Shopping around for leadership

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo: NZ Herald
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo: NZ Herald
Extraordinary events call for extraordinary measures and extraordinary people, especially those capable of extraordinary leadership.

During times of crisis or emergency, which includes the Covid-19 pandemic, the populace looks for leaders, particularly those who can provide clear, strong, empathetic, unwavering and just guidance through the storm.

We want leaders who are prepared to get their hands dirty, who will show us the best courses of action based on the available facts and common sense, and who would not ask us to do anything they were unwilling to do first.

Reasonable people will also expect their leaders to occasionally make mistakes, but to own up to them quickly if and when they do.

Putting that into the context of the current Covid lockdown, there is a lot of goodwill for our political leaders and the bind they find themselves in.

New Zealand has been largely fortunate with the leadership of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Labour team, but it has not been a performance without blemish.

The vaccine rollout in some parts of the country has left a lot to be desired and there is a degree of discomfort with the stage management of the afternoon media conference and the perception of important information being kept back to be announced then.

However, one need only cast an eye across the Tasman to see what really bad leadership can lead to in a crisis. There, New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian has overseen a shambolic and deadly ballooning of the Covid Delta variant, with daily new case numbers in that state now above 600.

The New South Wales lockdown still has plenty of confusing loopholes around where you can go and what you can do, and came too slowly to be effective.

Back in New Zealand, our much stricter lockdown has rules which are a lot easier to follow, including which shops can remain open. That is not to say there are not, and have not been in the past, some bizarre inconsistencies here too.

When it comes to what is actually allowed to be open, there is not much other than pharmacies, dairies, service stations and supermarkets.

For many of us, the most frequently visited of these during the days of lockdown will be the supermarket. Not only is there a certain sense of comfort and security to be gained by having your favourite foods in well-stocked cupboards at home, but also a trip to the supermarket can be a pleasant experience, offering a warm place that tantalises your senses and brings you into contact with others.

Unfortunately, for many supermarket staff, lockdowns are far from a pleasant experience. Customers may be distracted or overwrought due to the pandemic, and can be rude, angry and pushy, taking out their frustrations on staff.

Many of these employees are barely out of school and in previous lockdowns have been in the supermarket front line, trying to ensure appropriate behaviour and correct procedures are followed, while being abused for doing so.

Those supermarkets who have recognised this stress by ensuring their often poorly paid staff are given a bonus should be applauded.

Wealthy supermarket owners who are far from the action at the front door and in the aisles need to be held to account if they allow any of their employees to be the target of abuse or to be put in potentially risky situations regarding virus transmission.

The move to prioritise supermarket workers for vaccinations makes good sense and needs to happen quickly.

This is the time for supermarket owners and managers to show strong leadership and make sure their front-line staff are as safe as possible as they continue to help the public through the lockdown.


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With arrest for abusive customers.

I would have thought Joe Biden is the stand out for the most inept example of a current leader. We have seen some poor leaders come and go in the US but Joe has taken it to a new level of incompetence.

Oh how soon we forget!
I think twice impeached former president trump has to be the stand out of ineptness in a leader in recent history.
I, and the world at large, know he's not a current leader but he still firmly believes he is, so he is a relevant contender for the crown.

You do know what impeachment actually means don't you ird?, "A process that is used to charge, try, and remove public officials for misconduct while in office", now was he removed from office?, no he wasn't your argument is moot.

Not sure what Trump has to do with anything...old news. Biden is president and has nothing to do with New Zealand leadership? Deflect, confuse and conflate; typical response for people too vain to admit they are wrong.

Being an island nation the only option is to close the border and lockdown the population. It doesn't take leadership to do that, it takes common sense. It takes leadership to prevent the economy from falling into the abyss. The jury is still out on the Government effort's. We need more from the Government than a simplistic mantra of "be kind". Efforts by the Government now are driven by its inability to provide adequate healthcare to the population should the delta variant run amuck. Leadership entails bold actions, playing Russian roulette with the border hardly qualifies as leadership. Closing the borders, increasing the supply of ventilators and other much-needed medical supplies along with a well planned and executed vaccination programme constitutes leadership. Again, the ODT is cheerleading for a dysfunctional government that has been slow and unresponsive to the pandemic.

