Claire Trevett: Government caught short in planning for Delta

As we say goodbye to 2021 and welcome in 2022, it’s a good time to catch up on the very best of the Herald columnists we enjoyed reading over the last 12 months. From politics to sport, from business to entertainment and lifestyle, these are the voices and views our audience loved the most. Today it’s the top five from Claire Trevett.

Government caught short in planning for Delta lockdown – August 21

Throughout the year, the Prime Minister defended New Zealand not getting its vaccines earlier because we did not have Covid-19 and other countries needed them more.

The latter was accurate, but it was always going to be a problem when the first bit of that changed and we did have Covid-19.

Now we have it and, like New South Wales, we are a naked little baby in a blizzard.

Despite the warnings Delta was inevitable, how ready was the Government actually with its lockdown plan?

Read the full story here.

Has Delta sped up the clock on Judith Collins' leadership? – September 4

Come the end of the lockdowns, Judith Collins may well find her MPs have devised an elimination strategy of their own: A strategy to eliminate her.

It is also now increasingly clear that when that time comes, the person who will execute it will be Simon Bridges.

The polls will be the trigger, but it is the lockdown and Collins’ lack of political judgment that have seen her odds on surviving into the next year plummeting.

Prior to the lockdown, Collins might have had until next February to pull up the nose of her plane.

But MPs’ eyebrows rose when she decided the middle of lockdown was a good time to do a reshuffle. Even in a crisis, National was still busy dealing with itself.

Bridges is the only viable option to replace Collins this term – but when?

Read the full story here.

Was anger to her Facebook post a crossroads moment for the PM? – July 24

Just before Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern headed off on her mid-year break earlier this year, she did a Facebook Live that will have set the hearts of the Opposition aflutter.

It was on the evening of the massive farmers’ protests around the country.

Ardern did not front to those protests, nor did she speak to any media that day to give her reaction to them.

After seeing the scale of those protests, Ardern clearly decided against ignoring them totally. So Ardern opted to respond with a live video on Facebook at 6.30pm that night, a Friday night.

Ardern’s Facebook audience is her most adoring audience of all.

This post was the exception.

Read the full story here.

PM, we don't expect perfection but drop the defensiveness – August 26

This time round, the lockdown doesn’t only feel harder for all of us – it also clearly feels harder for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

The handling of the Delta outbreak has come in for a lot more scrutiny and criticism than in the past. Judging from the very extended set-piece speech Ardern delivered today, that is starting to take its toll.

The introductory speech beamed out live to the nation was not about what was happening with the current Delta outbreak, it was a political broadcast.

It was an attempt by Ardern to defend what the Government had done in the past and justify things it might not have done.

Her delivery showed a Prime Minister on the defensive.

Read the full story here.

Is Sir John Key's comments a bigger headache for Judith Collins or Jacinda Ardern? – September 27

Here’s Johnny! The scene in The Shining in which Jack Nicholson’s character pops his head through a hole in the door was once judged the scariest horror movie scene of all time.

It would be fair to say Sir John Key’s leap into the debate about the Covid-19 plan is more of a horror story for National Party leader Judith Collins than for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Key had more publicity in one day than Collins has managed since the outbreak began.

Key was motivated by more than genuine and growing concern about what was happening.

The other motivation was concern about the collapse of the party he once led.

Read the full story here.

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