“My advice to everybody is: if you hear it here at 1 o’clock, it means that it’s true.” – Health Minister Chris Hipkins, August 15.
Except, that’s not quite true.
On June 23, Hipkins’ predecessor David Clark announced frontline border staff would regularly be tested for Covid-19. Even if they displayed no symptoms.
Two weeks later, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reiterated these stringent measures: “We have ensured our frontline workers at the border are safe by wearing appropriate PPE, getting regularly tested.”
Two definitive statements that both turned out to be absolutely false.
As with personal protective equipment (PPE) and distribution of the flu vaccine, there was a disconnect between what the Government was telling us about the enhanced testing strategy and what was actually happening on the ground.
So what they tell us at 1 am is the truth except when it comes to testing, PPE and vaccines!
In the last week, the Government has repeatedly expressed surprise at the dissonance between what it was promising and what its officials were (not) doing.
Ministers have blamed officials and even a reluctance to be tested among border staff (This is disputed by unions, and in media reporting).
But how can we be confident that this is the truth?
I have heard the opposite. That staff were complaining they could not get tested.