Several questions have arisen in the wake of Health Minister David Clark’s admission he breached lockdown rules twice, one of which is why was he in Dunedin rather than in Wellington during this unprecedented crisis?
That leads to another question, raised by Chris Trotter: where are the other Ministers?
Beyond the sterling example provided by the Prime Minister and her Finance Minister, New Zealanders could be forgiven for wondering if there is anyone else in the Coalition Cabinet equal to the challenges thrown up by the Covid-19 Pandemic. One has only to consider the curiously disengaged behaviour of Health Minister, David Clark. Yes, there was that ill-advised bike ride, but of even more concern is the fact that, in the midst of a national health emergency, New Zealand’s Health Minister has isolated himself in his Dunedin family home – 600 kilometres south of the capital. Moreover, as citizens’ rights are being necessarily curtailed, why do we hear so little from the Justice Minister and the Attorney-General? With more and more “idiots” flouting the Covid-19 rules, where is the Police Minister?
Shouldn’t Police Minister Stuart Nash be in Wellington, working with officials and available to answer questions given the draconian powers police have under the state of emergency?
Shouldn’t Justice Minister Andrew Little be concentrating on the crisis rather than trying to rush through the contentious Bill on prisoner voting?
Civil Defence officials are regularly fronting the media, where is their Minister Peeni Henare?
MBIE has a huge job working out what’s an essential business and what’s not. Where is their Minister Phil Twyford and why isn’t he at the media briefings?
Phone and internet enable good communication but conversations and deliberations at a distance are second best when compared with being on the spot.
The response to Covid-19 has been likened to a war. Shouldn’t there be a war cabinet, albeit at the two metre distance required for anyone outside their bubbles, working to not only deal with the health crisis but formulating the plan that will be needed to counter the economic and social challenges that are already apparent?
It doesn’t need a whole of government approach – and given the three parties in this one that wouldn’t be advisable. But it does need more than a cabinet of two.
Could it be that the crisis has shown the shallowness of talent in the government and that as Chris Trotter says, we could be forgiven for wondering if there is anyone else in the Coalition Cabinet equal to the challenges thrown up by the Covid-19 Pandemic?
Is the reason the reason there isn’t a new Health Minister because there isn’t anyone else up to the job?
This begs another question: if they’re not equal to dealing with these challenges, are they equal to dealing with the challenges the recovery will pose?