Collins takes aim at Hipkins, Bloomfield

Judith Collins.
National leader Judith Collins. File photo
Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins should resign over the sluggish vaccine rollout - but he can't because Labour cannot find a good enough minister to replace him, National leader Judith Collins says.

And Collins is none too pleased with Director-general of Health Ashley Bloomfield either, saying his "best" was "not good enough".

Asked if Hipkins should resign if a more capable minister were waiting in the wings, Collins said "exactly".

"At the moment, the problem is who would Jacinda Ardern replace him with - is there somebody else who's capable?" Collins said.

Collins said no one in Cabinet could fill Hipkins' shoes.

"I once thought a lot of Kris Faafoi, but look how hopeless he's been," she said.

"Stuart Nash has been stupid," Collins said, accusing the economic development minister of promulgating an "anti-vaxxer-type message" about vaccinations.

Nash, who has himself been vaccinated, has said the country would still lock down even if vaccination rates were at 80 percent. He has not previously been accused of promulgating anti-vaccination messages.

"I can't see that there is someone more competent in all the people they've got - maybe Ayesha Verrall, maybe she could be, but it's not my job. I'm not the Prime Minister, it's not my job to pick her Cabinet," Collins said.

Collins said Hipkins might have "too much on his plate".

Hipkins is Minister of Education, State Services, and the Leader of the House, as well as Covid-19 Response Minister. Collins suggested Hipkins could drop the education portfolio to focus on Covid-19.

Collins was also unhappy with the Ministry of Health, and Bloomfield, its leader.

"We try not to personally go after the director general," Collins said.

Covid-19 Recovery Minister Chris Hipkins (left) and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley...
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins (left) and Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. Photo: Getty Images
"I think that Dr Bloomfield has done his best, but his best is not good enough," Collins said.

"He has an entire team of thousands, who are paid to do things; he's got a minister and he's got the Prime Minister with him and supporting him in everything he does - and he can't order the vaccine on time and get it into people's arms," Collins said.

"The Prime Minister may have confidence in him and so might the minister but I have to say we are starting to feel the gold gilt is starting to wear off," she said.

Collins was also scathing of the Ministry of Health.

"When you look at the Ministry of Health and the way in which they have completely cocked up this whole thing [the vaccine rollout], you have to wonder as to who's in charge," Collins said

"Now, standing up telling everybody 'look, be kind and be caring' and whatever - ultimately, you're dealing with a Ministry of Health and Government that failed to order the vaccine, failed to get the first order in until the 29th of January, failed to get it approved, failed to get all sorts of things done, and then failed to use GPs and pharmacists, who are the people in their communities that we trust," Collins said.

Collins would not say if she had confidence in Bloomfield.

"It's not for me to have confidence in him," Collins said, saying that it was for Ardern and Hipkins to decide.

Collins this week called for the Government to adopt a vaccination target to boost the level of vaccination in the country and reduce reliance on lockdowns.

The Government has been reluctant to set targets for vaccination or to give much clarity on when the country can move away from using lockdowns to combat outbreaks of Covid-19, particularly the more contagious Delta variant.

Collins said that she did not want to talk about an "acceptable" level of Covid-19 fatalities that she would tolerate after the country had been vaccinated, saying she did not like that terminology.

"Who wants to put their hand up to be one of those people? I don't want to do that and I don't think anyone does. So I don't like that whole terminology," Collins said.

"I am aware - as will be the Government - that every winter, barring lockdowns, we end up with 500 people dying from the winter flu.

"What we know is that that is what tends to happen when we have people who are unvaccinated and the virus comes through," Collins said.

She said this is what the future "might" look like, with Covid-19.

"It will be significantly worse if we don't get everybody vaccinated and we don't keep up those vaccinations," Collins said.

Comments

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It's these completely irrational outbursts which only further push Ms Collins and her Party into irrelevancy.
Sad to watch a political party die in this fashion, but life goes on I guess.

I would be the last to praise ANY politician let Collins BUT she is only saying what most of us ( that aren't radical left ) are thinking.

Agreed.

Spot on!

Hardly irrational. Her observations are spot on to any observant person. The MoH have failed us big time and we have had no forward planning from Hipkis and co.

Really ? Taking pot shots at people who are trying to save our lives and keep us all safe is the lowest of the low. No one knows all the answers but at least they are trying to keep us all safe. Just shows how shallow and irrelevant National has become.

Exactly

I think Judith could do with a nice cup of tea and a bath oliver biscuit.

