PM furious over poor communication over Covid testing in Auckland

On Friday incorrect official advice was circulated which encouraged people South or West Auckland to have a Covid test.

This wasn’t corrected until Saturday, and the Prime Minister Jacinda Arxdern was reported to be furious.

But a bunch of people on social media seem to have been furious that Ardern was ‘repeatedly questioned’ on it.

The Government’s Unite Against Covid promoted this via their daily newsletter and social media:

Say yes to the test

Widespread testing is a critical part of our COVID-19 elimination strategy. COVID-19 tests are free and should be easy to access for everyone. We have more than 1,100 testing sites nationwide, including at most GPs.

If you’re in South or West Auckland, or if you have a greater risk of poor health outcomes if you were to get COVID-19, even if you don’t have symptoms, please have a test.

If you develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19, wherever you are, please call Healthline (0800 358 5453) or your doctor immediately and have a test.

The Spinoff describes it as:

Some alarmingly poor health communication went out over the weekend, leading to a furious response from the PM. The all-of-government Unite for Covid-19 group basically wrongly everyone in South and West Auckland to get a test, even if they didn’t have symptoms, in a message that stayed online for a full day.

NZ Herald: Incorrect message results in people queuing up for testing

Incorrect messaging telling people in West and South Auckland to get tested even if they don’t have symptoms has resulted in people queuing up at testing stations today.

That mistake resulted in queues of cars snaking out from a Covid-19 testing site in Massey West Auckland.

But Ardern said it had not been reported to her that testing sites have been overloaded.

A witness at a testing station in Massey, said cars were around the corner stretching onto Triangle Rd soon after the station opened at 8am today.

Another witness told the Herald the testing station was a lot busier than it was yesterday and the majority of people were wearing face masks.

United Against Covid said the advice had been removed ‘to avoid confusion’:

That’s a poor response.

RNZ: PM ‘incredibly angry’ over wrong call for South and West Auckland testing:

In a social media post, it said people who live in those areas, or who are at greater risk of poor health outcomes, should get themselves tested.

But at today’s Covid-19 briefing, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said this was an oversimplification.

“That is not the ask coming from health officials currently … from what I understand of that message that has gone out, the detail of the message is correct, some of the topline headings were oversimplified and it is wrong.

“We’re working very hard now to deal with what’s that created within the community and we’re working very hard to correct that.”

She said was “incredibly angry” that it wasn’t clear and the government had to be “very direct in our asks”.

“There’s been an attempt to keep a message simple and it’s just been done badly.”

Jason Walls (NZ Herald): New Zealanders have every right to be ‘incredibly angry’ at the Government over incorrect Covid messaging

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is quite rightly “incredibly angry” at her officials for pushing out incorrect Covid-19 testing information.

But New Zealanders have every right to be incredibly angry at the Government for letting that official message remain unchanged for almost an entire day.

The fact that the stuff-up occurred in the first instance beggars belief.

The information affected roughly 700,000 people in South and West Auckland.

Ardern was “incredibly angry” about this “wrong” information being published on official channels, and rightly so.

She said she was told about the incorrect messaging late this morning and made it clear it needed to be fixed.

But the information was still up at almost 1.30pm.

Officials getting something this major so wrong erodes public trust in the Government.

People need to be able to rely on the Government for key information like this.

Ardern does get off the hook when it comes to the blame for how the stuff-up occurred.

She does not approve every single bit of Government messaging that goes out, she has officials for that.

In fact, she clearly shifted the blame to those officials when pressed about the issue – saying no ministers had uttered that information.

But Ardern needs to take responsibility for what happened next.

The incorrect post went up at roughly 5pm last night; it was reported on by most major news sites and made it to some Sunday newspapers as well.

Despite this, no formal correction notice was issued until the next day, according to Ardern.

And by formal correction notice, Ardern meant the All of Government communications team – the people in charge of the post – had notified newsrooms across the country, telling them the information was wrong.

The Herald, which ran the story that the Government was advising all people in South and West Auckland, received no such notice.

This is despite reporters seeking comment on the post.

In fact, Health Minister Chris Hipkins was interview by MediaWorks radio this morning and made no mention of the fact this critical bit of information was wrong.

Ardern revealed the information was incorrect at her 1pm press conference this afternoon.

Even then, she waited to be asked about the post rather than issuing the correction in her opening statement – a statement watched by hundreds of thousands of people each day.

Ardern said she had made it clear to the officials involved that they needed to fix the error.

Despite this, the post remained on the Unite Against Covid-19 Instagram page until almost 1.30pm.

Ardern should be furious at officials for this botch up – but New Zealanders should be equally as angry at the Government for not fixing the issue faster.

Was Ardern furious that the public was ‘misinformed’ and testing facilities were put under strain? Or because Government handling of this was criticised, and by association she got some poor PR?

On social media quite a few people seemed to be furious with journalists for highlighting the mistake to the Prime Minister.

