With the appearance of the delta variant of the coronavirus in New Zealand, the Pulpit of Truth 2 has been released. But will it fail at the box office?

THE GENERAL VIEW among film critics is that the sequel is invariably never as good as the original movie. We are more than likely to make the same judgment about what social media is referring to as the Pulpit of Truth. With the appearance of the delta variant of the coronavirus in New Zealand the Ipm press conferences have been cranked up again.

Because you loved them the first time round, they again star Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her trusty sidekick Ashley Bloomfield. They are again performing in a front of an assembled audience of docile journalists who seem incapable of asking anything approaching a tough and searching question.

These press conferences are as political as they are informational. They allow the Prime Minister to play Leader of the Five Million in front of a captured nationwide audience. You can't buy this kind of media coverage and her people will be hoping that Pulpit of Truth 2 will allow Ardern to claw back some of the polling points she has lost in recent times.

But, first time round, Ardern had an unblemished track record and the nation was willing to be led by her into a lockdown in order to defeat the alien virus. The opposition could do little more than watch from the cheap seats as Jacinda Ardern and Labour steamrollered to an emphatic election victory. In film terms this was Titanic  and Lord of the Rings all over again.

But Jacinda Ardern's track record is no longer unblemished. While she's again shepherding us all into lockdown to defeat an even more dangerous variant of the virus, she leads a Labour Government that has been caught asleep at the wheel. While Ardern's now tubthumping about the urgent necessity to get everyone vaccinated, her Government has been managing a vaccination rollout that has been glacially slow. The country has been  consistently marooned at around 120th in the world and we are well behind the rest of the developed world. Only now has some much-needed urgency been added to the proceedings. People are legitimately asking why this wasn't done months ago.

With the Labour Government failing on a number of other fronts, including its dismal handling of both the deepening housing crisis and climate change, Pulpit of Truth 2 is unlikely to provide Ardern with the popularity boost she needs. This time, like most sequels, its destined to bomb at the box office.


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