Bridges mildly criticises Level 4 lockdown extension and other things

Simon Bridges has criticised what he claims is a lack of groundwork that has meant the level 4 lockdown needed to be extended. The Leader of the Opposition is supposed to hold the Government to account and criticise them when appropriate, but this looks like a risky play by Bridges.

From the National Party website: Groundwork not done to lift lockdown

The decision for New Zealand to stay locked down in Level 4 shows the Government hasn’t done the groundwork required to have us ready, Opposition Leader Simon Bridges says.

“The public has done a great job of self-isolating and social distancing. The entire country has made huge sacrifices to ensure the four week lockdown was effective.

“Unfortunately the Government hasn’t done enough and isn’t ready by its own standards and rhetoric. New Zealand is being held back because the Government has not used this time to ensure best practice of testing and tracing and the availability of PPE hasn’t been at the standard it should have been.

One can always claim the Government ‘hasn’t done enough’ in dealing with a problem, they will never have done enough in some people’s eyes. But I think many people will see things differently.

“The rate of testing for the first half of lockdown was low, work has only just begun on surveillance testing to confirm whether community transmission is occurring. Tracing is the biggest challenge and experts have identified major shortcomings in the methods being used by the Government.

“This is a real shame as businesses will suffer further damage and that will lead to poor health outcomes as a result of the huge stress this will cause for a lot of people.

“Rapid and easily accessible testing for workers with symptoms will be essential to give small businesses the confidence needed to get back to work.

“I’m sure many Kiwis feel frustration that we still can’t do many things Australians have done through the entire lockdown period, at great cost in terms of jobs and livelihoods, with similar health outcomes.

“I now worry that the harm of staying in lockdown will be greater than if we were to come out. We will no doubt see a rise in mental health problems and stress related illnesses.

“I also have real concerns about the delay in healthcare for some people, like cancer treatment, screening and thousands of operations across the country.

“New Zealanders can be proud of the sacrifices they have made during this difficult time. The Government must now move as fast as it can to sort out the issues with tracing, testing and PPE so we can get our country moving again.”

The lockdown has been extended by just 5 days, and only two of those days are normal business days. That’s not going to make much difference after a 4 week lockdown.

Last week David Farrar was complaining at Kiwiblog that two days was not long enough notice for businesses: We need more than 48 hours notice

I think this shows the lack of understanding of business.

Many businesses will need more than 48 hours notice to properly re-open. There are shifts and rosters to be organised, materials and supplies to be ordered etc etc.

The more notice you can give, the quicker the economy can start to recover.

So businesses have now been given a week notice, but I presume at that stage Farrar wanted earlier notice rather than a later lockdown lifting.

Those who didn’t want the lockdown as it was (some of them may have complained about not doing enough soon enough) might feel vindicated by Bridges’ criticisms, but it’s likely to make little difference to most public opinion. There are a lot of people who want the lockdowns to protect themselves and their families – for example some school principles, teachers and early childhood workers have expressed concerns about reopening too soon and object to being used as baby sitters to allow businesses to restart more easily.

The statement from Bridges was also posted on his Facebook page. There have been 17K comments. I’m not going to go through all of them, but the ‘most relevant’ comments were critical of Bridges, like:

 I’m not holding my breath for Simon/Nats to come up with a positive, sensible and workable answer to anything

I think that’s unfair, some of Bridges criticisms are fair enough to question, like the early rate of testing and ability to trace contacts, but that’s unlikely to change any minds. And most of the criticism has blown back on Bridges. This one got 3K likes:

Sorry Simon, you sound like you are scraping the bottom of the barrel. It’s been a pretty good display of leadership by the government. If your aim is to display leadership then that may require you giving credit where it is due.

4.3K likes:

I did not Vote Labour but what I am proud of is the way Jacinda has lead us through this unprecedented time. Thank goodness Simon your not leading us through this because I’d put my hand on my heart and believe we would be in a worse situation. Jacinda Thankyou for showing leadership , strength , guidance and persistence on what and still is a challenge for us all.

Leader of the Opposition is a difficult enough job in normal times, particularly during a crisis, so it’s difficult for Bridges to be seen to supporting the Government generally but criticising them where appropriate. It’s hard enough picking battles wisely, and even harder to not to sound like you are opposing for the sake of opposing.

This is a fairly mild rebuke from bridges anyway and is unlikely to change any minds, nor change the actions of the Government  – they can’t change how things were being done a month ago anyway, so that’s a lame target.

