated. You know the police? The people dealing with this:
                    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/126132021/covid19-fury-over-10hour-waits-at-auckland-testing-centres-only-to-be-turned-away
                    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/covid-19-coronavirus-delta-outbreak-frustrations-boil-over-at-avondale-covid-testing-station/ABQ2PBJGLOHB3O7NLF6AIKW6BA/

                    If we had been prepared, there would have been a booking system. There would have been a way to prioritise people with close contact status and/or symptoms. We would not be closing testing stations early to give staff a rest.

                  • Gypsy

                    "The more we go back to the Andrea Vance piece,…

                    The reasons are significantly a lack of adequate planning.

                    • KJT

                      From an actual journalist, not a right wing mouthpiece.

                      http://werewolf.co.nz/2021/08/gordon-campbell-on-our-polarised-attitudes-to-the-covid-response/

                      “yesterday’s Herald piece unfortunately did not explore why this situation has come to pass. Among the reasons: for the past six months, there have been supply constraints originating with Pfizer. To an extent, New Zealand has been a victim of its own success. Understandably, Pfizer appears to have prioritised supplying its vaccines to more needy people elsewhere. What vaccine supplies we did receive largely went to the most vulnerable, rather than into the kind of speedy mass vaccination efforts that other, more desperate countries were forced to embark on”.

                      “We can choose to whinge and complain and use the overheated language of “farce” and “failure” and “crisis” as an outlet for whatever angers are gnawing away inside of us”. Or, we can choose to build on the victories we have already won against the virus to tackle the work that remains to be done. To paraphrase David Foster Wallace, the reality of our relative success in handling this pandemic is hiding in plain sight all around us. It is so obvious that we risk not even seeing it anymore.”

                    • McFlock

                      Bulldust. The days that large projects work with no flaws completely according to plan are few and far between, no matter how many resources were thrown at planning.

                      No map or drawing goes down to perfect detail. No schedule can be 100% accurate. No individual works 100% predictably. Throw all those together, and planning is asymptotic with perfection – infinite resources will still never make them actually intersect.

                      The proof of the pudding is in the eating. We're not dealing with >10,000 dead like some similarly-sized states. We have less dead than expected in a normal year, ffs.

                      I guess all critics can be a bit like the old line about theatre critics: they see it done all the time, know how it should be done to be perfect, but are incapable of doing it themselves.

                  • Gypsy

                    "Where are you getting all the testers from."

                    The same place businesses get staff from when they plan ahead.

                    "By the way, the speed which dedicated testing stations were put in place for close contacts, shows they must have been planned already. Prioritising close contacts"

                    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/300388342/covid19-testing-delays-could-keep-new-zealand-in-lockdown-expert-says

                    What were you saying?

                    • KJT

                      "The same place businesses get staff from when they plan ahead".

                      Like fruit growers, you mean?

                      Or like our last plant shut down and maintenance. Where a whole contracting firm went off sick, with expertise we couldn't replace, and weather stopped 4 days work out of seven.

                  • Gypsy

                    "From an actual journalist, not a right wing mouthpiece."

                    You mean the journalists and industry professionals I have already referenced?

                  • Gypsy

                    "What vaccine supplies we did receive largely went to the most vulnerable,"

                    From the Gordon Campbell article.

                    Do you have evidence of that beyond the rhetoric? Because I have an 85 year old mother who was never contacted to get her vaccine. I have a partner with COPD who was never contacted. And I have a sister in law with a bronchial disease who was never contacted.

                    • KJT

                      That is on their GP's, who are private businesses btw.

                      And on you.

                      As an essential worker I rang and booked in end of June. I had a choice of dates right from the booking day. I had my first shot in early July. Everyone at work has had at least one shot. Because the company and ourselves got off their butt and booked ourselves in.

                      The people you mentioned, could have had too, if you, or their GP’s had got off their arse, and done what they were supposed to do, and you had listened to the “show ponies” briefings which made it perfectly clear, ” in language that a three year Old could understand”, that people with serious underlying conditions, have been on the priority list for months, and the process for booking. Instead of sitting around blaming the Government. Aren't right wingers big on "personal responsibility"?

