Winston grandstanding, election campaign – but dumping on Government Covid quarantine

Winston Peters has a record of attention seeking grandstanding, especially during election campaigns, so this news should be viewed with that in mind.

In Winston’s world journalists are only reliable when they suit his purposes.

It’s hard to know what he is trying to achieve unless it is discredit the Government he is Deputy Prime Minister of.

Obviously the current Covid outbreak came from somewhere, and a quarantine breach is an obvious possibility, but going public via Australian media is a bizarre way for the Deputy Prime Minister to deal with this information if it is accurate, and nuts if it is false.

NZ Herald: Winston Peters claims Covid-19 cluster linked to quarantine breach

The Deputy Prime Minister Peters reportedly told ABC 24 News he was given the information by a New Zealand journalist, who he said was “usually very reliable”.

“It wasn’t an official, I found out from somewhere else, but I think there’s been a breach inside our quarantine system.

“I think, when that comes out very shortly, in a matter of maybe less than a day, we’ll find out that was the case. But you don’t always find out from your officials.

“You don’t always find out from the experts. It’s something you sort of find out by contact with other people.”

“I don’t know where this quarantine breach may have happened, but I think you can eliminate it being some new strain of Covid-19 that hitherto my country hadn’t seen.

“In Melbourne’s case, of course, it was – how shall I say it without being too critical? – pretty slack oversight and supervision, where it was put in the hands of private industry, which was a disaster. In our case, we got the army in early enough to know that that wouldn’t have been the problem. But there’s been a breach, and we’ll find out in a matter of hours, or within a day.”

A spokesperson for the prime minister’s office said they have not seen what Peters had said, but “no connection between managed isolation and these cases has been established at this point”.

If someone from National tried a stunt like this right now they would be hammered by media and by opponents.

The ABC interview is here:

This social media campaign today looks like a joke:

Another case, lockdowns to be escalated?

Another community transmission Covid case has been announced: Student at Mount Grammar tests positive for Covid-19

This morning Mount Albert Grammar principal Patrick Drumm told Morning Report a student from the school tested positive for Covid-19.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield confirmed that the student was a close contact of the four existing South Auckland cases.

He says the school told staff, parents and students last night after they were made aware of the result.

Why does this have to come out via the school principle? Shouldn’t the public be kept informed.

There is a growing ominous feeling about the current two and a half day lockdowns, with increasing speculation that the lockdowns will at least be extended beyond Friday if not raised a level.

RNZ: Experts Michael Baker and Shaun Hendy share concerns Auckland outbreak could be ‘generations’ deep

Covid-19 could been have spreading in Auckland for weeks, with dozens of people already infected, two experts claim.

The two infectious disease experts say it’s likely the four cases confirmed in a family on Tuesday are a few generations into an outbreak.

The family has no known connection to the country’s border – the only place experts believe Covid-19 could have arrived.

Epidemiologist Michael Baker said an outbreak usually went through a few generations of transmission before someone became sick enough to present with symptoms.

That could take about three weeks, he said.

Physicist and disease modeller Shaun Hendy agreed, saying there could be several layers to the outbreak.

“If [the virus] has been passed from someone who arrived, and passed through several people to this family, then they could have passed it onto other people as well,” he said.

If the family was the tertiary contact of a border case, then there could be about 25 people infected – and as many as 100 in a worse-case scenario, he said.

With a ‘fast, early’ commitment already it looks like we could be in for another few weeks of lockdowns.

The Government says they will decide and let us know tomorrow.

We should probably be preparing for it.

Election date and governing through the campaign

Questions have been raised about whether the election can go ahead next month – probably not if under level 3 lockdown – and how much public governing the Prime Minister should be doing through the campaign – Jacinda Ardern insists her priority is dealing with Covid and the safety of the people.

