National plays dirty politics with COVID-19 | The Jackal

19 Jun 2020

National plays dirty politics with COVID-19

Could somebody please get to the bottom of who exactly informed National Party MP Michael Woodhouse about the close contacts two women from the UK had during their trip from Auckland to Wellington?

The pair later tested positive for COVID-19 and may have infected others, giving rise to legitimate questions about just how effective New Zealand’s quarantining of returning overseas travellers actually is?

On Wednesday, RNZ reported:

Woodhouse alleges women with Covid-19 asked for directions 

The two women - who had flown in from the United Kingdom - were granted compassionate leave to drive from Auckland to Wellington without first being tested for Covid-19. 
Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield yesterday said the pair had no contact with anyone else on the drive. 
But National Party health spokesperson Michael Woodhouse told Parliament a "reliable but confidential source" had informed him that story was "not all as it seems". 

For some reason the mainstream media don’t seem very interested in publicising who the National Party informant is.

"They did become disorientated and lost their way coming out of Auckland and needed help to get on the right road," Woodhouse said. 
"They called on acquaintances who they were in close contact with and that was rewarded with even more close contact - a kiss and a cuddle."

What I would like to know is why did Woodhouse sit on this important information pertaining to our national security for two days and why did Todd Muller fail to inform proper authorities about the COVID-19 quarantine breach after he was informed? We should all understand by now that even hours are important when combating the spread of this terrible disease.

By not being forthcoming, the National Party and their propagandists have attempted to make political capital out of other people's misfortune.

They have also unfairly brought Ashley Bloomfield’s honesty into question. This is despite the guy being an exemplary Director General of Health who has managed NZ well through the COVID-19 crisis while other countries are straining under the burden of numerous cases and fatalities. He obviously wouldn’t intentionally mislead the public over such an important issue, because he has nothing to personally or professionally gain from doing so.

So the Government has a real problem on their hands, and I don’t just mean the pressing issue of properly quarantining people who may be COVID-19 positive. They either have a mole in the Ministry of Health leaking to the right wing and/or the National Party is once again using dirty political tactics to undermine people’s faith in the COVID-19 response plan and the Coalition Government.

Of course Michael Woodhouse hasn’t been forthcoming about whom his informant is, but a very big finger is now pointing directly at his fellow National Party MP, Christopher Bishop.

Yesterday, Newshub reported:

Coronavirus: COVID-19 pair released from quarantine after lobbying from National MP Chris Bishop, Labour claims 

Two women released from quarantine before testing positive for COVID-19 were given permission to leave after lobbying from a National MP, Education Minister Chris Hipkins has claimed in Parliament. 
Health Minister David Clark, in response to Hipkins' allegation, said he was aware Hutt South MP Chris Bishop had provided a written positive representation which may have led to the women being granted the exemption. 
"Mr Speaker I am aware of that," Clark said on Thursday. "I just would ask members to be careful around these situations.  
"On the one hand people have been requiring or requesting that people be let go early, on the other hand we have seen the risk this presents to New Zealanders".

So Bishop directly advocated for their early release from quarantine and then remained silent about this while Bloomfield copped all the blame. Bishop also hasn’t actually denied that he's the source of the information that was leaked to media and used by Woodhouse to go on the attack. Clearly he hasn't forgotten any of the dishonest tricks learnt as a tobacco lobbyist.

Even though the National Party has been repeatedly calling for our borders to be opened up, evidently they’re not above using any new COVID-19 cases that result from the easing of restrictions to attack the Government. This is clearly the same old political point scoring from National that Muller said he was going to change.

It must therefore be said that relying on a deadly virus for political gain is both reprehensible and morally repugnant. Instead of playing politics with people's lives, the right wing should be helping New Zealand to get through the COVID-19 crisis. But I guess that's too much to ask for when were talking about the machinations of the nasty National Party.