Health Minister David Clark's resignation offer declined by the Prime Minister, who says under normal conditions he'd be sacked for breaking the lock-down rules twice

Health Minister David Clark's resignation offer declined by the Prime Minister, who says under normal conditions he'd be sacked for breaking the lock-down rules twice
David Clark

Health Minister David Clark has offered his resignation for breaking the Alert Level 4 lock-down rules on what’s now been revealed as two occasions.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern responded: “Under normal conditions I would sack the Minister of Health. 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.”

Clark has been demoted to the bottom of the Cabinet rankings and has been stripped of his role as Associate Finance Minister.

Clark, who has been at home with his family in Dunedin during the lock-down, on Tuesday morning admitted that as well as drive 2km to go mountain biking, during the first weekend of the lock-down he drove his family 20km from their home 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,” Clark conceded.

Asked on the AM Show whether he would run in the election, Clark said he hadn’t thought that far ahead.

Clark has been scrutinised since Friday, when it came out he went mountain biking. He got flak for refusing to appear of TVNZ's Q+A programme over the weekend, and is only fronting now - four days later. 

“As the Health Minister it’s my responsibly to not only follow the rules but set an example to other New Zealanders,” he said in a statement.

“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.

“In the interest of full disclosure, since the lockdown began I have also driven my family to a walking track approximately 2 kilometres 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.”

Ardern said Clark needed to pay a price for his actions.

“He broke the rules… 

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

REPORTER'S OPINION:

I've always thought social cohesion, stemming from trust in authorities, stemming from competency, is what's needed to make the lock-down successful. Also a bit of fear - naturally.

The government now has to work much harder to keep us on this path. The alternative, which wouldn't be good, is using the police and military more to force compliance.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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163 Comments

23
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Are there still those trying to make the argument this isn't the most incompetent packed-with-nitwits government in our history?

Oddly enough an actual medical doctor in Liz Craig is kept from senior positions in the response, while our theologian bumbles around Otago.

20
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Him and Twyford make a great pair in their bumbling, self righteous incompetence.

In that they all believe a false creed, they are all bumbling theologians.

If Craig was attempting to address child poverty without addressing population and resource draw-down, she too is a wasted space (until she addresses same). A lot of intellectual capability is applied to the wrong thing, in strategic terms. Given that population is one side of the problem (consumption being the other), the aims of the medical profession need to be re-examined. But they won't be, is my guess. Thus her efforts were doomed to failure before she started.

11
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Population and resource draw down are important; I'd say vital fo the future of NZ. But child poverty is now and a stand alone issue. If it does interact with other areas of govt policy then it is laws governing alcohol, drugs, imprisonment, mental health and social work that are more important than say waste disposal, energy imports, international travel, etc..
Throw enough money at it and child poverty can be eliminated - that is quite independent of the end of the world and the day of judgement - they lie in the future. Very happy for you to keep reminding us that problems lie ahead and probably closer than we think but do not write off a politicians efforts in one area because you disagree with her in other areas.

Sorry but I disagree, Lapun. And at the most basic of levels.

"Throw enough money at it" is the problem with society.

You can't. Money is not the marker, and money has been falling short of being the marker since at least 2008, arguably since 1970. You have to throw resources and energy at it. And they have to be earmarked and proven.

I could have expressed that better. Poverty is a relative matter. Redistribute money and when it is roughly equal nobody is in poverty. It wouldn't be my policy for adults because they have some control over their circumstances - work or take drugs for example - but children are innocent victims. Sort out child poverty now and then on the next day address your issues with resources.

20
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Trust me, you'd rather have an incompetent govt with good intentions, than a competent one that's rotten to the core. I know what I'm talking about, I moved here from Hungary.

Agreed. How about both? We had that with the Lange, Bolger, Clark and Key governments. Good, intelligent people with disagreements on how to bring the country forward.

This iteration of Labour is just dire.

That's a decision we shouldn't have to make.

In an act of Darwinian generosity, this supercilious clown has revealed he is unsuitable for high office and should be tinned asap.