                  • Gypsy

                    "That is on their GP's, who are private businesses btw."

                    No, it isn't. This is a pandemic. The vaccination program is the responsibility of the Ministry of Health. And your dig at private enterprise is both a cheap shot and ironic, considering it was through their doctors that my mother and partner did get contacted. ANd put this in your pipe and smoke it…the very day after their first vaccination, my partner (who has COPD) was contacted by the MoH. The same thing happened to my employer, who is 80. You might not understand the irony.

                    As to personal responsibility, that is what waiting for 13 hours over two days for a covid test is. It is what tens of thousands of people have had to do because of the abysmal lack of planning. It is also what my partner and many others did in getting vaccinated because the MoH has been unable to implement a system for actually targeting the vulnerable.

                    • KJT

                      Already mentioned DHB's, who you say were responsible for notifying the vulnerable, were lacking in management in many places.

                      However with three vulnerable people in the family. I would have felt a responsibility to make the bookings myself, rather than wait for someone else. As we did at my work.

                  • Gypsy

                    "Like fruit growers, you mean?"

                    It is becoming clear you don't understand the issues at all.

                    I'm talking about forward planning. People are trained by public and private agencies to perform complex and rudimentary tasks. Covid testing is a function that suitable people could have learned. If the planners were doing their jobs.

                  • Gypsy

                    "Already mentioned DHB's, who you say were responsible for notifying the vulnerable, were lacking in management in many places."

                    Now there's a lack of planning.

                    “However with three vulnerable people in the family. I would have felt a responsibility to make the bookings myself, rather than wait for someone else. As we did at my work.”

                    Yep, that’s what we did. Just as well too, because the public system didn’t perform.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Just as well too, because the public system didn’t perform.

                      Amazing just how much hand-holding some expect our health system to do. 26 NZers have died from Covid-19 infections. TWENTY SIX.

                      https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

                      Imho "the public system", under-staffed and stressed out as it is, has performed well, if this particular health outcome is any indication.

                    • KJT

                      DHB's are not, the Government!

                      Not only that but they were set up on an arm's length Neo liberal board management, business profit model, to be separate entities.

                      Which is a problem. A problem that this Government intends to address.

                      Obviously cannot be done in the middle of an epidemic.

                  • Gypsy

                    "DHB's are not, the Government!"

                    Now you are really splitting hairs. The DHB's are funded by the government. In the current situation they are following government imposed guidelines. but it does show you're running out of excuses.

                    • Incognito

                      You obviously have never heard of operational independence and autonomy and/or you have no idea what it means. I think you have made your point by now and suggest you’d call it a night. None of your criticism, even if/when justified, is going to change what has or has not been done in the past.

                • KJT

                  The "poor planning" is only perception.

                  As false as "National is the best manager of the economy". Or "Bludging Bennie's".

                  Perceptions nurtured by the propaganda approach of, "if you repeat something often enough, even those who should know better, internalise it".

                • Craig Hall

                  The DHBs are independent of the government, and delight in telling them that from time to time. Operational staffing comes under DHB purview, not the Ministry of Health. That's why DHBs are being abolished – the government has rolled out massive policies and funding, and then the delivery is uneven at best because the DHBs are the entities which actually deliver them (or choose not to).

                  • Gypsy

                    The current model is definitely broken. I'm not sure about the new proposals, but certainly the current number of DHB's is crazy.

            • DB Brown 10.1.4.1.1.2

              You sure talk some rubbish. Feel better now you've got someone else's spin off your chest.

              You forgot the catchphrase: Shambolic!

              • Gypsy

                I'm reluctant to use those descriptions because it implies criticism of frontline workers, who, in my experience and observation, are the ones bearing the brunt.

                I'll share this – I am in a governance role with a public organisation and became a 'close contact' due to two people part of the organisation being tested positive for Covid.