To some it seems that Ardern is beyond reproach no matter what stuff-ups are made.

Leave a comment

37 Comments

  1. Something the country outside Auckland are concerned about:

    Reply
  2. John J Harrison

     /  31st August 2020

    Pete, just to correct you.
    The message first went out Wednesday last week.
    It was not corrected on Saturday but Sunday PM.
    Both Ardern and Hipkins had ample opportunity to correct this classic case of misinformation but did not.
    They were formally advised Sunday AM but Hipkins never refuted it on radio when he was interviewed nor Ardern .
    Neither front footed this fiasco.
    It was only as a result of a reporters question that Ardern acknowledged that she was extremely “ fruzdrated “.
    Neither front footed hoping it would be swept under the carpet along with all the other SNAFU ‘s.

    Reply
    • Jack

       /  31st August 2020

      Jacinda’s ego is in kindly leading but she united and strengthens rude uncaring people.
      She wants our pity for her frustrations – as though she’s a victim of poor performance?
      What a massive secret ego

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  31st August 2020

        You have discovered something completely novel for you…criticise the P.M and the rabid, right will reward you with an…uptick…woof,woof.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  31st August 2020

          Jason Walls discovered the loony Left will respond with abuse and Cancel Culture.

          One encourages debate and the other deprecates it.

          Reply
        • Jack

           /  31st August 2020

          You’re right Blazer. Approval here rarely happens for me….but things are often not as they seem….
          do you realise you scapegoat yourself? You’re quite a useful fellow…..

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  31st August 2020

            It’s a cross…I can…bear….Jack…..hit the road…_ _ _ _!

            Reply
            • Jack doesn’t know what scapegoat really means.

            • Jack

               /  31st August 2020

              It means Jesus Christ the Saviour only and ever
              It means Jacinda losing her cool and still not learning accountability
              It means Kitty’s day is not going well and it means that’s not my fault
              Kitty’s mean bitching time and again means confusion – cult-like
              Kitty doesn’t know when she’s a scapegoat, and I wish she did
              I wish Jacinda did too

          • More sanctimonious nonsense.

            Do stop trolling, it’s becoming tedious and very tiresome.

            Reply
  3. Tom Hunter

     /  31st August 2020

    This piece from the satirical website ,The Civilian, was published in September last year. It was around a different issue but the modus operandi remains the same, The moment I found out:

    I am every bit as angry as you are.

    I am every bit as disappointed as you must be.

    The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I am running out of patience with them, and the way they continually let us down, while helpless people like you and me stand by and can only watch failure after failure.

    Reply
  4. Reply
  5. John J Harrison

     /  31st August 2020

    Pete, obviously we can only believe the political half of the “ Pulpit of Truth.”
    Ardern has turned lying into an art form.
    She is nothing but an utter disgrace our now bitterly divided country.
    She has never, ever admitted a mistake, corrected a lie or apologized for her government’s destruction of lives, livelihoods or businesses.
    Her only belief is in the retention of power.
    No matter the cost.

    Reply
    • duperez

       /  31st August 2020

      Ah, the Toolbox of Strewth strikes again! 🤣

      Reply
    • Fight4nz

       /  31st August 2020

      The similarities between JJH and Jack become more and more striking.

      Reply
      • John J Harrison

         /  31st August 2020

        Golly gosh, wonder if they are one and the same !
        Paranoia is clearly setting in amongst the left luvvies.

        Reply
        • Pickled Possum

           /  31st August 2020

          #Johnj
          Is that all you can do bro!!??
          Distract … Discredit … Dismiss
          To Destroy?
          No Resolutions just a mouth full of
          Desperation.😂

          Reply
      • What a cruel thing to say about you 😀

        Reply
    • Fight4nz

       /  31st August 2020

      “ She has never, ever admitted a mistake, corrected a lie or apologized for her government’s destruction of lives, livelihoods or businesses.
      Her only belief is in the retention of power.
      No matter the cost.”
      Judith’ epitaph.

      Reply
  6. Now people are being sent other people’s C19 test results. This could explain why some are waiting and waiting and waiting….

    One person has had several strangers’ results texted to them.

    Keystone Kovid Kontrol.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  31st August 2020

      do you have a citation to back up your comments….’I think I sawed it on the..News…or someone told me the ..other day’…does NOT count.

      Reply
      • As I have never said either of those things, and would KNOW if I saw* or had seen it on the news, you are being particularly stupidly insulting.

        * please note; it’s SAW, not SAWED when it’s the past of SEE.

        Reply
    • Pickled Possum

       /  31st August 2020

      #kitty
      Tell your friends who are waiting remind them that they are told at the testing site ..”you will get a text if your negative but sometimes there a lot of people to process, there will be no text and if after 5 days you are concerned ring the number on the Handout ” they give you.
      If you test positive they will ring you its all written on the Handout.

      Reply

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