I'd be more concerned about Bridges' suitability for high office. Still commuting from Tauranga to Wellington 2 weeks into the lockdown? Hubris.

Meanwhile back in the real world...

How does NZ's Covid-19 response stack up?
https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2020/04/06/1117839/how-does-nzs-covid-19-resp...

I'm not aligned to any particular party btw, all politicians need to lead by example. It's never been more important.

It would appear NZ's response has been better than average, you have to give credit where it's due. I would prefer to go hard early and then have options. The only question I have is, have we been using the time wisely, to increase our ICU capability.

I'm actually a fan of orban. Funny enough every non anglo European I've met that's moved to nz is a pc liberal leftie. I find it interesting you moved here? What was your motivation? Cricket or rugby? Farms and kiwi pioneering history?

It's the Texas California problem. Californians wreck their own state and then flee to Texas for better governance, only to vote the same way they did in California.

My priorities were:
1. 1st world living standards
2. Living close to the ocean
3. English speaking country (I lived in Austria for a while, and never got really comfortable with German)
The rest is just a bonus.
Out of curiosity, what do you like about Orbán?

I dont know with Brownlee, Smith and others on the other side of the fence, incompetence seems strong on all sides.

28
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Classic elitist behaviour. The rules only apply to the masses. I'm an MP, and even more a Doctor and therefore a superior form of life, and I've got lots of money, so I'm immune to all these rules! I hate to suggest his religion is also a part of his attitude.

He's a long way from being alone in his attitude!

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Clark isn't a 'doctor' doctor. He's got PhD in something or other.
Given that being a 'real' doctor isn't a requirement for Health Minister, what about Andrew Little for an interim replacement?
Hopefully, he understands The Law re isolation!

10
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Theology it looks like. Non medical Doctorate just like Cullen. They love to flaunt it!

13
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Andrew Little is first rate, like a lefty Bill English.

10
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While Kelvin Davis wouldn't look out of place working the doors at some nightclub.

He comes across as the type of guy who would go and snot the other kid if one of his own was getting bullied.

Yeah! All this sneaking around in a vehicle, with his face and name emblazoned on the panels, obviously he had something subversive in mind!

he failed med school entrance - wanted to be -- but not smart enough -- essentially a doctorate on a refugee thinker! get reall no ffffing use to anyone!
Q- in a global pandemic - do you think the Health secretary should be fronting the media and leading the response ?
A - YES - but praise be that he is not !

10
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Oh yes don't get me started on Christians. Often some of the most hypocritical people you can meet!

Indeed and by all accounts a highly competent individual unlike our Minister for Health. The circumstances offer a reasonable comparison. At this time, she will undoubtedly be missed over there during desperate times but Sturgeon is not to be messed with. Firing her chief medical officer or accepting her resignation, either way must have been a dilemma but she's probably the most competent politician in the UK.

she was excellent -- but rather than spend days discussing if she should be sacked or not -- both decided in the best interests of the country that she should go -- and everyone should get on with trying to fix the mess that English politicians foisted on teh UK by not closing borders and enacting social distancing!

Come on Jeenee, more of an ooops moment if anything. Historically, I'd point at Nick Smith and his writing letters of support for Bronwyn Pullar in her dealings with ACC...while being the minister of ACC and using ministerial letterhead...as the sort of magnitude of instrangience you should be focussing on. On that topic, why don't you rip into fatboy bridges for driving to wellington instead of using video conferencing like the rest of us?

10
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One oops moment during which he was caught out on social media and declined to give any interviews, depsite the PM saying he was available.

And then twice again after he'd already been made to look like an idiot? How many 'oops' moments do you get? As health minister during a global pandemic?

Also, if you can' see the difference between the health minister repeatedly flouting lockdown rules and an MP heading a functioning committee travelling to Parliament then you're just engaging in whataboutism for the sake of it.

E: He's also only just come out publicly the morning of the committee meeting where he would have been roasted. He just tried to pretend this wasn't a problem until he couldn't.

It's different when the left does it

Yeah - just look at "Bro it's moving. I can't put anything in writing" Faafoi.

I think faafoi is the worst of a sorry bunch.

