Andrew Little; Getty Images
Opinion

Lloyd Burr: Andrew Little is burying his head in sand over refusal to acknowledge health sector

Opinion: When is a crisis, not a crisis, yet so obviously a crisis? 

When you're a government minister, that's when. 

Today's crisis de jure is the health system. Everyone's talking about it because Health Minister Andrew Little went on the telly and refused to call it a crisis. 

And actually, that failure and reluctance is not new. 

He's refused to call it a crisis for weeks. 

While I was away at Glastonbury in the UK, Wilhelmina was hosting in my place and had him on the show. 

And she got Andrew Little's heckles up. He became Agitated Andy, Angry Andy. 

Instead of crisis, he uses words like "Extreme pressure". 

The health system is not in crisis, the "system is under pressure". 

And you know what? Andrew Little is a hypocrite. 

When he was in Opposition as Labour Leader, he blasted the National Government for failing to acknowledge the housing crisis. 

The Nats were calling it a 'housing challenge' and Andrew Little as Opposition Leader went to town on that. 

I can hear him now: "It's a crisis and this government's refusing to acknowledge it's a crisis. They've buried their head in the sand". 

That's not a verbatim quote but I distinctly remember him saying something along those lines to Nick Smith and Paula Bennett. 

So why is he not practising what he preached all those years ago?  

Why is he burying his head in the sand and refusing to acknowledge the health system he's minister of is in crisis? 

And is it even a weakness to admit there's a crisis? 

If you ask Newsroom political editor Jo Moir, she says "politicians of every stripe don't realise that saying the word 'crisis' is honest, makes those impacted feel heard, takes the word power away from opposing MPs and minimises the negative headlines". 

And she has a point, doesn't she? 

I just wish our Health Minister would see it.