Leave a comment

34 Comments

  1. David

     /  21st April 2020

    From a business owners perspective its frustrating, the extension is because of Anzac weekend and she is worried about a few people going to their holiday homes. I think the lockdown has been a success and while I thought it was too brutal its done and worked, she was way too slow on border quarantine but its a good job well done.
    I think it reflects her lack of business experience and her cabinets, its 2 days work for people who are probably still working from home but for many others its 4 another days and the rent needs paid, the guys need paying and we need to start earning ASAP. For retail and hospitality and gyms etc. its a 5 day extension. For job seekers the same.
    That Bridges gets a bit of grief on this is its probably workers who would like another 5 days off work while getting paid, cant blame them giving him a bit of grief.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  21st April 2020

      [Deleted, don’t make false or derogatory assertions. PG]
      Your standard back handed compliments regarding the P.M.
      You have mastered the art of ‘damning with faint praise’.

      Reply
      • David

         /  21st April 2020

        Or its a balanced post and its correct and you have nothing except assault to fall back on.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  21st April 2020

          Its definitely not balanced at all.
          You have a bias .Like some business owners you put revenue before human safety.
          My observations of your post would withstand any impartial scrutiny as being completely accurate.

          Reply
          • Pink David

             /  21st April 2020

            “Like some business owners you put revenue before human safety.”

            You put your own self-interest over those of other people’s safety every time you get into a car. I don’t know how you live with yourself.

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  21st April 2020

              Please expand on that…
              Getting into a car is not pursueing …revenue….apples with apples..please.

            • Gezza

               /  21st April 2020

              That’s a fair enuf comment. You need a more relevant analogy there Pinky

            • Pink David

               /  21st April 2020

              “Getting into a car is not pursueing …revenue”

              You put people at risk for your own interest. That is a simple truth. Why you are driving does not change that equation. If you are driving to work then you are pursuing…revenue.

              If you put a priority on other people’s safety, you would never drive.

              You are on an identical moral level to David, if not less so given David likely has staff he would like to keep employed as well, so he is serving their interests as well as his own.

            • Blazer

               /  21st April 2020

              No Pink David…trying to substitute ‘revenue’ for ‘your own interest’ =fail.
              Also you make far too many assumptions…regarding,if,where to and why I may be driving…there are many alternative scenarios.

              Do I even know how to ..drive? .

            • Pink David

               /  21st April 2020

              “You need a more relevant analogy there Pinky”

              The analogy is quite exact. The risk for anyone under the age of 65 from Covid is significantly less than that of a road death commuting to work. The risk calculation has been done by Dr. John Ioannidis at Stanford.

              By getting behind a wheel, Blazer is putting society at a similar risk to David opening his business, if not higher.

              If ‘human safety’ is an absolute, driving would be prohibited. As would all human activities.

      • Blazer

         /  21st April 2020

        Pretty pedantic.Only asked a question on whether he had a well know cereal for breakfast.

        Is did you have Weet Bix for breakfast acceptable?

        Reply
        • You didn’t ask a question. And I’m not going to get into extended discussions over this, you either take notice (you’ve been told often enough already) or lose direct commenting privileges.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  21st April 2020

            Take notice, B. Be a shame for us to have wait around like I do for Lurchy’s to see what comments make it through the gate & whether they’re still relevant to anything now 😀

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  21st April 2020

              I certainly accept the over riding blog principle…’my rules’ .
              Consistent interpretation of commonly used terms is clearly a major flaw in my comments…. 🙂

            • They are actually “our rules” with the aim of being for the greater good here. If minor name calling and assertions and attempted personal diagnoses are left to run then they inevitably escalate into unproductive shit fights. Those whose comments are moderated are being protected by similar moderating or compliance with our rules.

            • Blazer

               /  21st April 2020

              given that a nic like Bojo is used by basically all international media and every social media site, it is extremely unlikely to test the ‘greater good’ rationale.
              ‘our rules’ can tolerate H1 and H2 ,unsurprisingly.

            • “is used by basically all international media and every social media site”

              That’s basically bull.

              One simple check – a search on bojo on Google news gets 188 thousand hits and with boris excluded that drops to 111 thousand. A search on “Boris Johnson” returns 45.8 million hits.

              Some nicknames get through here when I’m not checking all the time, but I will usually moderate any with some exceptions depending on context.

