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The importance of political leadership in dealing with Covid

Written By: - Date published: 8:55 am, August 18th, 2021 - 66 comments
Categories: covid-19, jacinda ardern, national, same old national - Tags:

Yesterday the news that none of wanted to hear was broadcast.  A community case of the delta variant was discovered.  The poor person involved, a Devonport man in his 50s had done everything right.  He was described as a compulsive scanner and had gone for the test when he was unwell.  His responsible actions have meant that the contract tracing has quickly provided places of interest.

This morning four further cases were announced.  It is early days and I don’t know if the evidence backs the assertion but the source case may have been a nurse working at Auckland Hospital.  The nurse had been fully vaccinated.  This just goes to show how tricky the virus is.

The Government responded swiftly and shut the country down.  Auckland and Coromandel, where the Devonport man had visited,  are locked down for 7 days.  The rest of the country is locked down for three days.

The response is in stark contrast to New South Wales where Premier Gladys Berejiklian has overseen a dumpster fire of a response.  A delay in acting and lax lock down requirements have resulted in the number of new cases spiking to over 400 a day.  And Berejiklian is now talking about living with the virus which is an interesting choice of words given that the virus has killed so many people.

It gives me hope that this outbreak can be managed.  Time will tell.

Political leadership is important and leadership failures are easily shown up.  Like Thames-Coromandel District Mayor and former National MP Sandra Goudie who publicly admitted that she does not scan where she goes.

From Radio New Zealand:

A Thames-Coromandel civic leader says news of a Covid-19 community case and snap lockdown are shocking, but will probably not make her scan the tracing Covid-19 QR codes more often.

Thames-Coromandel District Mayor Sandra Goudie told Checkpoint she would not normally scan in when visiting locations.

She added the Covid-19 community case  will “probably not” push her to scan more either. “It’s very hit and miss for me,” she said.

“I’m quite a believer in my credit card tracking everywhere I’ve been.

“It’s not a habit I’ve got into.”

Not scanning to own the libs.  How National.

I can’t say that I am surprised.  There is another issue where the scientific advice is extraordinarily strong but which she does not accept.  Dear Reader Sandra is a climate change denier and has refused to support a LGNZ proposed declaration that we are facing a crisis because the movement was politically charged and driven.

From Kate Gudsell at Radio New Zealand:

A push to get local authorities to sign up to a declaration on climate change is “politically charged and driven”, the Thames-Coromandel mayor says.

Fifty-five councils have signed up to the Local Government Leaders’ Climate Change Declaration. It states there is an urgent need to address the threats of climate change.

It states councils will commit to plans to reduce greenhouse gases, promote walking, public transport, increase resource efficiency, and commit to renewable energy and electric vehicles.

Yesterday members of the public presented to the Thames Coromandel District Council meeting, urging it to sign up to the declaration. It will be voted on by councillors at a later meeting.

However, mayor Sandra Goudie said she did not support it and most other councillors were cautious.

It would be irresponsible for the declaration to be signed because the council did not know what it would be committing ratepayers to, she said.

“It’s got statements which bind you to outcomes that you’ve got no idea of, so I wouldn’t sign a contract without knowing specifications.”

She was also asked if she believed that climate change was happening.

Mrs Goudie refused to confirm whether she believed climate change was happening, saying she did not have an obligation to tell ratepayers what her opinion was.

Mrs Goudie said she was not obliged to reveal her stance on climate change because “I think it’s incredibly highly politically charged and driven and I don’t think that makes for a good basis for sound judgment”.

Goudie claims that her Council is being proactive in terms of coastal protection and resilience.  This is the Council that granted consent to a retirement village and then put a coastal hazard inundation notation on the title warning that the village was in a potential coastal flood zone.

It is important at these times that our central and local government leaders provide responsible leadership and role models. Goudie is not doing this.

66 comments on “The importance of political leadership in dealing with Covid ”

  1. kejo 1

    Perhaps she should go and live in Miami and help push their disasters along!

    • Jenny how to get there 1.1

      Mayor Goudie's stance in not declaring herself over climate change, would not be out of place in Miami. (a place famously vulnerable to it). Like this guy below who wouldn't say whether he was vaccinated or not.