Jane Patterson (RNZ) – Election date debate: Collins willing to risk antagonising voters

There’s now serious pressure to push out the election date, starting with slowing the next steps taken to end the parliamentary term and trigger an election. It’s in the hands of the prime minister for now but other parties say it wouldn’t be a fair race.

According to Ardern the latest it could be held is 21 November.

The date would have to allow enough time to release the final election and referendums results, and for the formation of a new government, before Christmas.

The main consideration will be: “Is it safe to vote?”

The Electoral Commission has been planning for an election in a pandemic but under current guidelines would only go ahead under alert level 2; an election could not go ahead under the level 3 restrictions in place in Auckland.

That is based on people being able to safely access polling booths with sanitising and social distancing – if they cannot it is up to ministers and political leaders to decide what would happen from there, with an obligation to put the interests of New Zealanders ahead of any political considerations.

This close to a general election the governing parties have a responsibility to work constructively with others when it comes to any major decisions – especially in a crisis – and to make sure the race is as even as possible.

National is calling for the 19 September election to be delayed, with Collins accusing Ardern of not consulting as fully as she should, and withholding key information about this week’s decisions.

Decisions will have have to be made soon, with a set timetable that has to be followed in the weeks leading up the election.

National says it is a health crisis and should be handled by the director general of health, not a politician.

Campaigning has been suspended while all parties watch the developments in Auckland carefully – what happens there will determine not only how politicians take their message to the electorate but potentially the election date itself.

National is fighting to keep itself in the story, by taking on Ardern over her treatment of the main opposition party.

But Ardern insists her right and responsibility to front the Covid crisis.

Stuff: Jacinda Ardern keeps options open as Judith Collins attacks

On Wednesday, Ardern announced the Government would be delaying the dissolution of Parliament until Monday, in order to give itself the flexibility to delay the election or bring the House back into full session.

She did not commit to any delay of the September 19 election date, however, saying more information about the cases was needed.

Collins rejected this later in the day and called for a delay of the election until at least November, saying a locked-down campaign would be impossible and any kind of mass postal voting would not be legitimate democracy.

“It is simply unsustainable to expect there to be a fair and just election at a time when opposition parties and other parties of Government are not free to campaign, but also when people have no certainty about whether they would be able to cast their vote on election day,” Collins said.

Ardern said she was focused on the immediate response, but decisions around election timing would be made before Parliament was set to dissolve on Monday.

Collins also criticised the Government for making the lockdown decision after advising her, instead of consulting her and the Opposition directly.

She said there was a convention in New Zealand that the Opposition be consulted on major decisions this close to the election.

“It is always part of our pre-election convention that a Government does not make major decisions without consultation with the Opposition. Clearly advising the leader of the opposition just before making a public announcement does not count as consultation,” Collins said.

Ardern disagreed with this assessment, saying the “caretaker convention” only applied following an election, before a new Government had been called.

Victoria University Associate Professor of Public Law Dr Dean Knight said the Cabinet manual showed no “caretaker” period applied in New Zealand and the Government was free to make major decisions.

“The Government has full power to take decisions prior to the election and is under no legal or customary obligation to consult the Opposition about major decisions such as Covid-19 alert levels,” Knight said.

Stephen Franks (@franks_lawyer) on this:

Our conventions for the period without a Parliament evolved over generations as bi-partisan commitment to democratic bottom lines. Incumbent rulers in corrupt countries use state resources and power to stifle and overwhelm challengers’ communication with voters.

In NZ election period Govt advertising with taxpayer purse is strictly limited. Conventions confine Ministers, most strict before a handover after the election. But honourable self-restraint is also expected pre-election after Parliament can’t scrutinise for abuses of power.

In NZ incumbent power is restrained to protect values that need bi-partisan loyalty past an electoral cycle, e.g. consulting the opposition on senior enduring appointments. An honourable government recognises the purpose of the principles and applies them to new circumstances.

We have unprecedented issues. The PM is inserting herself daily into announcements that could easily be made by trusted non-politician leaders, like Dr Bloomfield. Meanwhile inflicting on democratic rivals losses of freedoms to meet, and to associate for political discussion.

