Nats call for Ardern to stop Covid announcements

Senior Labour MP Grant Robertson has rejected National's suggestion that  Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern step back from announcements on Covid-19 alert levels so close to an election.

National Party leader Judith Collins says it should be health officials, not the Labour leader, announcing changes to alert levels.

Collins is calling the election to be postponed to November, or next year, and has said there should be more transparency from the Government.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said if Jacinda Ardern did not front up to answer questions at media conferences there would be the opposite reaction and she would be accused of hiding away.

"It comes back to the point that we are still the Government, we have an important job to do in making sure we get on top of this outbreak."

"It's [Ardern's ] job to lead the country through this. Dr Bloomfield is there as the lead health official, she's doing her job as prime minister and I feel that's what New Zealanders expect of us."

Any suggestion that the government had known there was community transmission before this week's events were "ridiculous nonsense" he told RNZ's Morning Report programme today.

Yesterday Collins stated that her health spokesperson wasn't getting all the information he needed while deputy leader Gerry Brownlee seemed to imply that the Government was hiding information.

Brownlee has questioned the timing of official messaging on masks and testing.

"What makes me really annoyed about this, it's not about us as politicians," Robertson said.

"Mr Brownlee and Judith Collins are effectively accusing Ashley Bloomfield of being involved in some kind of collusion or cover-up with the Government.

"He's an independent public servant who actually can't fight back so it's complete nonsense and also incredibly irresponsible."

"We are all here committed to keeping New Zealanders safe and well - why on earth would we do that."

Judith Collins (left) and Jacinda Ardern.  Photo: RNZ
Judith Collins (left) and Jacinda Ardern. Photo: RNZ

Collins told Morning Report that she was not suggesting that officials knew something more about the latest Covid-19 earlier and didn't tell the public.

"I have not accused Dr Bloomfield of anything, and as for Ms Ardern I'm simply pointing to the fact ... it contemplates the fact that successive governments have been very careful in the way they exercise their power [prior to] an election given the fact there is an election coming."

On Brownlee's comments yesterday, she said: "He was simply stating some of the information that's been provided to us."

She said Robertson's accusations were "outrageous", and her call for transparency was about National's health spokesperson, Dr Shane Reti, to be involved in Cabinet discussions on Covid-19 and for him to get the latest information as soon as possible.

"He has been asking for a briefing on the health situation since early yesterday morning, promised it by Minister Chris Hipkins before noon, we are still waiting for that.

"It is important in opposition to be able to ask questions without being browbeaten when we ask those questions and it's also important for us to come in behind - where we can - the government, but it's difficult to do it if we don't have that information."

Collins said it was Ardern's call whether or not to delay the election, but the Electoral Commission has indicated it was doable.

Robertson said the government would be making a decision on Friday afternoon on whether or not there are further alert level restrictions or whether they can be eased.

"At that point in terms of issues like the election date and so on we will be able to resolve those."

ECONOMIC RESPONSE

If restrictions continue the Government will look at what economic support package can be provided and decisions would be made on Friday, Robertson said.

The Government might potentially tap into the $14 billion it had put aside, he said.

Robertson said the wage subsidy had been a very successful way of "getting money out the door" but the government is working with officials on other options as well.

"Our focus will immediately be as it always has been on keeping people in work, making sure there is some confidence and some cash flow for businesses."

The wage subsidy extension, small business cash flow scheme, the Covid lead support scheme and income relief scheme were still in place.

Robertson said there was no indication at the moment from the health minister that further resources required for testing.

Comments

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It appears that these people, Collins and co, are prepared to put NZers at risk by their continued bleating, for seats in Parliament.
They need to demonstrate compassion and assist in beating Covid rather than baseless, no evidenced bleating.
Woodhouse was found out for making stuff up, Collins and co appear to have not learnt.

The Nats are getting desperate now. If they were polling better there's no way they would be calling for a delayed election. September 19 can't come quickly enough. I wonder who will be the Nats leader after that date? There's still a couple of people who haven't had a go yet.

Poor Judith Collins is so irrelevant at the moment with no actual policies that she has to resort to trying to score political points on rather pointless issues. While I voted National last election, I cannot see myself doing so this time despite being in the most disliked voter group - swinging voters.

More bleating from Obscure Jude. Prime Ministers are there to step up during crises and our PM is not shying away from her responsibilities, unlike Johnson and Trump. Or is Johnson and Trump's performance something she admires being on the right wing?

If Jacinda and Judith were in each other's current positions would Judith leave the announcements to Ashley? No bets taken!

Shows how seriously Judith Collins takes it. Not.

