Sir John Key attacks government COVID-19 response – “Fear and hope is not a strategy”. Videos / Newsstock ZB
Here is Johnny! The scene from The Shining in which the character of Jack Nicholson bangs his head through a hole in the door was once considered the scariest horror movie scene of all time.
It would be fair to say that Sir John Key’s leap into the COVID-19 plan debate is a horror story for National Party Leader Judith Collins compared to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Suggestions of ways to get there when the borders reopen and scathing criticisms of the MIQ system hit newspapers on Sunday.
Since then, he has done interview after interview about it. It has had more publicity in a day than Collins has handled since the outbreak began.
Key was motivated by a real and growing concern about what was going on.
The second motivation was concern over the collapse of the party he had once led.
The national has had little influence in the debate around the Covid-19.
It was crumbling in the polls – and tonight’s 1 News Colmar Brunton can help clarify whether the Taxpayers Union Curia poll that put the National at just 21 percent was rogue.
If the national message can’t get out there and doesn’t hold the agenda a bit, it will do it for them and remind people of what a national can look like.
The problem for Collins is that maybe he did just that: reminded people what the National Under Key looked like. The overwhelming response to his piece shows that he still has a lot of influence.
Collins had no warning that his piece was coming. It was released days before Collins released National’s own COVID-19 policy, which will take place on Wednesday. It is believed that Ki was unaware of this time.
The Herald is told that the policy is more timid and cautious than Key’s prescription: and that in itself could now lead to national problems.
Key’s dominance on the newsletters put Collins on the sidelines.
It has not escaped the attention of national lawmakers that Keys praised ACT leader David Seymour and his MIQ policy of private management – but also did not mention Collins.
He gave us a glimpse of the two great political inspirations of our time – Ardern and Key – clashing.
It’s safe to say that people who never liked John Key will absolutely reject every word he says and have decided that they still don’t like John Key.
There is a great need for subtlety in such debates.
He was present in Key’s arguments about when and how borders might be reintroduced.
He was present in Ardern’s arguments as to why things are too uncertain to make these determinations.
There is science and modeling that is taken into account in making these decisions.
It has always been and will be with politicians (and former politicians) that it will be more about the politician than what they actually do.
The problem is, each party expects its own nuances and caveats to be recognized while ignoring the other party.
It’s no fun discussing Nuance, so people tend to pick up on one aspect of an issue that bothers them and decide the whole discussion based on that aspect.
In Key’s case, aspects that were taken away by his critics were his deliberately provocative use of the “hermit kingdom” and the projection of Auckland as the Pyongyang of the South Pacific.
His call to reopen the borders was “and soon” whatever decision he asked to do so.
Those who never liked him quickly went to the extreme, saying they wanted those border restrictions dropped, let Covid-19 in and damn the consequences so he could make it to Maui.
But remove the allegorical flourish and you have this left:
A call for certainty as to when New Zealand will join the other opening countries. A call to do more to get us there. A valid criticism of the inadequacy of the MIQ system to meet its demand.
He came up with some ideas to increase immunization rates and remove the MIQ bottleneck. He didn’t claim that his ideas were necessary: it was to revive other ideas.
Some of his views are what the government is considering anyway, including home isolation for travelers.
Above all, it was a call to the government to rely little on anyone other than the state to come up with ideas and how to implement them.
Key’s entry into the debate would cause problems for Ardern – as there would be people who would agree with her, and it would escalate demands for answers to the questions she raised.
Key’s call for this information has already prompted Ardern to specify a range, albeit unrelated to limits.
This morning, she determined that having 90% of the eligible population vaccinated would mean around 75% of the entire population was vaccinated – and that could be enough to ensure the lockdown was no longer necessary.
This number may increase as vaccination rates increase and time passes.
Key has been loved by many people for a very long time.
Many people also trust Ardern very much and will be more trustworthy than Key when it comes to dealing with COVID-19.
For now, public support for keeping the borders closed until everyone has a fair chance to get vaccinated is 90 percentage points higher than Key’s proposal to open the borders. But if we cannot reach that 90%, will the Prime Minister go so far as to consider the latter?
Waiting while being cuddled to get the shot will only increase resentment. People need to ask themselves when they can actually use the “golden ticket” they promised by getting the vaccine.
When it comes to this Maui trip, it couldn’t be that easy. Hawaii has again lifted its visitor ban due to another outbreak.
This means that only people from a handful of countries can enter without a 10-day isolation.
New Zealand is not one of those countries, despite its strong record of Covid-19 containment.
The key may be a few words as to why this is so. As long as Auckland is on lockdown, he will have plenty of time to put them on paper.