- Date published:
8:32 am, August 13th, 2020 - 112 comments
Categories: covid-19, Gerry Brownlee, jacinda ardern, Judith Collins, national, same old national - Tags: ashley bloomfield, covid-19, michael woodhouse
Yesterday was a remarkable day.
Deputy Leader of the National Party Gerry Brownlee posed a series of questions suggesting a wide based and interesting conspiracy theory involving the Government and the Ministry of Health and all of the Health Boards suppressing news of community spread of Covid 19 for political advantage.
He talked about the messaging the Government has engaged in warning about a possible second outbreak, the emphasis on mask wearing by Dr Bloomfield, the visit by the Prime Minister to a mask factory two days ago, and Bloomfield having a test himself. Brownlee was then asked what he was saying. His response was that he was just “outlining facts”.
This is a conspiracy theory that bizarre that Donald Trump would have trouble following it.
Many on twitter disapproved of his behaviour. Like David Farrier.
Neale Jones had this explanation.
Jacinda’s response was typical Jacinda, she said the suggestion was nonsense. From Justin Giovannetti at the Spinoff:
“The idea we would do that is nonsense,” she said this afternoon in the Beehive. “If I could ask the energy of the opposition to be channelled into anything right now it would be supporting New Zealand’s overall response to this resurgence.”
At the same time that National was accusing Ardern and the Government of engaging in the most extreme cynical and obscene abuse of power ever witnessed in the country it was also demanding to be consulted on decisions and that it should be involved in cabinet decisions before the election.
There are a few reasons why this is a crazy idea. The first is that when you are facing a global pandemic your decision making has to be fast. WHO director Michael Ryan put it in these terms:
Can you imagine what would happen to decision making if consultation, discussion, and no doubt negotiation with the opposition had to occur every time a decision was taken?
The second is that the proposition misrepresents the reality. National suggested that because the Government is in caretaker mode the requirement to consult arises. But again this is crazy. There is no convention that in the face of a pandemic the Government does nothing because it may give them a political advantage. What utter bollocks. But don’t take it from me. Dr Dean Knight thinks so as well.
Should the Government “do the right thing” and involve National in decision making? Well there are a few reasons why this is a very silly, some would say crazy, idea. Like:
Basically National has been prepared to trash the country’s response to Covid 19 for political advantage. Why would you involve them in decision making in the light of what they have done.
And they are demanding that the election is deferred. I wonder if their position would be the same if they were surging up the polls and seemingly poised to take office. Some how I think not.
Their minions are engaged in Trumpian attacks on postal voting.
If postal voting is that insecure then there must be lots of evidence over the past few decades of local government elections. Of course there is not. The claim is bollocks.
Don’t get me wrong. I am in full support of a properly functioning democracy and an effective opposition asking tough questions. But in the middle of a global pandemic facing a virus that is easily spread and which will potentially kill many and overwhelm our health system decision making has to be fast. As said by Dr Ryan speed trumps perfection. Having to engage in National’s conspiracy based rhetoric would take away important head space and time. National should be ignored.