Its called "whataboutism" or "whataboutery" the technique or practice of responding to an accusation or difficult question by making a counter-accusation or raising a different issue.

Its origins are in Soviet Russia but has been adopted by the left in recent times.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whataboutism

It has been popular with all parties in recent times, in fairness. In fact, just recent times?

Bridges was silly enough to admit that he commutes to Wellington because he wants to be in front of the media.

From what I saw on TV the committee was not committed to social distancing, more like huddling and yakking. Barely believable.

Perhaps waiting for Bridges to provide more ammunition is wise, assuming the article isn't written already.

@4th estate:
Are you serious? An oops? Clark needs to go for two reasons: arrogance, and stupidity. As someone once said, you can be one or the another, but not both. What Bridges did was in full public view while carrying out an essential service, ie scrutinising the government. Nothing to see, move on. Sorry guys, but we need leadership, not teddy bears and tooth fairies.

"Nothing to see, move on."

Nothing reveals arrogance more than these words ^^ It's called discussion/debate and is essential in a democracy. Agree??

To respond to your comment "The 4th Estate", government ministers are more powerful than opposition MPs, so tend to receive more coverage - be it positive or negative. In my view this isn't about trying to take down Clark (or Bridges for that matter). Rather it's about the fact that to eliminate COVID-19, we need people to follow Clark's instructions and stay at home. But if Clark loses credibility, it erodes trust and confidence in the government as a whole. And if even a small portion of people don't trust the government and go against its "stay at home" advice, then either more police/military move in, or the lock-down fails and we sit with COVID-19 for longer, more people die and lose their jobs. Social cohesion and trust are key right now. 

10
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I don't think he genuinely had to resign for this. Yes it's stupid and he shouldn't have done it, but most people who think he should have resigned are not considering the context in which his actions took place.

1. First and most importantly, the trip to the beach occurred *before* the bike ride he got busted for. It's not like he went for a bike ride, got busted, then decided to go to the beach. That clearly would be resignation behaviour.

2. He said the time he went to the beach was the 1st weekend of the lockdown, 28-29th of March. At that time the messaging from the government about what was acceptable recreational activities during the lockdown were very muddled. Earlier in the week Jacinda had been saying that people were allowed to travel to a destination, such as the beach, and partake in recreational activities once there, so long as they maintained appropriate physical distancing. Then the police took over on Thursday and their message was different - saying that you could not travel at all anywhere for any reason other than to go to essential services.

It wasn't until the following week that the government put out the "stay local" message, and even so they have refused to put a distance limit on it. 20km distance to a beach wouldn't really be anyone's reasonable definition of "stay local", but a bike trail 2km from someone's house doesn't seem unreasonable to me - not withstanding that in the bike trail case the real problem was the activity he partook in once he arrived, not the distance he had to go to get there.

But obviously the whole thing looks bad and the public space and media don't have any room for nuance or details such as the above, so resignation was the only avenue left for him. Arguably as a member of the government he should have been more informed about the permissible travel activities, even if the government (and Jacinda) were not accurately communicating the rules to the public, internally he should have at least been party to discussions or emails about the rules.

Really the incident of poor judgement was the bike ride since the messaging about unacceptable recreational activities has been more or less clear from the beginning, while the messaging around the acceptable distance to travel for recreation has been muddled.

As you rightly suggest, politics is the art of perception.
Clark 'got caught' - the first no-no of political perception broken, but....
Ardern should have sacked him. Perception. Politicians are suppose to capitalise on other's mistakes. This was a good opportunity for her.
The realities of the situation ( as you write) don't matter that much. But Ardern won't recover from this - Bridges (or whomever) will make sure of that.

"But Ardern won't recover from this - Bridges (or whomever) will make sure of that."

John Key recovered from all his ministerial muckups and belated sackings. The thing that stuck for him, as much as anything stuck to Teflon John, was fondling ponytails of prepubescent girls.

Apparently the reason JK left in a hurry is because of a tryst with Hekia Parata.

Anyone else heard about that?

They're both married so that seems unlikely.

Since when did being married stop anyone being unfaithful?

