The end of daily press conferences?

After 18 months of nearly daily press conferences, the Prime Minister has decided that at the very time case numbers are rising and spreading to other regions, she and her team will no longer front, Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins says.

“New Zealanders will be unsettled by the news – delivered via written statement – that we have 60 new community cases today and yet our Prime Minister did not even get one of her senior ministers to stand in for her at the podium.

“National have been critical at times about the unnecessary press conferences that were held when case numbers were very low, but if Jacinda Ardern thought it necessary to speak directly to the media then, why now with 60 cases is she missing in action?

“It is clear there are questions that Prime Minister Ardern does not want to be asked. The role of gangs in the spreading of Covid-19 Delta is inconvenient for her as she has taken a softly, softly approach towards organised crime throughout her time in office.

“It is easy to stand in front of microphones and cameras when you are being praised and things are going well. It takes a strong leader to front up when things are going wrong and the people of New Zealand have questions.

“Now is the most important time for Jacinda Ardern to face the media. Kiwis have questions; her own experts are asking questions publicly too. It is unforgivable that she has gone to ground with only carefully cultivated PR photos appearing on social media.

“Not one more day must go past without a press conference at which media can ask the vital and inconvenient questions of this Government. Either Jacinda must front – I am sure the media will go to her – or she needs to put up Minister Hipkins or Robertson.”