I wish I could believe her media omni-presence is just to ensure we all get the right info from someone we are most likely to trust, so there is maximum voluntary compliance/cooperation. But now 40% of the population will be tempted to mistrust and oppose or even frustrate.

Worthy public purposes were served by her daily lessons during the first lockdown. I eventually tired of being addressed as an infant, but clearly many more were reassured. Now, however the electioneering purpose looks too blatant.

That might be less counterproductive if she’d scrupulously reassured us by balancing her political spotlight with conspicuous respect for electoral integrity. If she wants full emergency media now she could inject balance by returning the election to its traditional November.

It is unprincipled to insist on her chosen early election while gagging political challengers with lockdown. Abusing the emergency’s saturation attention may suck media oxygen from critics/rivals. But will it look so smart if it prompts resentment/disobedience and failure?

Deferring the dissolution for as long as possible to leave some chance of a period of normal election challenge and freedom, would be a gesture to minimise the numbers who will see and hear only cynical manipulation in her Covid statements from here on. Trust matters.

David Farrar promotes the Collins approach in Collins calls for election delay:

Judith Collins has called for the Prime Minister to use her powers to delay the election until November, or failing that for Parliament to meet and vote on delaying it until 2021.

Collins points out that early voting is due to start in two and a half weeks and opposition parties are unable to campaign or even have their campaign launches.

But it is “Now that the boot is on the other foot he supports delaying New Zealand’s election.”
Well, a few days ago delaying an election in the US by Trump was described by DPF’s headline as “Trump verges on fascism”, so by that standard, today DPF and Judith must also be verging on fascism.
And there was this by DPF, “If you can hold elections during a civil war and a world war, you can hold one now.” That didn’t age well.

“Now that the boot is on the other foot he supports delaying New Zealand’s election.”

Well, a few days ago delaying an election in the US by Trump was described by DPF’s headline as “Trump verges on fascism”, so by that standard, today DPF and Judith must also be verging on fascism.

And there was this by DPF, “If you can hold elections during a civil war and a world war, you can hold one now.” That didn’t age well.

The country is in an unprecedented and very awkward position over Covid and with the complication of the election.

National hopelessness, conspiracy and paranoia

National is in a seemingly hopeless position in the polls, and they are understandably frustrated that this week’s Covid outbreak and lockdowns have stopped them from campaigning in person around the country, and has made it difficult for them compete for media coverage. It is a hopeless situation for them, with little they can do about it.

Unfortunately leader Judith Collins and her deputy and National’s campaign director Gerry Collins are making things worse with some of their policy promotion choices, and seem to be heading into conspiracy territory.

Sam Sachdeva (Newsroom): The paranoid style in New Zealand politics

“We are all sufferers from history, but the paranoid is a double sufferer, since he is afflicted not only by the real world, with the rest of us, but by his fantasies as well.”- Richard Hofstadter, ‘The Paranoid Style in American Politics’, 1964

Nothing wrong with asking questions, is there? Where’s the harm in that? ‘They’ haven’t turned that into a crime as well, have they?

Such was the tone of the National Party’s press conference on new community cases of Covid-19, in an ill omen for the tenor of the campaign for our next election – whenever that proves to be.

National leader Judith Collins offered a small hint of her likely approach when news of the four South Auckland cases broke on Tuesday night, saying the return of the virus would “come as a shock to all New Zealanders who believed what we had been told – that we had got on top of this virus”.

If there were any reservations about going negative, they were not on display as Collins and her deputy leader Gerry Brownlee instead doubled down on Wednesday afternoon.

Asked about the Government’s timeline, Collins said she was “hearing a lot of rumours”.

Several minutes later, her deputy leader Gerry Brownlee outlined – unprompted – an allegedly suspicious series of events in recent weeks, as if joining the pieces of the puzzle with string on an overloaded pinboard.