These aren't just "anyone" we're talking about, though.

So by that reckoning no one from the royal family should ever have had an affair?

They're normal people, just like anyone else, emotions don't differentiate between jobs.

Yes from a reliable source close to the then Minister of Finance.

Been waiting a long time for someone to write that up here, but from what I've heard it is the case. (source knew Mrs Key and ze lawyers...)

No BW, Bridges can't throw stones. He's just as or more guilty in his practice. and the public have an extremely short memory.

What we can be certain of is that Clarke will be under some form of close supervision which won't necessarily be visible. I think JA is coming through this smelling like roses. The appearance is that she is extremely capable of handling pressure in a crisis in a way few others are. I suggest that this will entrench her, and by association into the next Government. What will matter in the long term is how they manage the recovery.

Agree that Jacinda doesnt look to be under pressure. This is a concern considering the potential fallout that will result. Its appearances that run a country now. Image supersedes good long term decision making and doing nothing means you have done nothing wrong.

Clarke under 'close supervision'. How did you come up with this idea?

No centerfold spread for Jacinda and hubby available now as the glossy magazines no longer exist. Surely there will be a few pictures of the war room released with Jacinda and Clarke in the 'thinkers' pose. Maybe Clarke will be caught coughing into his hands.

11
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We have an evolving health crisis . While out bike riding, he put himself , his family, but importantly others at risk . No excuses . He must depart. It is not poor judgement, it is arrogance and incompetence.

The description of the bike trail he went on is that it is "easy" (according to a bike trails website) and it is also a shared-use one also used by people walking.

Yes, riskier than biking on a road, but likely not by much.

Riskier than biking on the road? I doubt that very much.

we have had people killed biking on the road during lockdown, we have had a mountain biker rescued on wellington hill
in short he should not have done either thing and he should be sacked no ifs or buts
as for SB driving 400 + km to get to wellington he also sets a very bad example BUT he is only leader of the opposition and people will have his fate in there hands later in the year

Interesting to check the acc figures on cycling v surfing. Cyclists are doing huge distances, all decked out in their Lycra. Golf, possibly the safest of sports, is banned and our green keeper isn’t allowed to go to the course by himself and do essential maintenance.

I dont know, given the demographics Golf courses would be putting a large bunch of high risk people all in one place. Absolutely terrible idea.

The greenskeeper case is a tricky one. By no means it is an essential service, and calling it one would be a mockery.

That should be balanced against the fact that it is a time-sensitive job and I'm assuming can realistically be done by 1 or 2 people practising appropriate self-isolation pretty easily. But if you start making exceptions for them, then who else do you have to make exceptions for?

Unfortunately it's a slipper slope.

If we accept your points about muddled communication from JA, then the only rational conclusion is that JA must resign. If she cannot even clearly communicate her message to her colleague and minister. This the logical path from your defense argument. Either the PM is in fault or the Minister. The political game would require sacrifice of the stupid pawn in this case either way.

I'm not defending him or his actions, merely putting them in context and saying that in context it doesn't rise to a sackable offense. You'll note that I said IF his beach trip was after the bike ride then it would clearly be a sackable offense. But it wasn't.

Nor does JA's muddled communication in a time of crisis rise to a sackable offense, where the overall message - stay home - was clear even if some of the details were muddled.

I'd hate to be an employee working under you, seems like a tiny mistake = dismissal.

For me, the most important thing is that he's an idiot, a self confessed one, too. Should an idiot really be in charge of such an important ministry? Not to mention his arrogance. Ms Ardern's defence doesn't hold water of course as most important Covid decisions will be made collegially. And Clark's position is untenable as he will have lost the respect of the entire profession. The eternal footman will be snickering behind his back, to paraphrase Eliot.

I think JA is a big part of the problem. They had her dimwitted Fiance on TV3 last night. Explaining even he was confused about the fishing rules.

He lives with the PM - if he doesn't get it what chance do we have of one of her MPs getting it?

He lives in Auckland with Neve. Since the lockdown started, Jacinda has been living in Wellington. Her bubble is Grant Robertson, his partner and both of their immediate staffers.