Wow! Even if the Prime Minister accedes to this ridiculous demand it's not going to help crusher in the polls. She is showing herself to be a "hit and run" politician, no substance, just whinging, whining and fear mongering. Mind you look at her history, she's always been this way when you analyse it no depth of thought at all.

I see the Labour Party trolls are out above. National are not talking about politics, they are talking about democracy. This is a war against a virus, and Labour has shown to be partly (at best) incompetent, and the outbreak is proof enough. National will have their plonkers too. We need a Government of National Unity like in War time. Delay the election for a period. Not too long, as free and fair elections are an important instrument in protecting our freedoms. If Labour doesn't agree to delaying the election, for purely political reasons, period, heck we're asking them to stay in power a bit longer, then I believe there is no option but for opposition parties not to contest it. Labour can win all the seats, they're acting like dictators anyway, and they'll have a government that has no legitimacy. Maybe it is time for the Governor General to get involved. Delay the election. If it is so dangerous we need to lock down a biggest city, surround it with our military for goodness sake, it is too dangerous to rush a vote. You will be surprised to know, I'm no fan of National. I'm a fan of democracy, that's all.

Nationals problem i simple, they don't have any decent candidates that they can chose to be leader. Collin's is not leadership material and everyone can see that. They need an election to have any chance of actually getting a leader elected, but they know that the next election is going to be a rout and they will be lucky to have any candidates, let alone a choice.
National is the party of the past, they are about to be consigned to history and both they, and you, know this.
You want to delay a vote, merely to delay the inevitable. You want time for a miracle, but the prompt action of the government to the latest outbreak of the virus means that if a delay is needed, it won't need to be a long one.

The leader of the Nats cares more about power than people, as Mr Woodhouse has said "That's politics' when he withheld information about the two women in quarantine were allowed to go to a relative in Wellington, drove from Auckaland to Wellington and stopped for directions, hugging their helper. He did not contact Dr Bromfield or the PM but waited days for his moment in parliament to expose this failure. You do not speak for me either of you.

Collins has thought to herself, what would my hero tRump do now? And then she has run with that.
Voters need to be aware that she is wanting to take NZ down America's path. It bugs the right wingers that Jacinda is making tRump look so weak and stupid.
I don't believe Collins at all, I don't need to see her eyebrows to know when she is being less than honest. And I do not believe that she has the interests of Kiwis at heart.
She is power hungry and ruthless, a disaster waiting to happen at the best of times, which is why she was the third choice as leader. These are not the best of times.

Perhaps if Jacinda stepped away from the broadcasts, you would get a better uptake of the app - by depoliticizing the process. Worth a try isn't' it? Or both sides could just take shots at each other and we can all go down on the same ship.

Disgusted with Brownies not so subtle attempt at calling Adern & Bloomfield of covering up the new outbreak. To see him smirking when asked what he meant by saying that says a lot. So much for running a clean election. The Nats don't have a clue

Haa haa.
Can't you just feel the 'Kindness' from the commentors above.....

So no kindness and no ability to think for themselves.
The collective will be proud....

Have you been at the Qanon?

That Winston Churchill didn't need to be front and centre, either.

Regardless of the party in government, there's no need for the Prime Minister to be at every midday health announcement.
For sure, the PM should be there to announce level changes and alike - but aside from that, leave the health announcements to the health professionals and the Health Minister.
The PM should show up to Parliament and do announcements to inform all parties and field questions. Not what we've had for months of journalists asking questions that if too hard for the PM, get shut down.
If all the political parties are not able to question what is going on, or contribute to the decision making process, then it is unlikely that the best decisions will be made.
That is the great thing about the Westminster system - challenging the other side so all views are canvased and the opportunity for the best option being figured out.
Because we are near an election the Opposition won't have the chance to challenge or contribute in Parliament, so what else can they do, particularly if they are not invited to the table? Challenge in public. That's what we need in order to help keep the Government on track. Otherwise, the Government will just do anything they want - good or not.

Personally, I think Mz Judez should let someone with a great deal more experience in keeping the situation calm and giving as accurate information as possible to the public.

I'm actually quite proud of the way Jacinda and her team have handled round 1 of this Covid-19 title fight, and quite frankly, don't see any plausible reason to change the way she is going about it in round 2... I have faith in the ability of the Government to come away with a win round 2 as well.

Mz Judez is quite right in saying that there are many scared Kiwis out there and believe changing "presenters" of information to the public at this time would only make matters worse. You only have to look at what the rest of the world media are saying about NZ's handling of the pandemic, we can still show other countries how it's done!!

This is NOT a party political broadcast...

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