Ryan Bridge: Don't be fooled by the spin at 1pm

The AM Show 23/08/2021

OPINION: I'm here to tell you this morning - don't be fooled by the spin at 1pm. 

I'm still in disbelief that the Prime Minister and her army of spin doctors don't think we, the public, can't see through the parade of justifications and political messages being pumped our way before, the obedient subjects we are, are finally given the vital health information we've been waiting all day for. 

Let's look at Saturday's press conference first - bear in mind, you've been locked up in your house for four days now, the kids are screaming in the background, but you need this information.

"I want to start today by sharing some good news," Ardern began. 

Oh oh, you know you're in trouble - good news is code for 'spin'. 

And this one's a doozy. You see, the Government knows it's cocked up the vaccine rollout, so they're desperate to spin that we haven't. So we get spoon-fed good news and reports of daily records being reached.

"So far, 72 percent of New Zealanders aged 40-plus are either booked or have been vaccinated with at least one dose," Ardern said. 

Just to be clear, our Prime Minister is not saying 72 percent of us are vaxxed. She's not saying 72 percent of adults are vaxxed. She's not even saying 72 percent of anybody has been vaxxed. 

She's saying 72 percent of people aged over 40 have had either one jab, just one, or have merely booked themselves in to be vaxxed - which is completely useless information. They don't even have enough jabs in the country right now to cover them all.

That's like a chef bragging about how many bookings he's got at a restaurant for the next three months - not how many people he fed that night. And he doesn't even know if he can feed them yet. 

It's bizarre and it's spin, and spin on its own is fine. It's politics.

But spin like this, before you've told scared and desperate Kiwis - trying to corral the kids to shut up for five minutes so you can hear one, how many goddamn cases have we got and two, did I visit a location of interest - is, well, pretty shameless. 

It didn't stop there though - the word our Prime Minister uses to describe the fact we can both test and vaccinate, all at the same time - have a listen.

"The fact that we have achieved both these results on the same day is extraordinary," she said.

Extraordinary? In a pandemic we've been wallowing in for 18 months now with a variant that first emerged eight months ago? The fact we can both test and vaccinate at the same time, should be one thing by now - ordinary. Not extraordinary. 

Kiwis expect more from their politicians and bureaucrats - and we're not blindly believing the spin at 1pm either.

Ryan Bridge is filling in as the host of The AM Show.

Magic Talk.