Entrepreneur Sam Morgan broke an unofficial code with his public venting over the Government's tardiness to swiftly test and adopt the CovidCard that had been developed under his leadership.
Morgan was one of the group of high-profile entrepreneurs who privately lobbied Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson in late March to swiftly impose a lockdown to curtail the spread of Covid-19.
They were let into Ardern's tight Cabinet tent with one proviso.
That was they should observe confidentiality. They should not embarrass the Government publicly by dissing on Cabinet Ministers (officials were not to be open season either) over their response to Covid-19. They were either 'in the tent' or 'they were not in the tent' - although the exact phrasing was not so blunt.
Others on that initial call with Ardern and Robertson included the low-profile Kiwi billionaire investor Graeme Hart of whom it is said in top-level business circles had been prepared to underwrite full-page advertisements in newspapers to make clear the Government needed to 'go hard'; former Air New Zealand CEO and former Icebreaker executive chairman Rob Fyfe; The Warehouse founder Sir Stephen Tindall, investor Craig Heatley and Zuru founder Nick Mowbray.
They had been alarmed at the Government's failure at that point to take decisive action. While Ardern told them that she and Robertson had already decided to move – "we're already there" – some see that as simply face-saving.
Irrespective, Fyfe went on to be Ardern's "business liaison" through the initial Covid-19 lockdown before stepping down on May 18 with a cautionary comment, "I worry that our bureaucracy is not well designed for agility and finesse" and as the Covid command centre capability is scaled back "the weight of resources, processes and territorial disputes from resurgent ministries will undermine the ability to move and respond with necessary pace".
So, when the Trade Me founder publicly threw his toys out of the cot citing a frustration with middle management at the Ministry of Health and claiming the project was now bogged down in bureaucracy he was effectively singing from the same song sheet as Fyfe.
Ardern's Government was quick to issue a slapdown.
Government Digital Services Minister Kris Faafoi said Morgan was not the only brains behind the card and the project was not in jeopardy.
"I know Sam is frustrated, I can't control Sam's feelings on a day-to-day basis but we are committed to making sure we have a trial in Rotorua."
Faafoi's cutting response was also patronising.
It was after all, Morgan who had led the group that put a paper to Government on June 6 – "Sustaining elimination with CovidCard and enhanced digital tracing". The co-authors included Dr Tim Chambers, Dr Andy Anglemyer, Rob Fyfe, Alastair Grigg, Chris Teeling, Alexander Fala, Dr Dean Armstrong, Paul Scott and Bain Hollister.
Morgan can be thin-skinned. As indeed so can Fyfe.
But the reality is that these business people did step up. They are not the only business people to complain that officials have been too slow to grasp the urgency in dealing with Covid and the impact on bottom lines through unnecessary tardiness. For their part, officials complain that business "doesn't really get it".
Here's another cold reality: Officials had not implemented the testing regime that Cabinet wanted.
There have been excuses aplenty. But this does not cut muster with business people.
Faafoi himself is known as the business sector's "go to guy" in Cabinet. He was the politician that most impressed top chief executives on their ministerial performance in last year's Herald CEOs survey. He was seen as an engaging politician with a consultative style who listens to business.
He needs to start listening again.
There are wrongs and rights on both sides of this divide.
CovidCard trials will go ahead with or without Morgan's team.
The June 6 paper said deploying CovidCard would take five months, meaning it needs to be deployed in advance of any outbreak or opening of the border. It was best deployed in advance of an outbreak or the opening of the border, which is expected to dramatically increase the risk of importing cases of Covid-19.
It went onto say that New Zealand lacked the advanced technologies and broader social licence of other Governments battling Covid-19 (China, South Korea, Taiwan). "With our existing technology, manual contact tracing is simply not fast enough or scalable enough to materially slow the spread of Covid-19 under normalised social settings with an open border, so the border remains closed".
There was more besides. But the manufacturing and distributing of cards would take the better part of six months and provide just one year of CovidCard national coverage for an estimated cost of nearly $100 million assuming no co-payment by cardholders. "The economic costs of lockdowns are measured in the tens of billions of dollars."
Is CovidCard the answer? The Government is also looking at other options. The current tracking system is too clunky.
In the New Zealand entrepreneurial community where some key brains have come together to try and solve this issue, there is disappointment.
There would be an enormous sense of pride if a home-grown solution comes through the trials successfully and is introduced.
If it is not "best-in-class" why not adopt Taiwan's technology and get on with it?