Bay of Plenty Times

Collins best to focus on job rather than throw stones


Surely Judith Collins has more important things to be getting on with than going after microbiolo­gists. The National Party leader has lobbed a big fat stone that landed squarely at the feet of New Zealander of the Year Dr Siouxsie Wiles, calling her a “big, fat hypocrite”.

This rather harsh epithet stemmed from accusation­s that Wiles, a microbiolo­gist and outspoken advocate for maskwearin­g while advising Kiwis on the pandemic, has been breaching lockdown rules.

Apparently, the associate professor at Auckland University has . . . wait for it . . . been riding her bike in level 4! The nerve!

She’s been talking to people without a mask! How dare she?

She was seen talking to a friend, who then went for a swim. The friend broke the rules, and Wiles admitted on Friday that she should have tried to stop her.

Wiles’ friend is part of her bubble and they regularly cycle together. They were at a neardesert­ed beach, 5km from her home, and they made the call to remove their masks.

This all seems kosher so far, doesn’t it? It seems that Collins has seized on the incident for political points-scoring and it’s baffling.

There is much more lowhanging fruit to grasp, such as the slow vaccine rollout, the supply chain issues from Auckland in level 4 or the um, er, hmm, visitor/ patient incident at Auckland Hospital.

But Collins, during a Zoom interview, decided to go after Wiles.

She said she was “sick and tired of listening to her telling everyone else what to do”. “Unless she ran there, and I doubt it, then she wasn’t exercising.”

Wiles hit back on Twitter: “Hey [Judith Collins] — thanks for your interest in my exercise habits. You never heard of bicycles?! They are awesome for getting around the city, especially at Level 4 when there are so few cars about.”

So who should we listen to? Judith Collins?

I’d prefer to take my advice from someone who has done the work, knows the science, can explain it clearly and makes it easy to understand.

Remember, people like Wiles do this hard work so that you don’t have to.

I probably won’t be taking any advice from, in my view, an Opposition leader of a party in turmoil who throws stones at bikeriding microbiolo­gists.

In my opinion, Collins should focus on her proper job of holding the Government to account.

 ?? Jo Raphael ??
Jo Raphael

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