      This is not leadership;

      More governors publicly vaccinated, but Florida's kept mum

      ….A spokesperson for the Republican governor initially declined to provide details, including when exactly the Republican governor received the dose….

      Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has received a single-dose coronavirus vaccine, his office confirmed Wednesday. He did so out of the public eye even as governors elsewhere across the political spectrum have been vaccinated publicly to reassure Americans that the shots are safe….

      DeSantis had recently said he would be vaccinated soon — but no announcement was made by his office when he received it and no journalists were on hand. Even some of his top lieutenants said they were unaware the governor had been vaccinated….

      Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government's top infectious disease expert, has urged other public officials — particularly former President Donald Trump — to use their influence to get people vaccinated.

      Trump has in fact urged people to get vaccinated, but he hasn’t been among other public officials — including former presidents — to get vaccinated on camera. He was vaccinated in private before leaving the White House for Florida in January.


      Many Republican politicians in the US, like Florida's Republican Govenor, are getting vaccinated away from the public eye, in fear of alienating right-wing anti vax. voters.

      (CNN) Nearly half of House Republicans still won't say publicly​ whether they are vaccinated against Covid-19, even as new cases rise nationwide.

      Some of the 97 Republicans who aren't sharing their vaccination status told CNN they don't have a responsibility to model behavior to their constituents…..

      …..Over the past few months, CNN has sent multiple inquiries to members of Congress and reviewed public statements but is unable to confirm the vaccination status of almost half the Republican conference.


      I wonder what Mayor Goudie would answer, if she were asked, if she had been vaccinated?

      Or for that matter Judith Collins?

      As a responsible person in a leadership position the Prime Minister chose to get publicly vaccinated to reassure the public as an act of public duty.

      But what about Judith Collins, 62 years old and eligible to receive the vaccine?

      Judith Collins is in a responible leadership position, and she aspiries to be the leader of the country.

      Has she been vaccinated?

      Who would know?

      Can anyone tell me?

      Who would even know if leader of the opposition has been vaccinated, or not?

      What sort of message does this convey to her constituents and National Party supporters?

      This is not leadership.

      • alwyn 1.1.1

        She announced that she had received the first dose on July 24th.

        • Incognito

          She’d received the second shot by now then, I’d think.

        • Red Blooded One

          That announcement is only to Twits who follow her on Twitter, not a leadership announcement to the general public. Leadership Lite at best, no wonder David Seymour is the countries preferred leader of the opposition.

          • Rapunzel

            But ACT resembles in many ways nothing more useful than a set of matryoshka dolls – the sooner the distractions from that are gone the sooner NZ will see that

      • Gypsy 1.1.2

        "As a responsible person in a leadership position", do you think it would be a good idea for the Director General of Health was vaccinated? In fact do you know whether every Member of Parliament has been vaccinated? Every Councillor? Every local board member? Look I'm pro-vaccination, but if we're going to start shaming anyone in a public position who hasn't been vaccinated ‘on camera’ then IMHO we’ve lost the plot.

        • Incognito

          I agree, well said.

        • Jenny how to get there


          18 August 2021 at 12:36 pm

          ……do you think it would be a good idea for the Director General of Health was vaccinated?

          Of course I do, don't you?

          Has the Director General of Health got any underlying health problems that prevent him from being vaccinated?

          If he hasn't, then he must.

          The Director General of Health would be the biggest hypocrite in the history of this country if he wasn't prepared to be vaccinated.

          If Ashley Blomfield was a private citizen, and not the Director General of Health tasked with heading up our covid response and with the ability to influence millions, I might have a different opinion.

          Sometimes, I think some people don't actually grasp the concept or power of leadership by example.

          The same goes for every Member of Parliament, Every Councillor, Every local board member. It would be a shining example to the world if the leader of the opposition and the Prime Minister could get up before the nation and the world and say that every Member of the New Zealand Parliament, who could be vaccinated, was vaccinated.
          The same for every Mayor and Community Board Chair. The more the better.

          In my opinion; public figures, with a claim to leadership, occupyting positions of authority, especially elected positions of authority, and public servants, (like Blomfield), entrusted by us with the responsibility to look after our collective interests, are duty bound to step up and exercise that leadership during a time of national crisis.

