helping run reporting David Seymour’s politicised fearmongering lines over COVID-19 (the new coronavirus).
This is pretty desperate.— Neale Jones (@nealejones) February 26, 2020
1. We currently have no cases of coronavirus in New Zealand.
2. Cabinet considered it as recently as Monday and relevant ministers are working around the clock on it.
3. In the year 2020 the PM is capable of making phone calls and receiving emails. https://t.co/vBWsW6MAYf
I’d go further and say not only is it desperate but it’s also reckless. Politicising a potential pandemic creates a contentious political and social atmosphere that we really don’t want if we end up in an emergency that requires actions like quarantining large numbers of people.
Leaving aside the blatant feeding of the right wing ‘absent PM’ meme, and reading between the lines in the article, I have to wonder now if Seymour’s press work is based not only in political opportunism but in panic.
It comes as world stock markets tumbled amid investor concerns over the spreading virus, which has so far killed more than 2600 people worldwide and infected more than 80,000.
Jacinda Ardern is currently in Fiji where she met with her counterpart Frank Bainimarama to discuss matters including climate change, thwarting Pacific drug trade routes, and business cooperation.
Seymour said Fiji is a “nice place” but its economy is “20 times smaller than New Zealand’s” making it “not an important trade partner and certainly not a place for the Prime Minister to spend three days as a crisis emerges”.
He said the PM has “prioritised a trip to Fiji over dealing with coronavirus” when the New Zealand economy is “at a tipping point”, which he said is when Ardern “should be here dealing with the potential fallout”.
Looks like ACT and National have been sharing talking points. Simon Bridges tweeted this this morning,
With coronavirus, drought & slowing growth, NZ needs a comprehensive economic plan not tinkering from Ardern & Robertson. National’s 5 point plan on tax, regulation, infrastructure, small business & families will ensure we have a stronger economy with more money in your pocket.
If it’s not climate change or rising fascism that has NACT showing the whites of their eyes, or even lots of people dying from an emerging viral epidemic, maybe it’s the existential fear born of the understanding that ultimately money will not save us.
Or maybe it’s just the position of people who really do believe that money is god. Seymour’s not so stupid as to not understand New Zealand’s moral obligation to our South Pacific neighbours over infectious diseases, particularly after the measles deaths in Samoa. To dismiss Fiji in this way because they don’t make enough money speaks to a deep social blindness. If anything is going to help us during a global pandemic, having good relationships with our neighbours would be high on my list.
Update: Russell Brown on twitter,
It further appears that nether he or any of his staff have bothered to check her diary. She’s already leaving Fiji tomorrow – to go and talk to ScoMo about coronavirus. These people are such fools.