COMMENT:

There is no place for politics in the ghastly situation facing the country.

Unfortunately with an election six months away, although that's by no means certain now, scoring points is never far from the aspirants' minds.

The National Party has been playing hard and fast for the past several weeks, telling the Beehive they were not doing enough and should get on with the job. Its call for the Government to delay the rise in the minimum living wage was ideological. Simon Bridges knows their votes come from business and not the workers.

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But at least the party has now pulled back with Bridges' announcement that his MPs have been told to put campaigning on hold. He's even offered a grand wartime coalition to steer the country through something we have never experienced the likes of before.

That was rejected out of hand by Jacinda Ardern.

But it's a pity that given this is no time for politicking it hasn't made its way into the Beehive. The three Māori ministers announced a $55 million package for Māori to combat Covid-19, as if they are any more vulnerable than the rest of us.

Time and time again Ardern's told us we are all in this together. If that's the case, let's all look after each other, regardless of who we are and who we would normally vote for.

That's why the blatant ad by former television weatherman Tamati Coffey caused such a storm in some quarters. There was the Labour Party ad with him proudly appearing with Ardern telling his voters in Whakatāne that the $38m being spent in the region shows how the Government's putting it on the right footing to recover from Covid-19.

At least democracy of sorts will continue with the Prime Minister basing herself in Wellington, working between Premier House and her Beehive office. She will continue to appear from time to time taking questions the media.

She'll be enacting the Epidemic Preparedness Act which virtually gives her unlimited power, like shutting down suburbs and isolating the islands from each other if she so wishes.

Parliament's business committee, headed by Speaker Trevor Mallard, gets together today, essentially to put in train the closure of the place and to plan how it'll be run by remote control for the time being. A severely reduced Parliament will resume tomorrow, made up mainly of those who don't have to fly into Wellington, to formally adjourn it until an appropriate time, whenever that might be.

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Then we are literally on our own. For how long is anybody's guess.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website