Covid email draws reprimand

Howick Local Board member Bob Wichman, fourth from left, pictured with his board colleagues. Photo supplied

An east Auckland elected representative has been warned his access to official emails may be restricted after he shared his thoughts on the Covid-19 pandemic with dozens of colleagues.

Howick Local Board member Bob Wichman sent the group email to all Auckland local board members on April 20.

It was posted to social media website Twitter the following day by one of the recipients.

The email Wichman sent is titled “Covid Facts or Fiction”.

In it he writes the TV news broadcast the previous night stated if someone gets inoculated they can still get Covid-19, “but you won’t die”.

“Big deal, millions of people who weren’t inoculated and caught Covid-19 did not die,” Wichman wrote.

“If you get inoculated you can still get Covid 19? What else have we not been told?

“And here we are opening up our borders to possible carriers of Covid-19 who may not be contagious, but could quite easily have been in contact with Covid 19.

“I believe we have been fed a lot of rubbish.”

Wichman told the Times by sending the email he was sharing what he views as an important item that screened on the 6pm TV news on April 27.

“I am not saying, that I am, or am not, however convinced that the vaccine is a good idea, I just believe we are receiving a lot of mixed messages on the Covid-19 subject and should take all care,” he says.

“I sent the email to council local board members because I thought it was very informative, and maybe it should be shared with those of us that may have not seen the TV news, and are working for the community hopefully with their health and safety in mind as well as other major local issues.”

Auckland Council local board service general manager Louise Mason says Wichman has been advised his email was “ill-advised”.

“We also reminded him that it’s best practice to use an Auckland Council email address for council business only.

“Further options the council have is to remove individual access to sending group emails.

“The member has been advised this privilege could be removed if further emails like this are sent.”

Wichman says he’s unsure what upset the council, “except that it was maybe not one of the usual messages we receive”.

“I am reasonably sure I have received communications before about Covid-related issues.”

The Government’s Unite Against Covid-19 website warns people to beware misinformation about the virus on social media and other sources.

It urges people to only pay attention to official channels of information on the virus and vaccine, including online at www.covid19.govt.nz and Facebook.com/UniteAgainstCovid19/

According to the World Health Organisation, there have been more than 152 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and more than three million deaths, as of May 4.