“The messaging around a possible further outbreak of Covid-19 began … about 10 days ago; on top of that there was the issue of masks, we were encouraged to start purchasing masks to have them available in the emergency kit.

“Dr Bloomfield went a bit further, in one interview I saw suggested that people might wear a mask for one day a week, just to get used to the idea of wearing masks.

“Then you saw the Prime Minister’s visit to the mask factory … along with Dr Bloomfield, after 103 days of no community transmission having a test himself – all very interesting things to happen a matter of hours before there was a notification of the largest residential part of New Zealand going into Level 3 lockdown.”

Pressed on what exactly he was implying, Brownlee replied with a smirk: “I’m just outlining facts … it’s an interesting series of facts.”

Exactly what those facts were meant to prove was left unsaid – although leaving it to the vivid imaginations of tired and scared New Zealanders was perhaps the point.

Then, outlining her desire to delay the election to November or even next year, Collins appeared to borrow from Donald Trump’s playbook in casting aspersions on the trustworthiness of postal voting – despite the fact New Zealanders can already apply to cast a ballot by mail.

“This is a serious issue, it is not a laughing issue, it is not something to joke around, and it’s certainly not something to have just put in an envelope and sent off with no verification as to who anyone is.”

Jacinda Ardern certainly has a big publicity advantage over her campaign opponents, but heading into paranoia and conspiracy territory is a hapless and probably hopeless approach for Collins and Brownlee.

This is on top of tired old policy position announcements like getting tough on gangs and building more roads, as well as the very disappointing National caucus position opposing cannabis law reform.

The line of attack from Collins and Brownlee comes from a darker place, and it is hard to know which is worse – that they genuinely believe in some sort of grand cover-up, or are prepared to stoke such sentiment out of political expediency.

To be clear, there is plenty of ground for legitimate criticism of the Government’s response.

Information about the locations visited by the new positive cases has dribbled out slowly and inconsistently, leaving those who may have been a casual contact on edge.

Ardern’s refusal to engage in “hypotheticals” about the likely extension of Auckland’s lockdown, given the 14-day incubation period that we have all learned about, seems overly cautious and potentially counterproductive in preparing people for a long haul.

But making ominous references to “interesting facts” does nothing to address those concerns, and runs the risk of undermining public buy-in for a longer lockdown, should one be required.

These are very poor attempts to hold the Government to account.

And they are unlikely to be rewarded by voters.

Ardern and the ‘COVID election’

In her speech launching Labour’s election campaign Jacinda Ardern emphasised it being ‘a COVID election’ – her published speech notes emphasised COVID (in capitals), mentioning it fifteen times. She also referred to a much promoted pandemic phrase ‘team of 5 million’ five times.

She and Labour chose to campaign on one of Ardern’s strengths, crisis her management skills, but also to use the pandemic as a focal point of their campaign. This is smart politics, but it is also cynical use of a crisis for political purposes.

I don’t believe conspiracy theorists suggesting that the Covid outbreak this week was a political set up, but Ardern and Labour have merged it with their campaign.

Ardern has emphasised that politics is inextricably intertwined with the Government and Ministry of Health Covid response.

She is insisting her governing right to front Covid media conferences, which gives her a considerable campaign publicity advantage – she fronted two media conferences that would have had great public interest yesterday.

This could be to her and Labour’s significant campaign advantage, but it has it’s risks.

Ardern’s Labour Speech: Labour Campaign Launch 2020 included:

Thank you for all your work over these last few months, which has made this gathering possible. In a COVID world, our team of 5 million has been a steady ship and I am so grateful for that.

Whether it was March 15, or Whakaari White Island, or even COVID-19 – these three entirely different events that devastated in very different ways – they drew out a response from kiwis that was the same.

They applauded Ardern’s handling of them.

Some have asked me whether this is the COVID election.

No one wants it to be.

Yet she has embraced it as her prime means of self promotion.

