**Bold italics are my commentary on the transcript.

Heather:

Covid-19 expert Dr Siouxsie Wiles has been labelled a hypocrite for going to the beach with a friend, without masks on, during Level Four lockdown.  A video is doing the rounds on the internet showing Dr Siouxsie and her friend sitting together at Judges Bay in Auckland before her friend then goes for a swim.

She is with me now. Siouxsie, hello.

Siouxsie:

Kia Ora. How are you, Heather?

Heather:

Yeah, I’m okay thank you, did you break the rules?

Siouxsie:

Aah… It sounds like we…it sounds like she might have done by going for a swim. Um…not me though. So…aah…yeah…aah…(laughs). It’s a funny thing, umm I was…I was contacted by the journalist to say “Hey, we have this…” journalist…um Cam Slater saying ”We have footage of you” and I was like oh, okay and he said ”You were with a journalist” and I said no, it’s my friend…one of my mates…she’s not a journalist, and I… I just sort of thought nothing more of it. And then he basically posted this video saying “I’ve got a video of Siouxsie Wiles and she’s been with a journalist on the beach…unmasked.”

Heather:

Okay. So, this woman who’s with you, is part of your bubble, is she?

Siouxsie:

Well…yes, yes, she is.

Heather:

Living in the same house, or different?

Siouxsie:

No, no, she lives on her own. So, the rules are that if someone…someone is living alone they can join another bubble and so she’s part of our bubble.

Heather:

And she has no other bubbles?

Siouxsie:

No, no she’s just on her own.

Heather:

Just with you in your bubble. Okay.

Siouxsie:

Yes.

Heather:

I know that you say she might have broken the rules swimming, but she broke the rules swimming, didn’t she?

Siouxsie:

Aah, yes. You’re not allowed to ocean swim…ocean swim…it’s kind of funny, I guess, umm…aah… because Judges Bay is really shallow…but you’re right…

[Not funny at all, Siouxsie, it’s actually disturbing that a public health adviser, a scientist, flaunts the rules.]

Heather:

Here’s the thing, right? All of us are rubbing up against stuff that sounds stupid.

Siouxsie:

Laughs.

Heather:

Like the butchers who can’t do their jobs and they’re losing their livelihoods, but this is the shit that we have to put up with, right? So, why didn’t you say to her, “you shouldn’t be doing that.”

Siouxsie:

Oh, look, she’s a grown woman, I’m not her mum, right? But I think we’ve both learnt a really important lesson, people are always watching, so everything I do…everything everyone around me does umm…you know…it’s really, really important.

Heather:

Okay. And what about the mask, Siouxsie, because you’re quoted as saying that we should all be putting on masks every time we step out of the door. Why didn’t you guys have them on?

Siouxsie:

Yeah, so we know we wear masks when we’re out cycling and when we got to the beach um…there was very…very few people around so we took them off to have a chat umm…and I was watching this man next to me, just checking that he didn’t come close enough that I thought we should put our masks on, and he didn’t. As it turned out he was obviously filming us, which we didn’t realise.

Heather:

Is that…so is that your health advice, is that in some circumstances we can make a judgement call and take off our masks?

[Please tell the police the public can also make judgement calls when they are away from home, and ask them to reimburse people for their instant fines.]

Siouxsie:

Well, it depends if there’s no…you know, very few other people around and they’re not very far away, then that’s…

Heather:

How many people around us, at what distance would be okay for you?

Siouxsie:

Pause. Oh, look it completely depends on the circumstances, right? So, we were on a pretty deserted beach with very few people around um…and so I made that judgement call that we could have our masks off, and, as I say, I was watching to make sure that nobody got close enough that I thought I would put them back on again.

Heather:

Siouxsie, I know that this probably feels horrific from your end, right? Um…but the trouble here is that you have a profile giving people advice on this. So, there is an expectation that you are setting an example beyond necessarily what everybody else would. You know there’s more expected of you. Do you accept that?

Siouxsie:

Oh yeah, no I totally realize that now. Laughs.

[Wiles is front and centre of media presentations on Covid-19 rules, so how can she not recognise when she broke most of them?]

Heather:

And I wonder if you’ve fallen a bit short of that here. What do you think?

Siouxsie:

Um…well, I guess if that’s what everybody else thinks then um…I will definitely not take my mask off again. Laughs.

[What would Ashley Bloomfield say about Wiles suggesting public opinion is a guide to Level four lockdown rules?]

Heather:

Chuckles. All right then, fair enough. I know this isn’t easy, Siouxsie, thank you, we appreciate it. Siouxsie Wiles, microbiologist.

[An apology for breaking the rules would end the public discourse, so why didn’t she?]

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Heather Du Plessis-Allan Asks Siouxsie Wiles If She Broke Lockdown Rules
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Suze

Suze is an avid reader and writer after a career in accounting starting in the farming industry. 10 years working in the NZ mining industry made her passionate about accessing our resource potential whilst...