I expect JA actually has little time to communicate with him personally at present

Edit: ...and she certainly wouldn't be talking to him about the finer points of lockdown policies if she were.

A PM who by all accounts is the most emotive, compassionate, people orientated one we have ever had... is not speaking with her partner?

I know you like to disagree but come on.

Try again, this time read what I wrote.

Edit: ah, it seems my edit on my previous comment got lost / not submitted somehow. Updating to clarify.

This whole thing is a bit of a "seat of your pants" deal, it is a make it up as go situation, it is that way as it is unprecedented in this age. While this is boring and scary at the same time, I believe they are doing one hell of a lot better than most countries, most notably the USA, who are contemplating temporary graves in Central Park for expected deaths in New York.
Clark probably will have to go, but I agree with Ardern, the issues are far too pressing for this at the moment.

All this tells you is that those "in the know" believe that the actual rules are unnecessarily draconian.

The sheeple should have been able to realise that, by their own research and a bit of common sense.

Ah yes, researching Facebook moms' groups and using common sense beats the recommendation of most of the world's health experts...

Zero medical evidence for the 2 metre separation outdoors, let alone applying to incidental non contact like passing someone in the street.

Banning Kiwis from enjoying the beach in the dying days of Autumn has been a bridge too far.

Is this your qualified medical opinion?

Just STFU, do what we are being told and get this thing over asap

The title of this article could be modified to the following and still holds

"NZ long been led through a economic mismanagement by a lame duck coalition government"

They're only a lame duck if they have no chance of reelection. This election is still Labour's to lose and the broad popular support - 80% - for the government's COVID-19 response is more likely to bolster them than harm them. Early days still, of course.

Labour will win in a landslide without another major event before the election. That is definitely not the outcome I want to happen, it just seems inevitable at this point.

This kind of thing and all the other muck ups will be totally forgotten come election day.

Maybe he actually doesn't want the role, and is trying to get fired. Next week when he hosts a BBQ round his place for recent arrivals to NZ we'll know for sure.

Don't expect us to vote for these talentless candidates.

If this were the States, they'd make him president!

Many reports in the news of people out about in cars, on horses, on bicycles, running around here and there, falling over, crashing and burning, falling off cliffs, smashing heads on curbs. It's astonishing really. I told them all to stay at home! We should have brought in heavy fines for those breaking the lockdown rules and for those that think road rules no longer apply.

19
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The problem is this: Clark has shown himself to be a master of entitlement, do as I say, not as I do, mendacious, and stupid. The stay at home message has been irreparably weakened and he has squandered a huge amount of the govts political capital. Ardern has been publicly weakened, too, by being seen to not have the spine to sack him on the spot. There are a lot of ministers with time on their hands at the moment who could step up, and all decisions are made collegiality anyway. So the rationale that to replace him now would be difficult doesn’t wash. I would argue that Ashley Bloomfield and our health workers do not need this credibility gap at the moment, and we would all be better of if he went now. Mike Hosking did a great job interviewing Clark today. Our rather tame press gallery should tune in for a master class. Looking forward to today’s 3pm standup...

Hosking really is in incisive interviewer, despite it being fashionable to degrade him as a buffoon.

Hosking grilled Clark like rump steak in a house fire

12
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What is it with ll these ministers from all parties.
Don't just to offer resign,just resign.End of story.Walk away from all that entitlement,cars,lunches,money ,super...oh sorry now i know why you don't resign.

On point.

This government is the worst,most unprofessional,incompetent and now even corrupt I have ever seen in my life!This is absolutely disgusting that he is not sacked and I am appalled!This govt is making mistake after mistake and watch what happens economically to the people of NZ

Get with the programme. It is too late to be rabbiting on about 'economically'- that went west post-2008.

How we waste time, eh?

The new paradigm has to be debated and constructed - but here we have people still bleating about 'economically'.

Spare me.....

It's fortunate we had such smart people like selfmade multi millionaire who understood the financial markets very well Key and English to run our country post 2008!
Interesting you mention rabbits!Do you know how rabbits act when a spotlight is shone into their eyes at nighttime?

