Coronavirus Covid 19: Judith Collins aims one-round pony blow against health boss Ashley Bloomfield
National Party leader Judith Collins addresses the National Party’s annual conference at the Vodafone Events Center in Manukau. Video / Dean Purcell
National Party Leader Judith Collins called Health Director General Ashley Bloomfield a “one-ride pony” after Bloomfield’s late revelations of her talks about a UN employee in Fiji with Covid-19 who has been allowed to enter New Zealand.
Late Friday, Bloomfield apologized to the Health Select Committee for not remembering a text exchange he had with Chris Seed, the head of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, about the worker.
The worker had been cleared into New Zealand from the Covid hot spot in Fiji. National had questioned the extent to which former PM and former UNDP chief Helen Clark was involved in the move.
Bloomfield had told the committee last week that he had no direct contact with MFAT over the decision, but released a series of texts with Seed on Friday that Bloomfield said he later recalled.
On Newshub this morning, Collins said she was hesitant to criticize an official, but while Bloomfield was “good at getting up and talking about Covid … I just think Ashley Bloomfield is probably a one-ride pony.”
She stopped before saying he should quit. “But I think he has to do a lot to justify his position and the deification that has taken place,” she said.
“Look, he was very good at standing up and talking to people, but when this government told us – and he was standing there with him – that there was a source of truth, that was clearly entirely false.”
National Covid-19 spokesman Chris Bishop has asked Bloomfield to appear before the committee again – the committee will decide on Wednesday.
Bishop asked if Bloomfield misled the committee that the decision was made on clinical grounds.
However, Labor has a majority on the committee and can easily refuse it.
The texts showed Seed telling Bloomfield that Clark had spoken to himself and Foreign Secretary Nanaia Mahuta about the transfer.
Seed said his ministry “was doing the right thing and staying away.”
Bloomfield responded by saying “we’re done. I think we’ll get a resolution.”
This was followed by a text saying the problem was “[a]I would be sorted “.
Collins asked what influence Clark had and if it was appropriate.
Clark did not comment on the matter.