And so yes, there is no denying that COVID has changed New Zealand, and therefore it will inevitably change what we talk about this election.

And there is a lot to talk about.

There wasn’t a playbook for COVID-19. That means there was no pre-written plan for how a country should respond to a one in one hundred year global pandemic. But respond we did.

COVID has undoubtedly created many friends for us to worry about, and we know there are tough times ahead.

Our team of 5 million’s approach to fighting COVID means there is huge willingness in our business community to avoid unemployment rising by taking on new staff where they can, but many just need a little bit of extra support which this package provides.

It will act as a strong incentive to support those who have been hit the hardest by COVID, and provide additional support to businesses who might not otherwise be in the position to take someone on long-term.

It will act as a strong incentive to support those who have been hit the hardest by COVID, and provide additional support to businesses who might not otherwise be in the position to take someone on long-term.

Ultimately though, there is no costless response to COVID, but Grant Robertson’s excellent management of the books means we went into COVID with lower debt relative to GDP than almost any other OECD nation, and look to come out in a better position than Australia, the UK, Canada and the US.

And so, when people ask, is this a COVID election, my answer is yes, it is.

But that does not mean that there aren’t still choices to be made. It does not mean there aren’t ideas to be debated, or plans to be discussed, policies to be announced.

In fact, it’s the very reason why this is election is more important than ever.

It’s about the future. It’s about leadership and it’s about values.

It’s about whether we stop and change to another team, or whether we keep those we know and we trust.

Ardern has emphasised that politics is inextricably intertwined with the Government and Ministry of Health Covid response.

She is insisting her governing right to front Covid media conferences, which gives her a considerable campaign publicity advantage – she fronted two media conferences that would have had great public interest yesterday.

She is getting extraordinary publicity this week over the new outbreak, which is frustrating other parties who have had to suspend their campaigns due to newly imposed lockdowns.

While Ardern withdrew from regular Covid media conferences over the past couple of months she is fronting them again now big time, and insisting she has a right as Prime Minister to do this right up to the election despite protests by political opponents.

This could be to her and Labour’s considerable campaign advantage – not that Labour needs it, they are currently well out in front – ,but it has it’s risks.

If Covid turns to custard here, and if the election goes ahead as planned next month, Ardern and Labour could suffer a backlash. If there is too much bad news expect Ardern to distance herself and leave the delivery of that to Ashley Bloomfield and Chris Hipkins again.

But for now Covid gives Ardern a huge advantage, and she is using that for all it’s currently worth.

Open Forum Thursday

This post is open to anyone to comment on any topic that isn’t spam, illegal or offensive. All Your NZ posts are open but this one is for you to raise topics that interest you, or you think may interest others.. 

If providing opinions on or summaries of other information also provide a link to that information. Bloggers are welcome to summarise and link to their posts. Comments worth more exposure may be repeated as posts. Comments from other forums can be repeated here, cut and paste is fine.

Your NZ is a mostly political and social issues blog but not limited to that, and views from anywhere on the political spectrum are welcome. Some ground rules:

  • If possible support arguments, news, points or opinions with links to sources and facts.
  • Please don’t post anything illegal, potentially defamatory or abusive.

FIRST TIME COMMENTERS: Due to abuse by a few, first comments under any ID will park in moderation until released (as soon as possible but it can sometimes take a while).

Sometimes comments will go into moderation or spam automatically due to mistyped ID, too many links (>4), or trigger text or other at risk criteria. If they pass muster they will be released as soon as possible (it can sometimes take hours).

UMR poll August 2020

The UMR polls seem to be getting published now with a reasonable amount of detail and history. The latest poll results done from July 29 – August 3) (with comparison from their 26 May – 1 June poll):

  • Labour 52% (down from 54)
  • National 28% (down from 30)
  • ACT 5.9% (no result to compare to)
  • Greens 5.4% (was 4)
  • NZ First 5.1% (was 5)

That’s fairly consistent with other polls, which means great for Labour and ACT, awful for National, marginal for Greens and better than other recent polls for NZ First, this must be the poll that Winston likes.