          Otherwise what use are they?

          They're either community leaders, or they're not.

          If they can't lead, then they need to get out of the way.

          Come senators, congressmen
          Please heed the call
          Don't stand in the doorway
          Don't block up the hall
          For he that gets lost
          Will be he who has stalled…..

          • Gypsy

            The entire thrust of your comment was based on:

            1. An incorrect assumption Collins hadn't gone public about being vaccinated – an assumption you could have checked with a simple google search.
            2. The idea that every public figure should be getting vaccinated 'on camera'.

            Bullshit. Leading is getting vaccinated and encouraging others to do the same, not using a pandemic as a photo op.

            • Jenny how to get there

              Hi Gypsy, I did not know that Judith Collins had been vaccinated. But I sure as hell knew that the Prime Minister had. Even without a google search.

              I didn't say Judith Collins had not been vaccinated, I asked whether anyone knew if she had been vaccinated.

              I also did not say, "…that every public figure should be getting vaccinated 'on camera".

              I said that they should all get vaccinated*, so that their leaders, (and or representatives), can announce that to the world.
              If they also chose to go on camera getting their vaccination, that is up to them. It might help, but it is probably not necessary. The fact of them all being vaccinated, (or as many as possible), in my view, would be enough of a statement of leadership to the world.

              It is notable, that the Prime Minister chose to get her injection in the full glare of the camera lights. No one forced her to, she did it out of her duty to the country.

              You might cynically call that "…using a pandemic as a photo op."

              I would call it demonstrating leadership.

              A friend of mine confided in me that she was vaccine hesitant, but seeing the Prime Minister get her innoculation on TV had reassured her.

              I watched that clip. To me, the Prime Minister's body language seemed to indicate, that she was uncomfortable getting her injection before the cameras. But that she was doing it as her civic duty as the nation's leader, to reassure people that the vaccine was safe, and that the procedure was only mildly invasive.

              *(As we all should).

              • Gypsy

                "I did not know that Judith Collins had been vaccinated. But I sure as hell knew that the Prime Minister had. "

                That most likely reflects your political inclination. Otherwise you would have known both had been vaccinated.

                "I also did not say, "…that every public figure should be getting vaccinated 'on camera"."

                Your entire post was about people getting "publicly vaccinated". You even posted some unsubstantiated claim about US politicians fearing a back-lash from anti-vaccers.

                I'm not interested in seeing all and sundry politicians having needles stuck in their arms on television. And I'm certainly going to push back against criticism of people who choose to have their vaccination in a more private setting.

                • Jenny how to get there


                  19 August 2021

                  You even posted some unsubstantiated claim about US politicians fearing a back-lash from anti-vaccers.

                  Maybe, but it is the view of many.

                  How else would you explain the number of US Republican politicians who have embraced the anti-vaccers?

                  ….For the radicalized Republican base, opposition to vaccination has become so integral to their partisan identity that it is no longer separable from support for Trump or opposition to supposed government overreach,…

                  ….. The average Republican governor hoping to move up the ladder in a presidential primary has no choice but to tack hard right—and then embrace a virtual worship of death.


          • Andre

            As it turns out, Director-General of Health Dr. Ashley Bloomfield has been modelling the behaviour of patiently waiting until his place came around in the orderly roll-out of the vaccine. Instead of pulling rank to get a special privilege.


            • Jenny how to get there

              I never said that the Director of Health should pull rank to get his vaccine early.
              I wrote;

              "The Director General of Health would be the biggest hypocrite in the history of this country if he wasn't prepared to be vaccinated."

              Maybe I wasn't clear enough, and should have added, "…when he is offered it."
              I had mistakenly thought I was clear enough. On the other hand, there will always be room for people to make their own interpreteation to what I write, no matter what extra pains I go to.

              I might add here, that I remember the Prime Minister making a similar statement that she wouldn't jump the queue but would get her vaccination when the time came.

              As it turned out, she took it before then, as a neccessary act as leader of the nation.

              This post is about leadership.

