In A Newspaper, Matthew Hooton informs us that Jacinda will get us through. Chris Trotter gets poetic with his ‘the incredible lightness of being Jacinda’, appearing to have taken leave of his senses. And then Paul Little’s warm and fuzzy ‘I’m glad Jacinda’s got our backs for the next wee while’ rounds it all off.

A largely left-leaning, Ardern loving media, do not want to ask the tough questions as they would had National been in power. Apart from the likes of John Armstrong, they look for the positive and skim the surface and not with a critical eye.

The lockdown and self-isolation is a necessary move but that does not mean we should stop critically questioning the government. Many have concentrated on Ardern’s media appearances to speak on the crisis, where she acquits herself well. However, this crisis is not just about optics; it is about their decisions and actions.

Their welcome announcement since the lockdown, of tougher measures at Auckland airport, has turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. For example, just 6 (or so) people have been quarantined out of about 360 arrivals on Thursday. People can be infected with the virus and show no symptoms and could be bringing the virus with them to infect others with whom they travel home; or could have been on the same fights as the 8 Air NZ flight crew who are now infected. 

Duncan Garner, a voice in the media wilderness, has been onto this and questioning why new arrivals since the shutdown have all not been quarantined. I am with him on this. 

This has been the government’s weakness all along; poor or nonexistent monitoring at Auckland airport, backed up by widespread anecdotal evidence from international arrivals. 

Michael Woodhouse, Shadow Spokesman for Health informed us last month the form being given to travellers on arrival was a generic one National had produced some 6 years ago. And the pandemic plan being used by the government was produced by the National government in 2017 and has not been updated. 

Woodhouse also called in the House for an investigation into why an Iranian woman, complaining of feeling unwell on arrival, was allowed through Auckland airport, untested, (before an NZ flight ban on Iran), then admitted to North Shore Hospital and not tested for 4 days. She was found to have the coronavirus, and 56 staff had to self-isolate for 14 days.

It took the government until 19th March to update a customs form to include specific questions about the coronavirus. Jenny Salesa, Minister for Customs, was explaining it and waving it about during parliamentary question time. 

And the matter of the lack of testing kits has been a problem all along. Did the Ministry of Health not learn the pitfalls of being unprepared from the measles outbreak? They could have ordered these back in January or February if their preparation had been robust.

There has been little drilling down into the nitty-gritty of this emergency by media and there have been accusations of politicking when National tries to bring up these issues.

There are no such problems in the US where the Trump-hating (shoutiest) media are not afraid to ask the hard questions and even on occasion make stuff up if it suits their narrative. Our media here get their news feeds from the left-wing news outlets. So much for balanced, investigative journalism in this country…

The US are fortunate they have a good-sized right-wing media to give a balance and some evidence is even emerging of bipartisanship in this time of crisis with the signing of the huge two trillion dollar economic recovery bill.

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