Duncan Garner: The Government and the Ministry of Health have let New Zealand down

Opinion 22/06/2020

OPINION: The AM Show host, Duncan Garner.

To say what's been happening at the border is a shambles is a giant understatement.

It's a bloody mess, and the Government and the Ministry of Health have let us all down.

The easy bit for the Government was asking us to go into lockdown - we did the hard work. Their hard bit was implementing the plan at the border.

They have failed miserably.

The ministry looks incompetent and the Government was clearly oblivious - not asking the right questions, not overseeing it, not sending the right messages, not spending enough money and not sending in enough staff.

Why has it taken so long to get the full picture of the chaos behind the scenes?

It's taken 20,000 returning passengers before the stories of people leaving without being tested have come to light - parties in the rooms, kids cramming the corridors, no masks at the airport on arrival and no compulsory testing. Then we mixed new arrivals with those who were about to leave quarantine.

In short, it's been woeful and full of holes. Which brings me to transparency - or the lack of it.

The Prime Minister said last week Air Commodore Darryn Webb had been appointed to clear up the shenanigans. Turns out he'd been there for a month.

And the appointment of Minister Megan Woods as the new broom only confirms to me the Prime Minister's total lack of confidence in Health Minister David Clark.

He's effectively been sacked - but keeps his job?

Full pay, still in Cabinet, but what on earth does he do all day?

If this mess isn't sorted and the pain extends to wider New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern should not rule out an 11th hour backlash at the polls as Kiwis mull over toying with Todd from National.

Of course, the polls don't suggest that just yet, but it takes hard work to win respect and credibility - and just seconds to lose it.