Mike Hosking writes:
Then the other Sunday they rolled out their cancer service policy, this was the one they should have rolled out before National. But better late than never… or was it?
In reality, it was nothing more than intention. They would end the postcode nature of the disease, how? No one seemed to know, they still don’t. I asked the Prime Minister last week, she told me to stand by for Heather Simpson’s DHB report. I did, it came the next day, and it recommended nothing.
I also asked about the targets they talked of. They already have targets, they are not being met, half of the DHBs are failing to meet them. So what do they do about that? Nothing. What did the report recommend about doing about it? Nothing.
They paid a member of the PM’s staff a huge amount of money to spend a year reviewing the health system, and the report comes with not even a single recommendation!
And then last Sunday, mental health. A scheme whereby you can go to your doctor and get your warts seen to and some mental health as well. Good theory, except it’s only at a handful of clinics. In other words, it’s not a policy, it’s an intention.
Which is what they did with the school lunches, the only difference being that wasn’t announced on a Sunday (given schools aren’t open). Lunch will be served at 30 schools, it may end up rolling out to 120, still a couple of thousand schools will miss out. Like hundreds of thousands of patients will miss out on mental health.
No one ever seems to point this out. Ardern is hardly ever held to account. She turns up, smiles, talks a big game, hugs one of the recipients of whatever the largesse involves, gets on the news, and is gone.
If there were votes for announcing stuff that may or may not ever happen it would be a landslide. Let’s call it ‘seed of an idea Sunday’ or ‘the policy that’s not really a policy’.
It’s a visual press release, where next to nothing changes, but you get your picture on the telly. If there are learnings, let’s at least start seeing them for what they are.
This is not new. In opposition I described her private member’s bills as press releases masquerading as legislation. Little seems to have changed.