Military dealing with Ministry of Health failures

Air Commodore Webb along with a bunch of military personnel have been appointed to manage the Covid-19 quarantining after failures by the Ministry of Health.

While The Standard has mostly been busy avoiding the issues and trying to divert to criticism of the Opposition, in a post praising Director General of the Ministry of Health Ashley Bloomfield (and again piling in to the Opposition) there is an interesting comment from Wayne Mapp.

Actually both the DG and the Minister are both responsible for the failure of the staff of MOH. It is part of the role of the DG as CE to be responsible. That is why he gets such a high salary.

Now that is not to say that the DG would have direct knowledge of the failures. But he is responsible for fixing the failures. I personally think the DG has been quick to get on top of this. No human system is perfect, but the DG has done as well as anyone could have possibly done.

In this case Air Commodore Webb has been appointed to do the actual fix, no doubt with the agreement  of the DG, perhaps he was even proposed by the DG.

In fact the DG has been in the military as an RMO. A very good one at that. He was the RMO in my old unit of 3 Auck North. So the DG would have a very good sense of the capability of the military.

I suspect that DG concluded that the senior MH staff were not up to managing quarantine. Which is not surprising. I can’t imagine MH staff would have the skill set to manage something like mandatory quarantine. That is more likely within the domain of those used to disciplined organisation.

Maybe things will run better now military expertise is in charge.

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33 Comments

  1. NOEL

     /  23rd June 2020

    Wasn’t the isolation prior to NZ Def involvement a AOG responsibility?

    Reply
  2. NOEL

     /  23rd June 2020

    Interesting no comment on new rules. Previously tests were voluntary on legal advice.
    Now mandatory. Where is the informed consent brigade?

    Reply
      • Gezza

         /  23rd June 2020

        From the article, 17 June 2020:

        “As two new confirmed Covid-19 cases broke an almost month-long streak of no infections, people in mandatory quarantine have been told that swab testing is voluntary. It goes against what many people believed was a compulsory test for those entering New Zealand – particularly those coming in from countries where Covid-19 has run rife.

        Since April, everyone arriving in the country has had to spend 14 days in managed isolation or a higher level of quarantine if they have symptoms. The Ministry of Health earlier announced that from June 8, all travellers who arrive in the country would be tested for Covid-19 at their respective facilities.

        But some guests under mandatory quarantine in Auckland hotels have revealed that they have been told the Covid-19 swab tests are voluntary – not mandatory.

        A woman staying at the Grand Millennium, in downtown Auckland, said a pamphlet guests had received said the choice was ultimately theirs. “I’m worried that they’re not testing everyone,” she said. “Isolation is so difficult, but this one thing is not compulsory. This country is doing such an incredible job, we can’t mess this up.”

        The pamphlet, seen by the Herald, tells guests they would be tested on the 3rd and 12th day of their stay at the hotel. “The Covid-19 testing is currently on a voluntary basis and will be done via nasal swab.”

        Although the hotel had been very comfortable and accommodating during the woman’s quarantine, the lack of mandatory testing worried her.”

        Classic left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing & systemic monitoring reporting & communication failure stuff.

        At least we are being assured now that everyone knows the rules & the protocol “expectations” are now clear & being met.

        Reply
        • Incredible job ? I’ll say it’s incredible.

          We should have remembered that the man who had to go to court to be let out was REFUSED a test.

          Reply
        • The DG said that as its technically a medical procedure, then those in quarantine have to give consent. For those who choose not to be tested, the DG has said they can expect to remain in quarantine for an additional 14 days (i.e, 28 days in total.)

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  24th June 2020

            Yes, that what he’s saying now. The issue is that that is not what those in quarantine were being told until all the screw ups, confusion & releases without tests were brought to national attention.

            Reply
  3. John J Harrison

     /  23rd June 2020

    Under this administration no one is EVER held accountable.
    Despite many public calls to do so the PM NEVER apologizes for this fiasco which she was oh so quick to claim credit for when things were seemingly going well.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  23rd June 2020

      learnt that from the master of never apologise John Key.
      Had to laugh that even after Key resigned his consigliere Eagleson who stayed on for English was still defending his old boss with comments like .” The PM( Key) is always right even if documents disagree.”
      Key never even took responsibility for a new order of VIP BMWs even though he had signed it off.!

      Reply
      • One cannot resign someone else.

        As the PM was quoting inanely high possible death rates and basking in the fawning of those who grovelled and thanked her for saving them, she can’t not take responsibility now for actions that would, one imagines, endanger the entire country and result in thousands of deaths…

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  23rd June 2020

          Well, to be fair – she was fronting media yesterday & specifically assuring Hosking, a sworn enemy/constant critic, that all is now in order & that some of his claims she flat out disputed.

          Reply
      • The statement about John Key is arrant nonsense.

        He is on record as saying that it could have been handled better. He also said that the BMWs were bought at a very large discount, because it’s good publicity for BMW when these are seen so often on the news as government cars.

        Reply
  4. I think part of the reason of it all is that MoH actually has a small operational arm. It funds the operational arm, but is largely an overseer. Managers wouldn’t really ‘get’ the logistics side of things

    Reply
    • NOEL

       /  23rd June 2020

      Under the previous operations isolation wasn’t sole responsibility . MoH providing policy with DHBs providing staffing. Security and hotel sourcing MBIE etc. Each reporting to its own Minister.

      Reply
      • Thanks for clarifying that. It looks like the government has realised the deficit of multiple reporting lines… Which I’m guessing is why Megan Woods has effectively taken on the role now.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  23rd June 2020

          Yes, well putting Woods in charge assures us that all media questions will be robustly replied to in stentorian tones, but as I’ve commented below, how this All Government Response Team fits together & why SHE’s now the mouthpiece for it when Ardern’s preferring not to be is still a puzzle.

