Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has held her nerves and opted to continue with the government’s elimination strategy by keeping Auckland’s current lockdown and rest of New Zealand’s Alert level 2 status for 12 more days.
There were concerns in some quarters that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will be under pressure especially after the astounding attack by the opposition leader and her deputy last week and compounded by some aggressive probing in the mainstream media around alleged ineptitude in border management, and eventually blink from her focus of eliminating the Covid-19 virus from the country.
To be fair to the government and her caucus colleagues, including the coalition partners who are collectively behind the decisions of continuing with the elimination strategy. However, in the end, it is left for Prime Minister Ardern - their ultimate sales-person - to sell those seemingly hard decisions that can cause much inconvenience, distress and weariness among a section of the public - a task that she has repeatedly accomplished with aplomb.
Her detractors, including the leader of the Opposition Judith Collins and National Party’s deputy leader Gerry Brownlee, have so far not succeeded in making a successful hit on her political persona, despite many repeated attempts.
The suggestions coming from Gery Brownlee about the government’s lack of sharing of accurate information about the second wave of Covid-19, which dangerously bordered closed to conspiracy-theories going around that are already weakening our collective human response to a virus that is far from being tamed or managed, has not gone down well with experts and the public.
The members of the public despite having all valid interest in continuous probing of the government, in pursuit of excellence and consistent improvement in our public health response, does not favour a line of attack that ultimately undermines the credibility of the public health system.
Our public health system, along with the scientific community who have been providing the cutting edge research and advice to the system, who eventually are preparing official advice to the Minister of Health and eventually to the cabinet and the Prime Minister are the core basis of New Zealand’s successful response to the Covid-19 virus so far.
The success that our system had so far achieved in being ahead of the curve in managing the virus or pacing up quickly where the virus had been smart enough to deceive us is also a matter of appreciation and attention.
The repeated attempts of castigating the same public health system that has so far not let us down, appears politically motivated, and not hidden from the anxious eyes of the New Zealanders.
National has to be mindful, and so should be the section of media that is relishing the opportunity of casting aspersions on a public health system that is consistently rising to the occasion every time the virus has raised its ugly head in the community.
The testing capacity was ramped up significantly in Auckland region ever since the decision of moving the supercity to Alert Level 3 was taken on Tuesday, August 11 with a number of pop-up test centres being made available for mass-testing, while several mobile test centres chasing the close and casual contacts of the family of South Auckland region who are yet believed to be the first case of the second wave of Covid-19.
The performance is indeed immaculate and deserves the backing of the nation, and any probing and scrutiny though desirable, should not be seen as politically motivated.
So is the performance of Prime Minister Ardern, which is standing out even further, because of clear shortcomings of her main political adversaries.
The seeming political immaturity of her opponents is giving her ample political space to successfully manoeuvre through any period of inconvenience within the nation’s politics.
The second wave of Covid-19 in the country was never meant to be politically comfortable for Jacinda Ardern and was the opportunity that many political pundits had ascribed to the opposition National party as their opportunity to win back the voters confidence.
However, it seems Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been able to deal with the crisis so far, like a walk in the park - at least for now - while the National Party remains as clueless as it was a few months ago when the country had entered into complete lockdown.
Covid-19 in New Zealand, Round 2 also goes to Prime Minister Ardern.
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