She really can't see it can she. Her style is alienating more and more voters every time she opens her mouth.
Her wild assertion that Dr Blomfield "failed to get all sorts of things done" is bizarre, empty and totally meaningless and further demonstrates her lack of grip on the topic she is discussing. I agree that she is quite right to question some of the specific things she has labelled failures and she should be demanding answers. But simply calling them failures when she has no way of knowing if better results might have been achieved is stupid, alienating politics without purpose. Which is what we've come to expect from her anyway.
One thing I do agree with her on is that Labour is bereft of talent in its ministerial pool. They need to be a little more careful in who they select as candidates and work on building their capacity. Mind you, exactly the same is true of crusher Collins. If she were made Prime Minister tomorrow she'd be hard pushed to find any talent to join her around the cabinet table.

Oh dear. Defending the indefensible again. By any standard the MoH have made multiple bad choices. The government have proved to be one trick ponies. Vaccines should have been ordered months earlier. We should be well on the way to getting booster dosed (the UK has just ordered 35million), how many have we ordered? Half a dozen? We are still using old technology for testing at great expense and inconvenience. The MoH needs a complete restructure as does the cabinet.

If you had read my comment you would have seen that I'm not defending anyone.
I'm actually endorsing crusher collins for raising the points dhe has. I merely think the way she has gone about it does not help her or the country.
The issue is: could the Govt, MoH et al have done better? Are the results theye achieved the best that anyone could have achieved in the circumstances. Simply labelling them failures without knowing these things is pointless. The people are not dumb, they know this and they see quite plainly that crusher is not up to speed and incompetent.

National have the same problem. If there was someone better Judith would not be their leader.

Trying to keep people safe is not doing it. If you fail, you have to be replaced. Soon the government will see that we should treat this problem as we do the annual/seasonal 'flu and roll up our sleeves and take the jab every Autumn if we want to. Obviously Collins knows a lot more about dealing with this issue than some of the responders to this article.

Funny how so many people are still living with wool over their eyes. While Judith doesn't have alot of persona it doesn't make what she says not with some basis. I wonder if David Seymour made these comments people would start to wake up....

I understand your point and don't disagree with it. But...
What I think is that crusher collins has bluntly claimed several occurrences, or lack of occurrences, are failures. She cannot know that. The results she is complaining about may well be the best result the country could have achieved. At this stage no-one knows. She should have framed her comments as questions, endeavored to identify if the results were the best we could have achieved, if there was incompetence. That's what David Seymour would have done and that's the difference between them. That's why Seymour is soaring in popularity and why crusher is failing miserably. He's a competent politician, she's not.

Another example where Collins just can't seem to read the room. Where most people are happy with the governments response and can see that, compared to other countries, we're doing pretty well.

I'm sure that, in time, we might be able to treat covid as we treat the flu. But we're not there yet. Currently one person brought delta into the community and withing a few weeks we've got serious cases in hospital.

I am not taking side, but I do think the vaccine should speed up.

I went to the vaccine centre at Meridian weeks ago. The whole process was about 30 minutes, very smooth, and hassle-free, but 9 people helped me go through the vaccine. I do think this is a wee bit waste of resources.

When I took my parents have vaccine injection in Sydney, GP booked vaccine for them, we reported to the counter upon arrived, a Dr called them to the consulting room for checking personal details, the Dr made 5 people as a group, took them into a room where a nurse gave 5 does to the Dr, the 5 people received the injection in turn, then the Dr told them they can leave if they did not feel unwell after 20 minutes, then he starts to call another 5 people. “1” receptionist, “1” nurse “1” Dr less than 20 minutes they handled 5 vaccine injections, definitely the OZ more efficient than our Kiwi.

It's pretty funny when we all know that if national had been in power when the pandemic kicked off, we would not be in the enviable position we are today. Maybe time to stop being 100% contrarian and acknowledge the large amount of good that has been achieved.

Unlike most of us, Ms Collins has never made a mistake? Literally millions of vaccinations have been done and there is bound to be a human error sooner or later. Ms Collins would do well to contemplate how her colleague Simon Bridges travelled back and forth to Wellington last lockdown, potentially exposing others, had he been infected and Woodhouse's silence about the two women travellers who broke the no travelling ban until he could drop it as a score in parliament. Oh, he said when challenged, "That is politics". Less politics and more co-operation are needed in this emergency and Ms Collins would do well to keep that in mind..

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