The Key govt was one of the most shallow, relying on mass immigration for an a ponzi scheme illusion of growth and wage suppression

Its amazing how many medical professionals have stepped down over this pandemic. I suppose you could draw a comparison between Clark and Collins after her little play with Orivida. Now you have Bridges commuting between Wellington and Tauranga because he wants to as he is leader of the opposition. He may be walking down the same road as Boris Johnson.

I think Bridges just found it impossible to do his job from his home. His first media appearance was from his garage. The connection was horrendous. He's got young children - how easily does any father find it to lock themselves away and get complete quiet from within a room in a home? He probably should have chosen to go into his electorate office instead.

Agree, better to go to his own office in Tauranga if he needs better internet. Seems to make a lot of sense. He did say he wanted to be where the media are.

Ardern clearly thinks need is to keep focus on main objective, not media scrum re Clark who is clearly not up to the job. However, he was NOT leading the virus task force, that role is held by PM and Dir Gen of Health. Much ado about not much I am afraid.

Hilarious that politicians get pilloried for doing what most of economic elite do all the time and no one bothers to criticise them of course. Oh, I forgot, you need the advertising revenue

This guy is a serial offender. He thumbs his nose at the rules in full knowledge the rest of the population is largely complying at great personal cost; not just once but twice (that we know of).The labour spin machine is downplaying this as an 'error of judgement'. But Clark had demonstrated the same self interested lousy judgement before when in 2018 he was off on a holiday just as nurses were going on a long signalled strike. Cindy is supposedly 'angry' - you can tell by the heavy punishment - presenting this as a relatively simple 20KM drive when she has to be aware it's nothing of the sort. Dunedin north to Doctors point is a 40KM round trip over rugged terrain (especially if the more discreet steep and winding 'scenic' back route is taken) on roads largely deserted ( thus making the trip more risky) by those who respect the law and stay at home.

Would you be saying the same thing if it were a National politician?

Bad call. Purely speculation but perhaps she spoke with Bloomfield on the matter. He looks near exhaustion.

It could be he just couldn't take the added stress of having a new Minister to liaise with. Might say something about the ill-determined line up in the first place:

Ministers responsible:
Hon Dr David Clark, Minister of Health
Hon Jenny Salesa, Associate Minister of Health
Hon Julie Anne Genter, Associate Minister of Health

These associate ministerial decisions seem to me to be made based on not wanting to expand Cabinet to a wider set of people. So, once you make your ministerial decisions, you then appoint your associates from that pool.

In this case, if neither of the associates were up to the job, normal Parliamentary protocols ought to have been thrown out the window. Bloomfield needs a competent Minister (which I don't think Clark has ever been) and bringing a ring-in in, like Andrew Little, no matter how unorthodox, would have been a better thing to do - both politically and pragmatically.

JMTCW.

Oh Lord, as thick as Clark is, Salesa and Genter are thicker and more ideological. They cannot be let anywhere near the ministership. I'm sure Ardern is well aware of that.

Agreed she possibly thinks for now David Clark's a useful idiot but will replace him once we're through this crisis.

Ardern is becoming a stronger leader through this crisis and hopefully she continues.

One vote you received shows how many people agree with your opinion of Jacinda.

Some incredibly partisan commentary. It is indefensible, left or right. Period. Everyone else has to sacrifice.

13
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I have been saying since this coalition of losers were corralled into forming a Government that it consisted of a hopeless bunch of failed academics, dreamers who are not in touch with reality , left wing rabble-rousers better suited to waving placards and yelling through loud -hailers on Queen Street , lifelong leeches off the Nanny State , and career politicians who have never done a proper days work or had to actually produce something and earn a Dollar for doing so .

