Andrew Little via Getty
Andrew Little via Getty

Lloyd Burr: Little's $644m ICU press release, another reason why I'm cynical when it comes to politics

Opinion 06/12/2021

OPINION: When Labour was in Opposition, it used to scream from the high heavens when the government made announcements on Fridays, or on busy news days. 

They were the days that were good to bury news, when journos were busy, or had clocked off, or there was something else pre-occupying the attention of the masses. 

They would be the likes of a document dump or controversial news that was so blatant that you could see the cynicism oozing from the Beehive.  

Friday was one of these examples. 

As the country moved to the traffic light system, and pubs and bars could finally open in Auckland, Health Minister Andrew Little dropped a $644m press release. 

As Aucklanders were clocking off, and flocking to the local, the government was casually announcing a more than half-billion-dollar boost for intensive care units. 

For months, the government’s been criticised for its lack of investment in the preparedness of our critical health infrastructure. 

Not enough ICU and HDU beds. Not enough staff. Not enough prep despite all the time they had to prepare. 

Time after time, Little had defended the state of our country’s ICU infrastructure. 

Then as most of Auckland was at the pub, and the country was celebrating Freedom Day, and Freedom Day celebrations dominated headlines and news sites and bulletins, a press release popped into the inbox: Funding for Extra ICU Capacity. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great announcement - and it’s a needed announcement. 

Nurses message me all the time warning me about the dire states of EDs and ICUs and HDU. 

I’m stoked they’re getting funding and resources.  

But the way the government has done it looks like they’re trying to hide something, trying to shirk being held accountable for this last-minute admission that ICUs are not equipped to cope with a deluge of covid cases. 

It’s even weirder that the day before the announcement, Little’s office rang us and offered him up for our show that afternoon. 

He came on, didn’t even mention this funding boost, then 24 hours later, announced it. 

All very weird. 

All very unusual. 

And just another reason why I can be cynical when it comes to politics.

Catch Lloyd Burr Live every weekday from 4pm on Magic Talk.