          Reply
          • Not really; she (PM) now has one more level down which blame can be shuffled.

            Her refusal to apologise was a strategical mistake, and although this might seem like nitpicking, her tweeting the cake and seeming to wear a different outfit each time she’s on the news are not good ideas. Many people are now out of work and her wearing obviously expensive clothes (I do like the green dress, though) when we know that the promised paycut for her and the MPs still hasn’t happened months later draws attention to the difference in circs. The cake’s appearance was unfortunately timed in the middle of a crisis.

            Reply
    • Trevors_elbow

       /  24th June 2020

      So they are in a governance role… and absolute in that role should have been capable of putting policy, processes and reporting in place.

      Plainly they have not performed that role and nor has Ms Ardern and her Ministers….

      Incompetence written in large glowing letters hovers over Ms Arderns ministry..

      Light Rail Auckland.. 3 years no delivery: total fail
      Kiwibuild… not a lot delivered an a new Ministry in complete disarray for 2 years: total fail
      Covid19 Quarantine.. testing shambles… non existent border security w/ voluntary isolation then a poorly managed proper quarantine: total fail while destroying the economy at the same time.

      Labour ombishambles… Helen Clark must be wondering wtf is going on…

      Reply
  5. Corky

     /  23rd June 2020

    Is this the same DF who couldn’t get their personnel carriers into the Hercules? Or bought a 20 year supply of truck tyres for their trucks. Unfortunately the tyres were the wrong specification.

    This will be interesting.

    Reply
  6. Stuff: Auckland isolation hotel goes from Fawlty Towers to tight ship

    Elgin said there had recently been a big improvement in how the facility was run, with more Defence Force staff and a sense the military was taking charge.

    “I’ve definitely noticed quite a big shift with the Defence Force being here.”

    Guests were now confined to their rooms while new arrivals were processed, and the groups were kept completely separate until the newer returnees were confirmed to be Covid-free.

    “They’re completely isolated from us until they’re tested, which is quite beneficial in that it keeps that concern down.”

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/news/300039789/auckland-isolation-hotel-goes-from-fawlty-towers-to-tight-ship

    That’s how I thought it should always have been from the start.

    Reply
  7. Gezza

     /  23rd June 2020

    I’m puzzled that John Ombler, the Controller of the All Government Response to Covid-9 fronted the media at the start of Level 4 lockdown, but ever since he seems to have been the invisible man. Apart from this report of 4 days ago:
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12340800
    Ombler seems to have completely disappeared below the surface of the stormy waters.

    Why isn’t he fronting the media to explain exactly who’s in charge of what & how it all fits together? The reporting lines between the PM & the various “people in charge” like Ashley Bloomfield & Digby Webb seem to miss him out altogether.

    Shouldn’t it have been his role & responsibility to ensure everything that is supposed to be happening IS actually happening & for fronting up to the public & media? What exactly is he doing & being paid presumably megabucks for?

    Has anyone seen a high-level structure chart from the government for the All Government Covid-19 Response Team? Or anything setting out who’s responsible for what & how it all fits together?

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  23rd June 2020

      This was last week
      “Two top officials were grilled at select committee today over New Zealand’s response to tackling Covid-19.
      Brook Barrington, chief executive of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and John Ombler, controller of the all-of-government Covid-19 response, faced at times testy questioning from National committee members Melissa Lee and Erica Stanford…”
      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12340800

      Nota bene
      “But he said hotels had never been designed to manage isolation and it should not be a surprise that there had been problems for officials and hotel staff.
      “It has been a major challenge,” he said.
      “It has been a learn-as-we-go exercise. There was no manual for this. We’ve not done it before.”

      keyboard warriors know the best always however…

      The other invisible man speaks
      “Committee chair Jian Yang noted the high ratings New Zealand had received internationally for its response but challenged Barrington on whether earlier and tighter border controls would have prevented the more extreme lockdown the government adopted and the deeper economic harm that had resulted.”
      What a load of convoluted nonsense, as if the actions taken havent been a huge sucess

      So the idea that we went too late/ too early/lasted too long/shut the borders/open the borders nonsense is still out there

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  23rd June 2020

        keyboard warriors know the best always however…

        Well, you should know all about that, firing off volleys of unrelated whatabouts on a regular basis as you do.

        Yes I know all that above: it was in my (same) link above. What I wanted to know is why doesn’t the supposed top of the All Government bureaucrats heap do the media briefings when the omnishambles balloon goes up?

        What exactly is the dude’s job?

        How come Megan Woods as Housing Minister & the Air Force Wallah are now doing the talking to the Press, & the PM?

        It sounds like the thing’s being pulled together which is good, but how does all this “All Government” structure fit together? It’s blimmin amorphous. Have you got a chart or some diagram of the structure & responsibilities? I haven’t seen this explained. Has anyone media asked?

        Reply
  8. NOEL

     /  23rd June 2020

    Wasn’t that long ago that people where taking the Gummitt to court for perceived illegal Government directives. Now a swab in you nasal passage is no longer voluntary and “you go back to your room on my instruction” is been adhered to.

    Reply
    • Pink David

       /  23rd June 2020

      That is because NZ’ers have accepted, and often cheered for, their lost of liberty.

      Reply
  9. Alan Wilkinson

     /  23rd June 2020

    As I said on the other post, expecting bureaucrat paper pushers to actually manage or do something was always doomed. The military or private enterprise has to do it.

    Reply

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