                My first response on hearing of the cases was to draft a communication to the organisations wider community. The MoH contacted me and asked me to hold off releasing that until they had prepared a letter containing the official advice. I told them I would do so on the condition they could assure me the organisations name would not be released to the locations of interest list until I had communicated to our community. They agreed. Over the course of the next several hours, the communication was delayed time and time again, until I set a final deadline of 5.00pm that afternoon. The MoH agreed. At 4.00pm approximately, the name of our organisation was released onto the list, before we were able to notify our community and against the assurances of the Ministry. We began receiving numerous contacts from distressed families and, of course, the media.

                On finding out that the agreement had not been honoured, I emailed my contact expressing my disappointment. (She had not answered my phone call). At 7.30 that night, she phoned me, and my frustration melted. She was in tears. She had worked close to 24 hours straight with minimal breaks. She let her guard slip and told me they had no plan for what was happening, no ability to get additional resources (at that time) and she offered to write a letter of apology to our organisation. I told her that was not necessary. I told her to go home to her family.

                If I come across as pissed then I make no apologies. This has been very real for me.

                • DB Brown

                  Dang, yeah I totally get why you're pissed off now. The problem with civil servants that I've found, is they get very comfortable and almost impossible to shift. Then they become shiftless.

                  So, my second apology for the day – I'm sorry. Also sorry you and your contact got put through that.

                  I understand there's much room for improvement, I just get pissed at right wing reporters opportunism using such an awful situation to knock anything that moves.

        • Matiri 10.1.4.2

          I think every opinion piece published by the main news organisations should come with a counterpoint argument from an actual expert in the field they’re writing about.

          • Incognito 10.1.4.2.1

            Do you want to attribute that quote?

            • Gypsy 10.1.4.2.1.1

              "You obviously have never heard of operational independence and autonomy and/or you have no idea what it means. "

              Operational independence and autonomy comes with strings attached via governance. From the outset I used the expression 'government agency', which I would think clearly included DHB's. Anyway, thanks for allowing the convo to roll. I'm happy I've had my say.

          • KJT 10.1.4.2.2

            ,"Journalists" should have to cite sources, unless the welfare of the source is involved.

            In New Zealand that would be strenuously resisted.

            As 90% of stories would have as the source. Cut and pasted from National party press office.

      • mickysavage 10.1.5

        The main spin people are hearing is straight from the Covid-19 podium briefings.

        Can you detail these for our information?

  11. Pete 11

    Kate Hawkesby reckons she'd forgotten what it was like to be spoken to like a 3-year-old.

    Any listening to her blatherings will show she hasn't forgotten how to think like one.

  12. alwyn 12

    I have been reading Chris Hipkins reported in today's Herald. He appears to be coming around to accepting that the story we have been told for the last 18 months or so is a fairytale and that "elimination" is simply not possible.

    "Elimination is still the game plan at the moment, but the Delta variant asks some "big questions about the long-term future of our plans", Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says."

    "At some point we will have to start to be more open in the future.".

    Has the PM signed on to this and does she also accept that her dreams of keeping us free of the virus are simply not going to happen?

    Get on with the fixing the shamefully slow vaccination plan and then, when everyone who wants to be vaccinated has received it, and we have pulled our fingers out and ordered the booster doses that appear to be required, we will have to accept that the virus is endemic and we cannot hide away as North Korea does.

    Sorry folks but that is the way it is. At least it may be that keeping vaccinations up to date may keep the effects down to those of a bad flu year.

  13. David 13

    Is anyone still listening to that crap? We are out walking at 1pm. Just tune in to any website to get the case numbers, 17 minutes of waffle avoided.

    • Patricia Bremner 13.1

      David you will get the walk to yourself lol. We won't miss your bulldust.

    • Pete 13.2

      Some of those who check in every day are only doing it so they can have something to bitch about. Ardern should come on, give a three sentence summary and bugger off – no questions answered, say the guts and get out.

      Then the whingers who say they want the raw details can go spare about not being talked to for longer.

  14. Ed1 14

    I do think there should be a better setup for the questions from media following the statements. It should be possible to have six microphones behind which people could queue, with a camera able to show the questioner – at present we cannot hear the questions which makes the answers less useful than they could be. I agree that the statements are excellent.