Preferred Prime Minister:

  • Jacinda Ardern 61%
  • Judith Collins 20%


Collins is rating much better than Simon bridges and Todd Muller but is a long way behind Ardern, and i think will struggle to get much closer going by her recent performance.

Should the election be delayed?

Judith Collins and David Seymour are asking if the election needs to be delayed due to the new Covid cases.

RNZ: ‘Straight answers’ needed from government on Covid-19 restrictions – Collins

National was delaying its campaign launch, Collins said, and if the situation in Auckland didn’t improve the election might need to be postponed.

“I think it’s inevitable that people will be asking these questions and I actually can’t see how we can have the Government saying well it’s all just fine and we’ll get the Electoral Commission to do some postal ballots or something, that’s not going to be acceptable, this is a liberal democracy and people do need to be able to have a fair go.

“I think it’s going to have to be [delayed] unless it’s sorted out by Friday, so let’s see how Friday goes and I’m ever hopeful that we’ll have a decision straight away, we’ll have something that can tell us we can get back to where we have been.

ACT leader David Seymour wrote to the Speaker last night asking him to postpone the dissolution of Parliament.

“Terrible news tonight. It occurs to me that Parliament does not need to dissolve before the election.

“I strongly urge you to postpone the dissolution of Parliament tomorrow until at least this time next week when a clearer picture of the Public Health situation can be had.

“It is possible that the election will now need to be delayed. If that is the case, I believe the people would want to have Parliament available for an epidemic response committee or perhaps sittings,” Seymour said in the letter.

I don’t know why the election should be delayed at this staged at least.

This is more of a hiccup than a crisis. We have been told to expect more community cases ‘not if but when’. And now we have a few.

If the country rushes into lockdowns every time there’s a new community case we will have a very disrupted few months.

If the election has to be delayed because of these cases, for how long should it be delayed? Until there are no new cases for a month? Then it will take two or three months at least to get the election going – and what if there’s moire cases, as we have been told is likely? Keep kicking the election can down the road?

I think that we should be trying to keep things as normal as possible while dealing with a few Covid hiccups.

There may be something on this from Jacinda Ardern soon, she is having media conferences with Ashley Bloomfield at 10:30 am and 4.o0 pm.

Ardern says they are considering the timing of the election but it’s in the early stages of discussion and no decision has been made or looks likely in the next day or two.

Borders closed until 2022?

I don’t think anyone can predict how long our borders will be closed to anyone who is not a returning New Zealander (and a few exceptions) with 14 days isolation mandatory, but it looks like being for some time, probably well into next year if not until 2022.

On Monday (RNZ): NZ travel bubble with Cook Islands could be in place by end of year – Ardern

In a press conference this afternoon, Ardern says Cabinet considered a draft text for the basis of an agreement.

The next phase will be a verification phase on both sides within the next 10 days, she says.

She says the draft text is nearing its conclusion and they’re hoping the travel bubble will be in place before the end of the year.

Two factors are the maritime and aviation border, and that will be a “significant part” of the verification phase, she says.

“I expect in the next 10 days or so undertaking that on-the-ground verification process … it is not a simple exercise and it is one where we are exercising caution.”

“The whole point of establishing this regime is the assurance that both the Cook Islands and New Zealand are considered to be Covid-free, but that doesn’t mean we won’t have extra stages of assurance.”

Ardern says New Zealand is still waiting on Niue to be ready for a potential travel bubble but at the moment the plan is just for the Cook Islands.

So this signalled the possibility of a very limited opening of borders with the Cook Islands maybe by the end of the year.

And then yesterday it was announced that New Zealand is not Covid-free any more, with four positive cases with no known source of infection.

From what has been said that may put the cobwash on travel to and from the Cook Islands for the rest of the year at least, all going well.

