In their typical pack-running imitative practise, our media have had a field-day slamming the Health Minister David Clark for allegedly, “throwing the Director of Health, Ashley Bloomfield, under the bus”.
This is rubbish. The failure of the checking system fell squarely on Bloomfield’s management responsibility.
To the extent the Minister was also to blame relies solely on an absurdity which I’ve written about for decades, of alleged Ministerial Responsibility.
This is an irrational practise we’ve inherited from Britain and it’s long past time it was scrapped.
Here’s a personal analogy. I’m the founder/principal of a fairly large company. For the past two decades I’ve had absolutely nothing to do with its day-to-day running. I do get involved with new building purchases and decorative aspects because I enjoy it, but otherwise I leave things 100% to the management.
Because I handwrite everything I go into the office a couple of afternoons a week to have my stuff typed. Then at day’s end I have a few drinks with my key management.
For website appearances sake I’m listed as Chairman.
In other words my position is similar relationship-wise to a Cabinet Minister.
Now if over drinks I learn of a cock-up by a staff member, I’m damned if I’m going to take the rap, rather that falls on the Wellington Manager. I simply have to bear the cost, but certainly not the responsibility for the very good reason I’m not responsible. So too with Clark over the airport checking cock-up.
Clark has become the favorite whipping boy of the Press Gallery who love nothing more than bringing down a Cabinet Minister.
He was so cast after his double “sins” of first riding a mountain bike alone on a bush track and on another occasion, taking his family in his car to an empty beach.
For this he was branded a hypocrite, both activities being banned.
What he and Bloomfield were guilty of in fact were unthinkingly imposing a set of rules that were nothing less than ridiculous in the first phase of the lockdown. A halfwit in the Health Department would have made them up and the Director General and Minister blindly accepted them uncritically.
Both were quickly scrapped along with numerous other absurdities of that initial phase list that were in no way threatening contagion-spreading wise.
But let’s get one thing clear. The airport failure fell squarely on Bloomfield. Clark was guilty of nothing more than a lack of diplomacy in mentioning it.
That said, in fairness to Bloomfield, he heads an enormous government Department with thousands of different skills personnel.
You can be absolutely assured that while you’re reading this, dozens of folk will be cocking up in one way or another.
It simply goes with the territory of normal human behavior. All the boss can do is put in place supervising structures, not to eliminate errors for they’re natural human behavior, but instead to minimize them.