  15. Dean Reynolds 15

    If Collins & Seymour had been the government last year, thousands of us would have died like flies by now – as in Boris's UK, Trump's USA & Bolsenaro's Brazil.

  16. Stuart Munro 16

    I tried, I really did, but I wanted to stick needles in my eyes by about 4 minutes in.

    While I have always preferred feeding sociopaths to tigers, I guess that will suffice:

    Do it Kate, for the hectic in your blood that rages, and acupuncture might cure you.

  17. coreyjhumm 17

    To be honest I'd like the governor general to them. She's the head of states rep and she's not a politician so it's in no way politicized

    having the prime minister show up for the first five minutes means it is politicized and covid should be beyond politics anyone whose not a fan of the pm will ignore the advice based on their politics.

    We're getting more and more americanized and it's ugly.

    And quite frankly…. I could do with a break from seeing the PM everywhere. It makes me dislike her.

    Last week I was so bombarded with the pm everywhere I went online that I was on the verge of contacting netsafe for being stalked 🤣🤣

    I saw her advertising, updates interviews on Facebook snap chat twitter, Instagram, everytime you check the news it's Jacinda Jacinda Jacinda Jacinda hell I even saw Jacinda updates on bloody Grindr!

    It's too much!

    Just a few days of the health minister or deputy pm or the GG would be appreciated I'm on Jacinda overload and I'm burnt out.

    What is the governor general doing anyway there's no visiting dignitaries or titles or ceremonies she's probably sitting around govt house begging for something to do.

    But seriously…. A Lot of people who like labour are sick of seeing Jacindas face everywhere.

    Just a couple days of someone else doing the breifings pleaaaaaaaaseee I find my self just switching over logging out or rolling my eyes and saying "yeah yeah yeah b.s. " everytime I see her atm she's labours best weapon do not make people get sick of her.

  18. coreyjhumm 18

    And yes I know my whinge was immature but what's more immature is attacking journalists and the media for doing their job and calling them bias as commentators so often do on these blogs journalists are by and large of the left. We only have a few conservative media figures in NZ, albeit the outlets themselves can be very neoliberal and five years ago you could say that journalism was dying in nz but our journos do good work with little funds and extremely understaffed newsrooms.

    Nz media is doing incredible stuff on race, state abuse state care, mental health etc

    Vance, Tova, McKay, Campbell ,Forbes get called biased in favor of National by the left and biased in favor of Labour by the right.

    It's just that they are doing their jobs and they can't ask every question all the time because they only get a limited number of questions, there's not a hell of a lot of staff and funding and the newsroom pressure is insane.

    I wish commentators (not the OP) here would stop attacking the media for doing their job just because they didn't like the way they did it. Go watch American or Australian news if you wanna see political bias.

    Again most journalists are personally extremely liberal but that doesn't mean they aren't going to rip liberals a new one , in fact they often go harder on their own side because they expect more.

    The only truly conservative voices in nz are about a dozen give or take broadcasters and commentators and they arent journalists. I think a lot of people get commentators mixed up with journos

    And again… If you're a journo and a liberal the labour govt is quite frustrating because it is often talk and spin on housing welfare and mental health and that is frustrating and often when they do a negative story on an mp they'll get attacked in some cases especially with female journos they get death threats from commentators on both sides.

    Distrust in the media is deadly in a pandemic please don't exasperate it by accusing journos of bias.

    And yeah per my previous comment, I'm aware a govt offical needs to be there but Jacinda fatigue is a real thing… I like her but atm it feels almost like harrasment. I worry about the future of the party if on every issue it's all Jacinda all the time whose going to have exposure and media and govt experience for the 7th labour govt.

    All in all. I'm looking forward to the end of lockdown so I can avoid the pm for a few days and get back to liking her

  19. Drowsy M. Kram 19

    A Lot of people who like labour are sick of seeing Jacindas face everywhere.

    Ardern seems calm and that's reassuring – in control and doing her job as a leader, imho. What might each of us make of it, I wonder, if she didn't front for a few days?

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