Recent media posts (June 2021), by three of New Zealand’s top journalists (or is that actually a synonym for opinion-shapers these days?), seemed to have crossed the line and written highly critical pieces concerning our exalted, beloved, much-admired, and deified Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern - you know, our “Saviour” from Covid 19, as described by her Labour supporters.
Firstly Andrea Vance, then Tova O’Brien, and now (29 June 2021), Duncan Garner, have all written scathing articles regarding either the Ardern government’s secret handling of the explosive He Puapua report; the shambolic Covid19 vaccination rollout plan, especially for Group 3; or Ardern’s personal incompetence and understanding in her attempts to explain a proposed new “hate speech” law – see details below.
Remember the early days of the Covid19 outbreak when the Cindy/Ashley 1 pm TV “specials” were broadcast into the living rooms of everyday New Zealanders? The fact that most of us were at work was not the issue. Occupying the seats of the Beehive theaterette were the dozens of fawning, sycophantic journos hanging on to every utterance, every grimace, every earnest hand wringing and waving about, and the fascinating eye- brow gymnastics of their adorable PM.I recall writing a piece at the time entitled “Politics and the Pandemic”, NZCPR, May 2020 etc in which I challenged this adulation and unquestioning treatment of a novice politician by our media, saying nice things like ”we are a team of five million” and “we are all in this together”.
A year on and what do we have? An utter cock-up of the whole Covid19 vaccination rollout. As at 28 June 2021, a huge 7.6% of kiwis have been fully vaccinated. In the UK, the figure is 69%, with 84% of the TOTAL population having received their first jab. Not only are the rollout figures indicative of a complete failure against claimed targets, but large numbers of eligible people still believe it is their local health centre and GP who will give them their shots.
Not so! (Well, some are, but others are not).
If you want your jabs, you are required to contact the local DHB (soon to be scrapped in favour of neo-Marxist centralisation) rather than your GP. This requires you to phone an 0800 number in order to make an appointment. The problem here is that the waiting time in order to actually speak to someone will necessitate your holding the line for, in many cases, well in excess of an hour, listening to crap canned music (we were advised we were number 140 on the waitlist but to hold on, the response time was estimated as at least over one hour!). If you are then fortunate enough to make an appointment, do not be surprised to receive a call back cancelling the appointment. Apparently, some DHB-sponsored agencies keep running out of vaccines. I wonder why, since Ardern and Chippy Hipkins keep bleating om that all is OK in the Covid19 rollout garden?
The writer spent several hours on the phone, with NO response at all. In the end, seventeen emails later, an appointment was finally arranged. Pity those oldies who cannot engage in modern technology-cell phones, computers, and “apps”.
But wait, we are a “team of five million” are we not?
Well, a good deal of the vaccines intended for NZ citizens have apparently been diverted to several of our Pacific neighbours. Obviously, their needs are greater than those of us New Zealanders anxiously awaiting our jabs. Then of course, preference was inexplicably accorded those people who could claim a particular ethnic identity -Maori and Pasifika- because apparently these communities are more vulnerable than others, due to their cultural propensity for co-generational and communal living arrangements. The rollout rules were changed for these groups after the initial rollout plan was published, so obviously somebody reacted to some sort of complaint or political pressure?
So, not only were younger, ethnic minority people given preference, but also their whanau/fono as well. No clinical evidence was provided by the Ardern government to justify these decisions. Can we detect just a slight indication of political preference in some of these decisions?
No! Surely not! Ridiculous!
Note how in more recent times, the TV broadcasts on anything to do with Covid 19 have changed, from the Cindy/Ashley roadshow (look how well we are doing), to the “Chippy” Hipkins/Ashley roadshow-in circumstances where the news is BAD-travel restrictions; lockdown proposals; etc. But when the news is GOOD-vaccinations for children etc, on comes Jacinda again with her now-typical theatrical performances, still crowing about “we are all in this together” and “we are a team of five million”.
Well, we are bloody not!
And where the heck is the Health Minister, Andrew (Angry Andy) Little in all of this political posturing? Should not the Health Minister be fronting all of these broadcasts regarding our public health? Apparently not. Perhaps it should be the original response Minister, Dr Megan Woods? Or has she done a runner also, like former Health Minister David Clark?
No, this whole Covid 19 publicity is political grandstanding- aren’t we doing well? Aren’t we just the bestest country in the whole wide world with such a low incidence of Covid19?
The Covid19 fiasco in New Zealand, with a whopping 7.6% of our “team of five million” vaccinated 18 months on from the first cases in New Zealand, is bizarre-and still Ardern keeps crowing about how well we are doing.
So, why are the journos, overwhelmingly Leftish in their views, turning on our “saviour”, Jacinda Ardern? The answer is that after 18 months of bulldust,smoke and mirrors, they are, finally, coming around to the conclusion that they, along with the gullible and non-thinking majority of New Zealanders, have been mesmerised by a photogenic political novice who in reality has no political experience or political “mana” to fall back on. Her responses to key questions in media interviews are pathetic, almost childish.
Take for example her response when questioned by Duncan Garner if the Covid19 rollout was too slow?(Ref:Newshub, 28 June 2021, “Vaccines not the magic bullet”).
Her response: “if we were higher (in rollout figures),someone else would be lower”. What on earth does this response mean? It is so pathetic, one wonders if Ardern even understood the question.
So, let us return to the interesting situation where a group of New Zealand’s most senior journalists/ celebrities have apparently crossed the line and have started to seriously question Ardern and her neo-Marxist buddies.
Firstly, it was Andrea Vance, senior political journalist with Stuff and one of the few New Zealand journalists with significant international experience (Guardian, Scotsman), in a scathing article dealing with the Ardern government’s secretive withholding of the He Puapua report and it’s ominous manipulation of the media. (Stuff, 6 June 2021). Vance writes ”in my 20-year plus time as a journalist, this government is one of the most thin-skinned and secretive I have experienced,. Many of my colleagues say the same”. She goes on to give several examples of duplicity, evasiveness and secrecy by Ardern and her ministers, particularly foreign Minister Mahuta.
Next, Tova O’Brien, often a noted apologist for the Neo-Marxist Labour government, charges Ardern with misleading the public and shutting down any debate on proposed “hate speech” laws which inter alia, would result in fines and imprisonment for insulting people. Imagine the results regarding social and cultural activists’ continuous insults regarding “colonisers”, “racists” and “white privilege”. We would need more prisons, and Treasury coffers would be overflowing from all the fines! In a particularly barbed article (Newshub Nation, AM Show,28th June 2021), she takes Ardern to task for misleading the public on this issue then shutting down debate-a magnificent “own goal”, according to O’Brien.
And finally, we have Duncan Garner stating (Newshub,29th June 2021) that both Ardern and her Justice Minister Faafoi, have “stuffed up” badly by either not knowing what they were talking about regarding their proposed “hate speech” law, and/or being unable to respond to straightforward questions about the content and meaning of the proposed law change.
It may be too much to hope for, but could these significant criticisms of “Saviour” Jacinda represent a realisation by the nation’s leading journalists/opinion-shapers, that they too have been conned by a political novice whose on-screen theatrical performances have distracted the media away from the really important issues of the day? Could this be a sea-change amongst the media, signalling a return to it’s traditional roles of reporting and investigating the news honestly and impartially? Perhaps our journalists/opinion-shapers have finally realised that wokeism and the” cancel culture” is now being applied to them too?
I think this may well be too much to hope for.
Henry Armstrong is retired, follows politics, and writes.