Lots of wild assumptions and limited facts here, as usual.
There are plenty of island nations in the world, none have done as remotely well as NZ in protecting the population and managing the crisis. I don't know which jury you're waiting on but the jury of world opinion seems to have come out strongly supportive, and envious, of NZ's position. The fact that we have stayed Covid 19 free until now, is testament to excellent leadership, management, policies and procedures. If the Delta strain does get out of control that will be down to the virus, a virus doesn't have a rule book.
It seems close the border and lockdown is not common sense after all. Actually, I've found common sense to be neither common nor sensible.
The management of our economy has been fundamentally sound. All significant economic pointers are trending well, there is absolutely no reason to doubt trends will continue in the improved direction.
As for ODT cheerleading. Hardly. Any single article praising the Govt is countered by two criticising them. But they do give credit where it is due and the international verdict is that credit is due.

Very funny rebuttal. I guess you haven't read too many of the US newspapers condemning New Zealand for shutting the country down for 1 case of COVID(NY Times 18 Aug 21). I think they used incompetent in describing the leadership. Being lucky isn't leadership. Amazing how opinions that differ from yours are always wrong. As Aesop once said: The smaller the mind the greater the conceit.

I've noticed that people with limited intelligence often have huge egos. Didn't realize NZ is governed by world opinion? If the policies and procedures were so great we wouldn't have COVID now, would we? Our luck finally ran out because the senior leadership wanted to stimulate the economy with a travel bubble. As the great philosopher, Forrest Gump once said: "stupid is as stupid does." Awesome summary of the government's actions!

"There are plenty of island nations in the world, none have done as remotely well as NZ in protecting the population and managing the crisis" you obviously haven't checked your facts and assumptions have you ird...
Ever heard of Tonga, Kiribati, Niue, Nauru, Tuvalu, Tokelau or Pitcairn Island, Samoa, Vanuatu, Anguilla, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Macao, Grenada etc?...... some of them have no covid or very little....

I've noticed that people with limited intelligence often confuse self confidence for ego, especially when they feel threatened and can only resort to personal attacks on those that frighten them.
I've also found that people who are successful do not rely on luck, they plan, they manage, they make things happen. The results achieved by the NZ govt around covid 19 are not down to luck they are down to good planning, good policies, good procedures, in a word, good management.
The current outbreak did not come from the travel bubble, it came from a case in a MIQ after the bubble closed. It did not happen because of luck, or luck running out, It is a virus, one of the most virulent known. It operates to it's own rules, not ours. This is what the science, and the govt, have been saying. It is to soon for anyone to say if the current outbreak can be brought under control. Time will tell.
In the words of the great Martin Luther King jr: "nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity". Awesome summary of the govts critics.

I believe a far worse disease than Covid that plagues New Zealand is the political bias of our media which has cultivated the ground for 'personal branding' in government. There are diverse opinions in the community of this Government's actions over the last few years. Those that have lost their businesses as a direct result of the government's actions and those that have been shut out of the housing market are less praising of Jilinda's (sic) 'leadership'. And as to those 'rich' owners of the supermarkets ... the large ones are public companies that anyone can buy shares in and the smaller ones are typically owned and run by hardworking families who regularly put in the 60-80 hours a week it takes to make a small low margin business successful ... consumer buying behaviour is such that the slightest rise in prices at the checkout sends them to the competition ... this is what keeps the wages low.

Political bias in our media, worse than Covid 19. It's annoying yes, but that's all.
"personal branding" in NZ politics has been around since Norman Kirk and the most recent and by far the most obnoxious example of this has been John Key. Ardern is almost there but is a "babe in the woods" compared to Key. Crusher Collins just doesn't understand the concept.
I only know one supermarket ownerpersonally and he's coining it. Making a mint. He certainly doesn't work long hours either. All of the others may not be the same, but I doubt it somehow.
Most NZ supermarkets are privately owned, they're not publicly listed companies that the public can buy shares in.
Supermarkets, low margin businesses? Don't make me laugh. If they are not going to make 100% markup on an item they won't stock it.
Competition in Supermarket prices? That goes against all the evidence. There is no competition. At best customers shop for specials at competing supermarkets, but they don't change supermarkets because of the slightest increase in prices that's laughable.
As for the cause of low wages, that is solely down to employers unfairly retaining the profits generated by their staff.