And a Prime Minister who hid her pregnancy during the last election , which in my view is as good as lying

Twyford , Clark , Jones , Peters , Davidson, Shaw ............... a hopeless bunch , now presiding over our fate in a crisis , they are totally ill-equipped to handle

Its likely the worst Government in our history

Well said, the problem is that National isn't much better. A sad state of affairs when NZ can't attract the best of the best to run the country because it is easier, less obtrusive and more profitable to be in private enterprise. Can't say I blame them for going the easier path..
Is it time that NZ hires CEO's to think , run and deliver instead of the present shambles? Spending twice as much and not delivering is a waste, so forking out a million or three for a wages to someone that can and will deliver is a by far better option. That amount of dollars will only e wasted by a Minister who doesn't know what they are doing anyway.

The way politics goes, I'd suggest that most CEOs would look just as silly after a year or two of being exposed to politics, the media and the bleating shrieking rabble. The very same sorts of things happened to John Key, getting caught in silly lies, stupid mistakes and missteps, using lame duck excuses such as "No, but you see, I was wearing a different hat" etc.

I very much doubt that parachuting in CEOs (especially with the proclivity some have to not be politic with their speech) would create particularly different impressions after a year or two in the game.

You'd hope they may be effective at getting some things done, but it probably takes some ability to cut through treacle with a knife without it immediately filling the gap behind.

CEOs and MPs are the same. Hopeless

How many CEOs out there actually created, built and grew the company successfully?

Versus

How many inherited it, kind of kept it running in the good times, but then bail when something goes wrong?

Fyfe vs. Luxon, in a way.

Absolutely hilarious and made us laugh comment!But unfortunately so so true!

Worst government in history, looks to be best in the world at the moment;

https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2020/04/06/1117839/how-does-nzs-covid-19-resp...

In the end, the statistics will write the history. Not just stats on the successful management of the pandemic but also the successful management of the people (i.e., social cohesion stats), and the successful management of the economic re-build.

This is just soooo big on soooo many fronts - it's truly incomprehensible. I'd rather have a humanitarian at the helm than an egoist;

Antonyms & Near Antonyms for humanitarian

egocentric, egoist, egomaniac, egotist, ego-tripper, narcissist
megalomaniac

Come on Kate. Before go patting ourselves and the government on the back, we had a number of advantages (geographic, temporal, demographic) that have been strong factors in our relative 'success'.

The article compares number of cases in-country at the time various mitigation actions were taken. It's a valid comparison of whether or not we actually did (or did not) go 'hard and fast'.

More to the point, we can't go patting ourselves on the back until we know how effective 'hard and fast' has been. And that judgement can't be made until the end of the lock down.

Just like during the GFC we had a number if advantages, but people still give Key and English credit for doing not much.

Yes, the credit belongs to Clark and Cullen who ran 9 straight surpluses and got us down to net-0 government debt (when including ACC and superannuation funds), giving English and Key the headroom to rack up the largest government debt this country had ever seen. Obviously eclipsed now.

Neat memory-holing of a GFC and two major earthquakes right there....

Except Government Debt to GDP effectively peaked just before the first Earthquake......so it was the GFC?

Not sure what your point is. My point is the National government was able to run the country and respond to those disasters the way they did because Labour was so fiscally prudent.

If Brash had instead won in 2005 giving massive tax cuts like he'd promised, we would have been screwed.

Not hard to run surpluses when you were handed a booming economy and a surplus by the previous administration. Although they did explode government expenditure, so they tried their best to turn that surplus into a deficit, which it obviously did the moment they stepped out of office and tax revenues collapsed.

To call that Labour government fiscally responsible is a laughable revision of history.

"Not hard to run surpluses when you were handed a booming economy and a surplus by the previous administration."

Were they? Clark put up the top tax rate to 39% yet the surplusses got bigger year after year. Historically economic performance under Labour governments has been much stronger than National ones.

"which it obviously did the moment they stepped out of office and tax revenues collapsed."

Yes, because of the drought that started in 2008 - are you going to blame Labour for the weather - and the GFC that started in America.

The much trumpeted "decade of deficits" was from the PREFU based purely on the spending plans at the time. If Labour had won the election they would have revised the budget, just as National revised the budget.

Of course National very nearly gave us a decade of deficits anyway, after cutting taxes during the worst recession in living memory and worst natural disaster this country has seen. They only squeaked by in 2015 because of smoke and mirrors, reclassifying what would be regular expenditure on local government instead as a repayable loan, with the full intent to write off the loan as a gift in the future when the accounts could handle it.

