A primary role of Opposition Parties in our adversarial system, is to hold the government to account for its actions. Nominally, the current Opposition comprises the National Party and ACT.
The always cautious Nats are currently missing in action, as they’ve always been wherever in Opposition since Rob Muldoon’s 1973-1975 golden days.
ACT has largely replaced them in this function although still tinged with caution, mindful of Jacinda’s Second Coming status with the masses.
The indisputable fact is that the salient issue of Covid has involved a great deal of bungling by the Health Department. The worst was Minister Hipkins, not once but twice, six months ago, telling the media we were at the front of the vaccine queue. In fact we weren’t even in it.
Consequently, we can anticipate, particularly in Auckland, more hugely depressing occasion snap lockdowns as it’s clear we will not achieve mass inoculation for probably two years and will continue to be locked off from the world.
THE DE-FACTO OPPOSITION
That said there’s no doubt in my mind about our true Opposition.
First the husband and wife duo of veteran journo Barry Soper and Heather Du Plessis-Allan.
Both are writing brilliantly for the New Zealand Herald, exposing the Health Department’s Covid-dealing blunders and other inevitable local and central government mishaps.
Let’s get one thing clear. Neither are rabid right-wingers. Barry’s political sympathies were probably fairly leftish three decades back but with the passing of time are now centralish.
Heather was and remains liberal right but certainly not rabid.
Second, credit to Mike Hosking for his plain fare, but no punches pulled first rate job on this front. He is of course of the right, but again, not rabid, just sensible.
The media love to claim that aside from news-reporting their role is also to expose local and central government and indeed, corporate cock-ups.
The reality is different as currently in New Zealand, any criticism, particularly by the struggling Stuff fleet, is fairly muted.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the nation should be hugely indebted to Soper and his wife and it’s a great pity their observations don’t have a wider audience.
I say that, not because I’m anti-Government as I’m not, but instead because our lapdog media do a great disservice in their failure to reveal the inevitable government balls-ups, inevitable as they’re part and parcel of all large organisations.