The government’s tone-deafness to total border quarantine until yesterday will contribute massively to the approaching economic devastation.
Jacinda has managed the public relations side of the crisis magnificently. However, as Sean Plunket also said yesterday on his Working Group, Dr Ashley Bloomfield and other officials made the key decisions which led to the lockdown. She is merely the front person.
My belief is that Bloomfield has been forced to take this course as Ardern dug her heels in initially and refused to fully quarantine, against his advice. With the Opposition on her case since February to adopt tough border controls (and questioning individual cases such as the unwell, untested Iranian woman) that was all the incentive she needed to ignore the Director General as well.
Also, she was a tad distracted by the approaching one-year commemoration of the Christchurch massacre and mindful of her global PR obligations (despite the Muslim community making it clear they do not commemorate this way). Huge pressure on her to cancel this and the Pasifika Festival from Bloomfield and other officials did not dissuade her until the day before the event.
CRUCIALLY HER MIND WAS NOT FULLY ON THIS PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS UNTIL AFTER 15 MARCH.
Ardern’s Achilles heel is always her adherence to ideology. In this case, as the darling of open borders, she was reluctant to go the whole hog to fully quarantine returning Kiwis, after declaring our borders closed on March 20th.
Reliance on the public to self-isolate correctly is unreliable. This will work …for most. It is always the minority who let us down. Some intentionally, others ignorant of the rules. Gosh even her own wayward health minister couldn’t grasp the rules, and he supposedly set them!
Adherence to such things as ‘human rights’ detract from the immediate issue of a life or death situation and are actually irrelevant in a crisis. (We have tragically seen this in Italy where the choice of whom to sacrifice had to be made in their overburdened hospitals)
The Green branch of Ardern’s government would have been in her ear on this. Another reason why they must be toast come the September elections. (or whenever)
Only with esteemed epidemiologists, health officials, the media and the opposition on her case – along with National’s 24-hour 40,000-person petition – did she finally cave.
Let’s be clear. She had not been planning this all along. Her reported narrative to the media makes a lie of this assertion. In her naivety, she was all for trusting returning kiwis.
The best scenario of full quarantine of the border from February or early March would have been a massive logistical undertaking costing possibly 100 million dollars, or much more.
NO JACINDA, IT WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN AN IMPOSSIBLE TASK. Only little minds who are not agile enough and strategically and intellectually unable to take on the massive logistics planning requirements would fail. Say no more.
We could have avoided shutting down New Zealand completely and putting our economy into free fall and the massive $20-30 billion we are now borrowing to keep the economy afloat.
The $100-million-plus cost of fully quarantining our borders much earlier would have been chicken feed, compared to what we are now facing and the massive burden being placed on generations to come.
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