    • Duker

       /  21st April 2020

      ” For retail and hospitality and gyms etc. its a 5 day extension. For job seekers the same.”
      Gyms and hospitality arent going back next week no matter the day

      They are level 1 or 2 starts. And unlikely to have many customers at that

      Reply
      • David

         /  21st April 2020

        Think about it the 2 weeks at level 3 is starting 5 days later so everyone is pushed out 5 days.

        Reply
  2. David

     /  21st April 2020

    Bridges also makes a good point about the health system, I am surprised that they havent started elective procedures on a small scale already. The hospitals are largely empty with not a lot to do and its been pretty clear for a week and a half that we were on top of this thing.
    Biopsy,s, heart valves etc etc have a time factor to them and another unnecessary delay is unhelpful.

    Reply
  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  21st April 2020

    The Nats are trying to be all things to everyone which is doomed to fail. They need to pick their enemies carefully and go for them.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  21st April 2020

      On the other hand they could just formulate good policy that resonates with voters ,but that would require a reversal of the dirty politics that has worked so well for them in the past.

      I can see what you mean Al.
      You must be disappointed,but I’m sure Blackland and Topham Guerin will be planning extensive black ops for the coming ..election.Its the Tory way,after all.

      Reply
  4. lurcher1948

     /  21st April 2020

    I follow this parody of Simon Bridges on twitter..

    Soymon Brudges
    @SoymonB
    ·
    Apr 19
    It’ll be interesting tomorrow whether we move to level three, or remain at level four.

    Rest assured I will be clear that it is the wrong decision regardless.

    Jacinda is either throwing the economy or the health of the nation under the bus!

    I would never jeopardize the economy.
    The bottom line is SO true,in fact the whole tweet is so true.money or lifes????

    Reply
    • heh, Bridges’ post on Facebook – parroting the statement on the Nat website – has had over 21,000 comments, almost all negative.

      Like Trump, Bridges is desperately fabricating some sort of perverted political whole cloth out of a humanitarian crisis to dupe his followers into believing he’s relevant

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  21st April 2020

        Too many stupid people with time on their hands, Ishmael. Nothing to boast about unless there was some basis for their opinions.

        Reply
      • Pink David

         /  21st April 2020

        “has had over 21,000 comments, almost all negative”

        Great news. That’s 21,000 people that we can send the bill too.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  21st April 2020

          Bridges supported totally the move to a level 4 lockdown when it was proposed ….. he couldnt jump on that bandwagon fast enough then

          Reply
  5. lurcher1948

     /  21st April 2020

    Simon Bridges, future shown in a picture..the next National leader needs a clearer speaking voice

    Nationals voting future,a total train wreck

    Reply
    • David

       /  21st April 2020

      I bet Ardern had a look on here and saw the sort of stuff her supporters were posting and thought best not let these people out they could be in the same league as my health minister.

      Reply
  6. Newshub looked through the comments on Bridges’ Facebook post and found that people who appear to be legitimate National Party supporters are backing the Government en masse and its decision to extend the lockdown for a week.

    Out of the 100 most recent comments on the post at the time of viewing it, Newshub found that four were in favour of the Opposition leader’s remarks while 96 were opposed.

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2020/04/national-supporters-threaten-to-abandon-simon-bridges-after-facebook-post-criticising-covid-19-lockdown-extension.html

    Reply
  7. Reply
    • Duker

       /  21st April 2020

      Stories in Aussie papers are saying in Victoria the conservative opposition has done its own polls nad should lay off ‘partisan’ criticism of their state governments Covid response as the public in general strongly supports the lockdown and other actions.

      Reply
  8. pythagoras

     /  21st April 2020

    Now is not the time to undermine the extension to the Level 4 lockdown that was recommended by the Director-General of Health and has been adopted by the government. It’s vital to keep the public onside and stay the course. Level 3 will not be much different from Level 4, for most people. Of course everyone is fed up, but there’s still a ways to go and to blow it now risks losing everything. Just look at almost any other country (except for Australia, Iceland, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea, which are rare exceptions to the deep shit most of the rest of the world is facing) and take note that the WHO is predicting the worst is yet to come.

    Simon Bridges is no Donald Trump in terms of influence, but it is annoying that he is trying to match in terms of stupidity by seeking attention for himself in this way. Totally stupid and reckless of Simon to engage in politicking and run the risk of inciting public backlash of the type seen in the United States and encouraged by Trump.

    Reply
  1. Bridges misjudged Facebook, media and public lockdown sentiments | Your NZ

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