If you ever have any doubt that this Government has a credibility problem, you only had to tune into the latest sermon from the Pulpit of Truth to confirm it.
This is a government, don't forget, that Jacinda Ardern promised would be the most transparent administration that we have ever experienced. It'd be a pure as the driven snow.
Two women have been holding Northland hostage for the past week. They crossed the border illegally to get there and travelled widely in the far north.
While there one of them returned a weak positive test for Covid and a second test on her return to Auckland confirmed she had the virus. The other one went to ground, disappeared from sight and was finally found earlier this week hiding out in West Auckland.
She was taken into custody, tested positive, and is now in quarantine. Neither woman has co-operated with authorities as to where they'd been or what they'd been up to.
From the pulpit, there's been nothing but obfuscation. Covid Minister Chris Hipkins was asked whether the people in Northland were owed an explanation as to what they have been up to.
The answer was irritatingly obscure with Hipkins saying yes, they "absolutely deserve" an explanation and the two people who can provide it should share that with the authorities so they can share it where there's a public health rationale for doing so.
Both Hipkins and his fellow pastor Ashley Blancmange told us there's a wariness of people coming forward over their dealings with these two women.
The Minister was asked whether the reluctance is because criminal activity was involved but he wouldn't speculate.
He then dug himself deeper into a dark, deep hole saying it was possible that the activities that people were engaged in Northland mean that those same people there had gone to ground.
The shovelling continued.
"Ah they're concerned about potentially exposing some other things, some other aspects of their lives and we won't be sharing them publicly unless there's a very good reason to do so," Hipkins stammered.
Keeping the locked down people of Northland, a bit better informed would seem to be a pretty good reason for sharing some information about these two recalcitrants. They're happy enough to talk about truck drivers who end up in a spot of bother.
So, the obvious was put to Hipkins; why doesn't he just come out and say they're sex workers? That's not the information he has, he protested, adding there's a lot of speculation but that's not the information.
So, what were they doing in the north that has made people so wary about coming forward?
Well, that's the information they have but aren't prepared to share which simply fuels the speculation.
In this case, knowledge makes them look powerless.
And the Pulpit of Truth is fast becoming the Pulpit of Strewth.
Barry Soper is a New Zealand political journalist, and has been featured regularly on radio and television since the 1970s. Currently, Soper's main role is political editor at Newstalk ZB, a radio network in New Zealand.
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