              If we are to get the highest possible take up of the vaccine we will need to show leadership at all levels of government and public service as well as at the personal level, in our interactions with friends and family.

              We may find it uncomfortable in some cases to have these conversations, but it is all our dut to do so. People in official positions even more so.

              • Jenny how to get there

                P.S. Seeing all these misinterpretations and misunderstandings on what I write, Makes me ponder on the limitations of the writtten word as a form of communication.

                Human communication and interaction, often relies on gestures, body language, facial expression, tone of voice, inflection, all these things and more, to help us convey our message. All of which are missing from a typeface. Which often leads to misunderstanding.

                Which is probably why the Prime Minister felt the need to phyically be seen by the nation getting her vaccination. “See”, she said, without words, “how easy it is.”

                Understanding human communication and messaging as well as she does, is why she is leader.

                Thank goodness she is. I can’t now imagine anyone else doing this job as well as the Prime has done in response to this crisis.

                May she remain in this role for many more terms.

        • Ngungukai

          Probably does not meet the age criteria yet, only 55 years of age and older being vaccinated at present.

  2. fender 2

    There will certainly be political fallout if this outbreak originated from the patient from Fiji!

  3. Treetop 3

    I have never liked anyone harming me deliberately, as this is against my human rights. The definition of harm is what some people do not get and need to understand.

  4. peter 4

    Trump's vanity had him not wearing a mask. The symbolism of him not modelling the wearing, his eschewing the wearing of masks undoubtedly added to the spread of covid and attitudes to it.

    Impossible to measure the numbers of course but today there is massive conflict around wearing masks in the US. The importance of political leadership.

    Goudie and scanning? It makes me miss my mum. If she were still here she would simply say, "Silly bitch."

    • dv 4.1

      Trump had 300k infections per day at peak!!

      Goudie is saying she doesn't need/want to be notified if she is at a place/shop/meeting where there was an infected person.

      AND anyway will visa release that tracking info in a reasonable time?

      • Graeme 4.1.1

        If Sandra is just relying on her credit card to contact trace I hope she’s buying something in every business she enters. In our business credit / eftpos transactions would give us less information than scanning, and that’s abysmal.

      • Treetop 4.1.2

        Is visa obligated to release the info for contact tracing?


        Can visa charge for the service to look up where and when transactions were made?

        The information would need to be requested, if you cannot recall being at a place of interest then you would be none the wiser.

        • Treetop

          Do people just get a visa/credit card statement once a month?

          If you do Internet banking is the info able to be looked up everyday?

          • Incognito

            Yes and Yes, but if you opt out of monthly statements by land mail, you get them electronically.

            Internet banking allows doing checks as often as you like. Obviously, it won’t show you how long you spent at a location, only that you made a transaction with a date & time stamp, if you did at all.

            Edit: I can’t remember if the time stamp actually appears online or only on the receipt.

            • Treetop

              Thanks for that.

            • alwyn

              By coincidence I noticed this comment just after I signed off Internet Banking.

              I can only speak for ANZ accounts but for credit card transactions you only get the date, not the date and time.

            • joe90

              No transaction time on my BNZ statement.

              • Incognito

                Actually, it is in the transaction details online [somebody just checked the BNZ account]. So, yes, it does work as a surrogate tracer.

                • dv

                  BUT someone then would beed to collate all the data from several sources to discover who and when. Not imposible.

                  Apparently I saw somewhere that Goudie has repented.

                • alwyn

                  Were they looking at a BNZ account or were they looking at a person's Credit Card account? The time is present in the transaction details of bank accounts but not in the credit card transactions which is what Treetop was asking about and what Goudy was apparently relying on, and which was the account type that I was talking about.

                  • Incognito

                    Yes, credit card transactions. I can see the exact time I paid for coffee on Monday afternoon smiley

                    • alwyn

                      Your Bank is more informative than mine then. ANZ give the details on their account transactions but not on the credit cards ones.

                      Probably a good idea of course. Our credit card accounts are joint ones so my wife could see that I was in a cafe when I said I had been working.

                      Oh well, I'm glad I qualified my original comment when I said "I can only speak for ANZ accounts …. "

      • Gabby 4.1.3

        She might just be a bit thick and this aspect hadn't occurred to her.

