The issue of self-isolation has clearly been an irritant for Jacinda Ardern this week, and the Police Commissioner added fuel to the fire yesterday by revealing a failure of compliance checks.
Ardern pushed back at Wednesday's press conference when asked about the "high trust" model of people self-isolating after returning from overseas .
"I wouldn't call it 'high trust'," she shot back, adding that it had been working "successfully".
But "high trust" is exactly how it was described by health boss Ashley Bloomfield - not only on Tuesday at the Epidemic Response Committee , but again - and repeatedly - in yesterday's press conference .
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To be clear, this is not about the majority of the 4.8 million New Zealanders that are currently in lockdown self-isolation, but the several thousands of asymptomatic people who have arrived from overseas and been allowed to head home.
Such people are a much higher risk of carrying Covid-19 and, as the global pandemic continues to spiral out of control, the risk of an overseas arrival being coronavirus-infected increases.
So why a "high trust" model? Bloomfield said it was impossible to police everyone, even though everyone in self-isolation was meant to get a visit from police within three days of returning home.
Trust the police, he said. They will take people to task if they don't comply.
Except that the police knock on the door within three days wasn't happening as promised. That was the stunning admission yesterday morning by Police Commissioner Mike Bush to the Epidemic Response Committee.
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Since the new border measures have been in place just over a week ago, 4068 overseas arrivals have been allowed to go home to self-isolate.
Bush said in the initial days it was "very difficult" for police to find out where they were and, notwithstanding some spot checks that he had no numbers on, a solution had only been implemented in the last 48 hours or so.
The solution? Texting people's cellphones and, with their consent, using their reply to track their location.
That type of solution was also put to Ardern on Wednesday after Health Minister David Clark talked enthusiastically about the potential use of smartphone technology.
Asked about that potential, Ardern was cryptic at best and dismissive at worst.
"Other countries have used things like that. Other countries have used systems that we say [use] for our Corrections systems. There are a range of models internationally," she said.
She may have missed the memo or not been told, but as she was delivering her response, police were already texting people.
The yawning difference between her rhetoric and that of her top officials has added further weight to the call to quarantine all arrivals from overseas, even if they have no symptoms.
It also has the potential to weaken public trust and confidence in her.
She has been a picture of reassurance and clarity, but she undermines herself by dismissing smartphone technology when, at that very moment, police are using that very thing.
She undermines herself by saying self-isolating is successful when the promised compliance checks aren't happening, a failure that also reinforces just how much of a "high trust" model it is.
Claiming success when 4000-odd people weren't being properly door-knocked also begs the question: What about the tens of thousands of Kiwis who have come home from overseas since March 16, when Ardern decreed that all arrivals except those from the Pacific had to self-isolate?
That's not to say she is wrong. Despite these hiccups, self-isolating may have been and continue to be successful, and the slow growth in Covid-19 cases seems to show that it's relatively under control - although testing has been called too narrow to shed any true light on its prevalence in communities.
And such stumbles are understandable. Ardern even primed us when she said the gargantuan project of moving as quickly as possible to a nationwide lockdown would not be perfect.
Yesterday, Ardern seemed to sing from a different song-sheet. Asked about self-isolation, she didn't say "high trust" but said there was a "level of faith" on people to do it properly.
She didn't dismiss technology, instead saying police were using what "a lot of overseas countries are using".
The country faces at least 20 more days in lockdown. Thousands of lives are in the balance and the economy will be a completely different beast when it re-emerges.
Ardern still has a huge reservoir of "high trust" from the public. Given that Parliament isn't sitting and the Government has war-time powers, she needs to maintain that trust and confidence more than ever.