I have lost count of the number of times I have been sent this screenshot and tagged in posts about this supposed "letter" from the Director General of Health to an anonymous member of the NZ public.
Instead of answering each of the people asking my opinion on the validity of this photograph individually, I decided to write a quick run down outlining the many red flags that immediately told me this letter was about as genuine as a Rolex watch at a Balinese market.
Before I start, I need to reiterate how important it is to scrutinise such "information" PRIOR to hitting that share button.
Here at VFF we encourage people to think critically about all sorts of information, particularly viral content that appears outrageously shocking.
The sad reality is that there are pitiful humans out there - with poor creative skills - who get kicks out of mashing together works of fiction like this to whip up online frenzies. The saying "Don't feed the trolls" is one that instantly comes to mind...
Let me count the ways that this screenshot is a hoax (from top to bottom):
1️⃣ Since when does Ashley Bloomfield personally write to regular members of the public to inform them of COVID-19 policy change? Have you, or anyone you know, ever received a letter from Dr. Bloomfield in the past 2 years? I haven't heard of a single person (other than those receiving a response to an application for a vaccine exemption).
2️⃣ The header and footer are sloppily ripped off the Ministry of Health(MoH) website - the footer has links to the website sitemap. If you've seen a genuine MoH letter recently, you'd know they do not look like this.
3️⃣ The name given to the virus of which COVID-19 is described as the symptomatic disease is "SARS-CoV-2" - NOT "Covid 19 SARS-2". Does anyone really think Bloomfield would get such a fundamental detail so wrong? I think not.
4️⃣ The reference to this fellow's "role" doesn't make any sense at all as no role is even defined.
5️⃣ Look at the date of the supposed legislation change - April 1st: April Fools' Day.
6️⃣ Would you ever expect an official document from the Government to refer to "jail time"?
I cannot stress the importance of taking the time to pause, take a breath, and to carefully re-read documents such as this with a clear head when they pop up in our private message apps or social media feeds.
If there is any doubt about whether something may be genuine or fake, it is so much better for our own personal credibility and that of the freedom movement as a whole to resist the urge to share.
Our time is best spent focusing on what is really important, like getting connected in our communities and upskilling in areas that will help us to become more adaptable and resilient.
Should you encounter this screenshot again, please remember this post and gently suggest that the person sharing check it out.
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