I am confused by the lack of logic here. You state there is political bias in the media that is worse than COVID. The media can't be trusted. Then you say in a separate post that New Zealand is the darling of the world and everybody envies us. You are making this statement based on media reports. The same media that is biased and you don't trust. Might want to check with your professor concerning opinions because yours lack logic and common sense!

I find your continued inference that the initial problems with the vaccine rollout is a blemish on the Govt is, to say the least, irritating
You know that your readers rely on ODT for factually correct information to assist them in making significant decisions about their lives. You owe them more than you have achieved in this editorial.
The truth is that vaccine rollout is the sole responsibility of the DHBs and their lack of performance at the initial stages is not a reflection on Govt leadership. Not even close.
The rollout was given to the DHBs very early on in the pandemic, long before the vaccines were available. It was the only choice. They are the only agencies in the country remotely capable of taking the job on. Accepting that they were dealing with a totally new crisis of a type and magnitude that was unprecedented they kicked off with their usual inefficiencies and ineffectiveness and did not get on top of vaccine delivery until the beginning of July. Currently they are doing very well, mainly due to the sacrifice and dedication of the staff involved, and are quickly gaining on lost ground
Your criticisms of Govt leadership should be valid and justifiable.

Different eyes see the same thing differently. This is called opinion. Your opinion is your opinion. No more valid or important than anybody else's. Unfortunately, the most important product of opinion is ignorance. We must respect the opinons of others no matter how ignorant they might be.

Hhmmm... A very wise university professor once told me that he regarded an opinion as the personal expression of a considered point of view after an examination of the facts of an issue. The key points being "a considered point of view" drawn from an examination of the "facts". The professor maintained that the expression of a point of view that did not meet this criteria could not be graced with the label opinion. I agree with the learned professor.
Most of the points of view presented on here do not meet this definition, primarily because they are not based on facts. They are simply emotional blurts based on "alternate" facts, misinformation and lies, or in other words ignorance. As such I do not feel any compunction to respect them at all.
Anyway, that's my opinion, after a considered examination of the facts known to me.

I had the same professor and totally agree. Opinons are great, even better when informed. Still laughing, keep them comming.

Why do you wait for the sh!t to hit the fan before you call for strong leadership? As yet neither extreme weather nor stronger warnings in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports has triggered a proper emergency response from politicians and business leaders.
As with the pandemic, scientists are now exhorting politicians to level with their voters, to tell them how it really is – to explain why halving emissions of greenhouse gases over the next decade is an out-and-out imperative (as the science now tells us) if we are to avoid the horror story of runaway climate change.

Hmmm...I guess you missed the memo. The Ministry of Health is responsible for the design, delivery models and training pathways for vaccinators and support staff NOT the DHBs. Any shortfalls on these issues are the responsibility of the National Government NOT local and do reflect on a lack of leadership at the top! The criticism of the Government is valid and justified! The COVID-19 Strategy Task Force was established to oversee the implementation of the Vaccine strategy. Under them, the Immunisation Programme Governance Group for COVID-19 vaccine acts as an oversight and assurance body. They are responsible for oversight & progress on purchasing, sequencing and delivery of the COVID-19 vaccines. The COVID 19 Steering Group supports programme decision making and provides direction and oversight to the programme team regarding strategic risks, issues and opportunities concerning the vaccine. Successful? Southern DHB is 20,000 vaccinations behind the schedule the Ministry of Health set (NZ Herald 11 Aug 21). I hardly call being the second-worst performing DHB a success! Get your facts straight before you attack the ODT!

Now... here we have a classic example of misinformation. Almost as good as that regularly issued by ACT and its bunch of conspiracy theorists. It confuses, at worst deliberately or at best through ignorance, the responsibilities of the agencies involved in fighting the pandemic. The facts are:
The Govt is responsible for the overall strategy and the policies to deliver it.
The Covid 19 Strategy Taskforce is the advisory body to the govt in setting those strategies/policies.
The MoH responsibility is to develop and deliver the tools to be used in the vaccination rollout and to monitor results.
The actual delivery of the rollout is the sole responsibility of the DHBs. All DHBs received the tools from MoH at the same time but as we know the pick-up and delivery varied around the country, a few reasonably quickly, most painfully slow. However, despite the slow start, most are now on track and steaming ahead.
My criticism of ODT is that it infers the initial slow rollout is a Govt failure without the support of any facts to back up this opinion.
Your advice to get your facts right before attacking anyone is good, I suggest you stop projecting and take it.

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