Health Minister offers resignation over breach

Minister of Health David Clark. Photo: RNZ/Dom Thomas.

Health Minister David Clark has offered his resignation following a breach of the Alert Level 4 lockdown.

On the first weekend of the Alert Level 4 lockdown, David drove his family about 20km from their house in Dunedin to Doctor’s Point Beach for a walk.

"This trip was a clear breach of the lockdown principles of staying local and not driving long distances to reach recreation spots," he says in a statement released this morning.

"As the Health Minister it’s my responsibly to not only follow the rules but set an example to other New Zealanders.

"At a time when we are asking New Zealanders to make historic sacrifices I’ve let the team down. I’ve been an idiot, and I understand why people will be angry with me."

David has apologised to the Prime Minister for what he says is his lack of judgement and has offered her his resignation.

"In the interest of full disclosure, since the lockdown began I have also driven my family to a walking track about 2km from our house for a walk and gone for occasional runs, all of which were local and within the rules, and one bike ride which is already in the public domain."

Jacinda Ardern says under normal circumstances she would sack David.

She says what he did was wrong, and there are no excuses.

“But right now, my priority is our collective fight against COVID-19. We cannot afford massive disruption in the health sector or to our response. For that reason, and that reason alone, Dr Clark will maintain his role.

“But he does need to pay a price. He broke the rules.

“While he maintains his Health portfolio, I am stripping him of his role as Associate Finance Minister and demoting him to the bottom of our Cabinet rankings.

“I expect better, and so does New Zealand."

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@overit and Potofstu

Posted on 08-04-2020 14:36 | By morepork

Would you really NOT vote for him, based on this? I’d be inclined to look at his track record as a Health Minister before I decided. But then, I have made mistakes in my life so I can empathise with him.


Posted on 07-04-2020 14:11 | By overit

Just remember at voting time in his electorate.


Posted on 07-04-2020 13:06 | By morepork

I agree with surfsup, he made a stupid mistake and he doesn’t need to be hanged for it. But it does bring home that for most Kiwis the current circumstances are simply unreal and we are having trouble getting our heads around the FACT that we simply can’t drive distances if we are to confine and beat the virus. We are an outdoor nation; it’s hard having to be constrained. But we all need to do it and if even the Health Minister has trouble adjusting to that reality, then it is no wonder the rest of us are also struggling. Now that we are in the middle of the lockdown I believe most people are either coming to terms with it or have already done so. If you have been a bit slack, now is the time (like Dr Clark) to straighten up and fly right.


Posted on 07-04-2020 11:41 | By surfsup

The health minister has made a stupid mistake, the hounds are baying for blood, media try and spin the story out even though an apology has been made. Simon Bridges drives from Tauranga to Wellington and back and very little is said. Jacinda states under normal circumstances he would be sacked, Under normal circumstances we wouldn’t be in a lockdown situation so normal travel would not be affected. The guy has made a stupid mistake can we leave at that and focus on the more important things.

And so he should

Posted on 07-04-2020 11:18 | By

One one better resign after crisis is over.