A number of high profile no-shows and embarrassing faux pas relating to the Epidemic Response Committee risk reinforcing the suggestion that the Government has become arrogant in its Covid-19 response.
A string of activity, or non-activity, at the committee today smacks of the Government's adopted "dismiss" don't "defend" attitude as it flies high in the polls.
This morning, National leader – and committee chairman – Simon Bridges released an internal email sent to government officials from the office of the leader of the House, Chris Hipkins.
• New poll: Labour and Jacinda Ardern surge in popularity, National and Simon Bridges plummet
• Newshub Reid Research political poll translates to close contest
• National's poor poll: Leader Simon Bridges insists 'I'm the leader and I'm staying'
• A leaked poll shows National has dropped below 30 per cent, and Labour at 55 per cent
It said that since ministers were appearing before select committees in the coming weeks "any invitations to ministers to appear before the Epidemic Response Committee should be declined".
That instruction was extended to officials as well.
But before that email was leaked to Bridges, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis had already decided he would not be fronting to the committee – he had a Facebook Live video to do.
His decision to a Facebook Live instead of providing much-needed detail regarding the Government's tourism response is a slap in the face to the tourism industry, which is already on its knees.
Covid-19 has decimated the sector – job losses are already in the tens of thousands, and more still are expected.
This morning would have been the perfect time for this much-needed clarity to operators staring down the barrel of bankruptcy.
Simon Bridges defiant on grim poll result: 'I'm the leader and I'm staying'
Labour soars, National plummets in first Covid-19 poll
But, instead, Davis opted to provide unchallenged spin via Facebook.
Another slap in the face for the sector was comments made by Labour MP Tamati Coffey, during the committee hearing.
He told a business owner, who outlined how Covid-19 and the lockdown had decimated his business and that mentally everyone has been tested, "not least our Prime Minister".
Coffey's comments, Davis' refusal to front and the instruction to ministers to decline to appear, strongly parallel the Government's "dismiss" don't "defend" attitude to its Covid-19 response.
After dumping thousands of Covid-19 documents on a Friday afternoon a few weeks ago, a leaked memo from the Government revealed its concerning plans for the official response.
"There's no real need to defend. Because the public has confidence in what has been achieved and what the Govt is doing," the email said.
"Instead we can dismiss."
Dismiss is exactly what Davis did this morning – he dismissed his democratic duty as a minister by failing to front up to answer important questions.
And it's exactly what the Government is doing by asking its officials not to front up to the Epidemic Response Committee from now on.
The leaked email said that the committee was established for a period of time when the House was not sitting and, now it and select committees are back, the committee is no longer needed.
But National disagrees, saying the committee has been incredibly successful and it wants it to continue.
It has applied pressure on the Government in some of the most important Covid-19 related areas, such as quarantining at the border and contact tracing.