What about trans-Tasman travel? With the spread of Covid in Victoria and a 6 week lockdown in Melbourne at least that’s looking a long way off. How long?

From the Northern territory yesterday: Hard border controls will remain for the NT for at least 18 months

Australia’s Northern Territory will be closed to visitors from virus hotspots for a further 18 months to protect its large and vulnerable Aboriginal population, authorities said Tuesday.

“We’ll have our hard border controls in place for at least the next 18 months. And we’re resourcing so we can do that,” Chief Minister Michael Gunner told public broadcaster ABC.

Many Aboriginal groups fear the virus could sweep through remote indigenous communities where healthcare services are limited.

“This is what I think I need to do to make sure some of the most vulnerable people in the world stay safe,” Gunner said.

The Northern Territory has recorded few virus cases and no deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

It is currently closed to Victoria state and Sydney, and Gunner said he expected other regions to be excluded.

I had booked time in Darwin in June and obviously had to ditch those plans. I have close family there, but it looks like it could be a long time before I can visit there or they can visit here.

If different parts of Australia are shut off internally then opening borders with New Zealand looks a long way off.

What does that mean for travel to and from the rest of the world?

Things could change. An effective vaccination may become available by some time next year. But there seems no point in planning any offshore travel at this stage.

Even local travel is now in doubt again. I had changed plans and was due to have an internal holiday soon, and have made bookings, but now even that is in doubt.

Questions on Covid announcement and lockdowns

So we are back in Covid-19 level 3 lockdown in Auckland and level 2 everywhere else.

I get that the Government and Ministry of Health are committed to try to stop any community spread of Covid and are erring on the side of caution, but there are questions I think we deserve answers to.

Jacinda Ardern said we must take a “precautionary” approach as no origin had been found, or link to isolation facilities or people who work at the border.

But how much caution is appropriate, given the substantial disruption the alert level increases impose?

An ‘urgent’ media conference was called last night at 9:15 pm, but when was the positive Covid test first known about? One person was tested twice, and then their family was tested. the first test result at least must have been known by yesterday’s daily report at 1 pm.

The first case was a person is in their 50s who lives in South Auckland. They have returned two positive results. They have no history of international travel.

Six family members who reside in the same household have been tested. Three returned positive results, three negative.

Ardern says she was first notified at 4pm yesterday. The first positive test result at least must have been known well before then. So why was she only notified then (if she is being honest with us)?

It looks like the public testing of Ashley Bloomfield at 1 pm may have been priming the population for an increase in testing. I suspect he must have known at that stage that there were new cases, or at least one new case.

if urgent action was justified why was the urgent announcement not until 9:15 (actually about 9:25) last night?

if urgent action was justified why have the lockdowns been delayed until midday today? The horse could have already bolted by then.

Auckland going to level 3 for two and a half days may be fair enough. But why does the rest of the country have to be affected? I wonder if this is being used as a sort of a drill.

Pretty much no one wants Covcid spreading here again, so drastic action may be justified to try to contain it, but I think the Government may find it harder to get public support and compliance if the announcements look to be too PR staged.

Overreactions and claiming urgency when news has been delayed to suit packaged announcements run the risk of annoying people.

I don’t want Covid to spread here, but I don’t want to be played by the authorities.

And Ardern will have to be very careful with how she manages this through the election campaign. her first priority is to keep the country as safe as reasonably possible but also as unrestricted as possible.

It would suit Labour if Ardern keeps in the media spotlight with Covid announcements while other parties are restricted from campaigning. She isn’t the only one involved in decision making, the non-political Ministry of Health are presumably making recommendations at least.

It will be challenging for Ardern to manage perceptions. If she oversteps there could be a public and voter backlashes.

But there are also challenges for her political opponents.

There have been a range of reactions to that. During what has been labelled ‘the Covid campaign’ this is also very political.

Why is the Auckland lockdown only for two and a half days? A 14 day minimum has been standard until now to make sure that Covid has been detected.