        • Ngungukai

          NZ Police can access anyone's Bank Accounts at any time just ask Martyn Bradbury. So should not be a problem for Contact Tracers.

  5. Incognito 5

    8 October 2022, i.e., just over a year to go …

    • Macro 5.1

      Oh I wouldn't rely on the voters here doing the left thing. Very conservative and right minded and one of the highest 65+ populations in the country. They like Sandra – she is very good at getting out her voters.

      Retired dairy farmers make up a large proportion of the population at the above mentioned retirement village.

      • Incognito 5.1.1

        The voters could vote in a better conservative and right-minded Leader. Hope springs eternal, but I do take your point that I might be dreaming.

      • Gabby 5.1.2

        They might change their tune if a few of them catch the virus.

        • Ngungukai

          25% death's in the Rest Homes in the Coromandel might buck up her ideas, S$%D OLD CW ?

  6. Gypsy 6

    Use of the Covid QR App has been described as 'abysmal' across the whole country, and appears to have been dropping.

  7. Enough is Enough 7

    And Berejiklian is now talking about living with the virus which is an interesting choice of words given that the virus has killed so many people.

    Unless you somehow think global eradication of the virus is possible, then Berejiklian's choice of words are a statement of fact, rather than been an "interesting choice of words." Hers words replicate the WHO.

    The snap move to Level 4 is clearly the correct thing to do given our incredibly low vaccination rates. That move has I think been universally supported.

    However this virus is not going to simply fade away. It is here to stay. So once we have all had the opportunity to get the vaccine, we, like every other country on earth, are going to have to learn how we live with the virus.

    "We have all got to learn to live with this virus, to do our business with this virus in our presence, to have social relations with this virus in our presence and not to be continuously having to be in lockdown because of the widespread infections that can occur,"

  8. Robert Guyton 8

    Silly Sandra! Running around out there, un-masked, un-vaccinated, un-conscious…

  9. Stephen D 9

    One of Goodfellow's appointees?

  10. Andre 10

    On the topic of political leadership in dealing with covid, seems to me the Greens are pretty much AWOL.

    Sure, there have been a very few pieces featuring Davidson, Ghahraman, and Kerekere getting their jabs. But the pieces about Ghahraman and Kerekere were heavy on their conditions making them personally vulnerable to covid, and almost came across as apologetic about breaking the faith, and had very little about the public health reasons for everyone to get vaccinated.

    • Andre 10.1

      The contrast with Debbie Ngarewa-Packer is quite striking. She's very visibly fighting hard for improved access and distribution to get more vaccination happening among the people she represents.

  11. Jenny how to get there 11

    The importance of leadership is often shown in its absence.

    “Our allies have let us down. Many countries that could have eliminated Covid-19 either never tried, or threw in the towel,” Sir David Skegg

    How viable is New Zealand’s coronavirus elimination plan in the time of Delta

    • Jenny how to get there 11.1

      The above, Sir David Skegg quote, and New Zealand's singular fight for covid elimination, reminds me of Sir Winston Churchill's speech on Britain's singular, (at the time), fight against German fascism.

      Churchill's speech was delivered at a time when France and almost all European nations had either surrendered, or been overwhelmed by the forces of German fascism. And at a time, when Franklin D. Roosevelt had officially declared America's formal neutrality in the conflict.

      Churchill wrote;

      I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do.

      Winston Spencer Churchill, June 4, 1940


      For all students of leadership, as odios and right wing as he is, Winston Churchill provided a masterclass example of leadership when the world needed it most.

      They are completely diametrically opposite in their political views, but Churchill's unique vision of fighting alone against insuperable odds, reminds me or our current Prime Minister.

      That his allies had let him down, Just as Sir David Skeggs writes, “Our allies have let us down”. Did not dismay Churchill, or dissaude him from his decided course of action. Just as it should not dismay or dissuade us from our committed course of elimination of the covid-19 virus, even its more evolved and virulent Delta variant.

  12. Adrian 12

    We have so much to thank Australia for in the last 2years, particularly those yobbo retards in NSW…. mosque shooters, 501s, fucking Covid, the list goes on.

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