So Jacinda is in no way egotistical? Anyone who purports them self to be a leader is an egoist.

What do you mean “likely”?
Worst thing is that there will be just as many clowns as last time vote for them

Her pregnancy was NONE of your or my business, it was highly likely she never even knew at the time, not for sure, anyway. I find your attitude to someone's reproductive rights nauseating.

He should have been sacked.
In a time of national emergency, the key minister in charge breaches his own emergency instructions.
Intolerable.
Inexcusable.

Very, very poor from Ardern.

I still think JA worst moment was when she decided to blame the clinicians for the government designed testing for COVID 19. That was very bad.

99% of Labour, The Greens and NZF are lame ducks.
The problem is that National aren't much better and have been exposed cuddling upto China.
For a country with some very smart people, we have some seriously shocking people growing this boat around in circles.

Oh be fair. They're at least .5% better. 99.5% are lame ducks.

I don't know, KR. Some of them can even spell......

I seem to recall that after the last recession National where very keen to promote tourism as a future industry.

Ximon Bridges was in the media recently promoting the sale of the nicest parts of NZ into foreign ownership..."mansions on the coast"...the parts of New Zealand that Kiwis shouldn't expect to afford in their own land of birth. Move the Kiwis into the 'burbs and leave the nice places for the big foreign money.

One of Simon's CCP handlers probably had some property lined up.

Fatboy bridges drove from tauranga to wellington because of bad internet and the kids and wife were annoying him? Doesn't say much for Tauranga on the tech front does it! He could have simply gone to a better connected office or something and done his work there. If Clark has to go so does fatboy. Its only fair.

Eh. Winston Peters was explicitly excluded from the 'over 70s should self-isolate' policy because he was deemed necessary. Bit hard to claim the leader of the opposition, taking sensible precautions, was wrong to do what he did.

Let the government do its job and leave the opposistion to National Party and like of Mark Richardson and all John Key followers, be it so called experts and media houses.

Economy and health world over is taking a hit and everyone is trying to contain it and NZ government has been better than other countries who delayed in putting restriction though I feel that if restriction were put a week before in NZ, would have been much better.

Summary of national party spoke person is that economy is more important than health not realizing that if people die than what good is economy. So anyone with some sense will say that though economy is important but at this stage all efforts should be to fight and defeat corona virus. Government meantime can do all to support economy like wage subsidy, rent and mortage holiday and so on while trying to contain corona virus.

The big problem in all of this is that the govt haven't formulated a sensible isolation regime. The whole point is to prevent virus transmission, and people going mountain biking, or driving anywhere, or to uncrowded beaches or fishing, or many many jobs and workplaces aren't necessarily a problem.

Rules should reflect that, but keep as much normality and economic activity going as possible. Big fines for those that meet up with friends socially.

Customers in shops are a big problem (Supermarkets!!) but nothing effective is being done about that.

It could be that some people are using supermarkets as a front for meeting friends socially!

its only now we are seeing innovation at the supermarkets, now setting a text queue so you can stay in your car, also service foods setting up home delivery as countdown and pak n save have missed a trick on ramping that up.
so if any good comes out of this will be more home delivery of supplies and breaking the duopoly

I broadly agree, however the problem is in the messaging and people properly understanding what is trying to be achieved. If you let people make their own decisions , you'll get a lot of people make the wrong / dumb ones - like the idiotic person representing the construction industry saying his industry should get special level 3 lockdown treatment while everyone else stays at 4.

Exactly, Foyle. If one had to pick the people most likely to be super-spreaders, supermarket checkout staff would run first by a length, and shelf stackers a distant second. Whatever happened to one out, one in?

Clark should go period.
For all the rest of anti Labour bleating remember this. We have had one death so far.

A posting yesterday, not sure of who it was, showed on a population unit comparisons some modern western countries have had up to 500 times worse fatalities from the virus.

Early days but lets keep things in perspective children. We could have have Ximon, SFM or the orange guy in charge.

watching the government committee this morning and SB went soft on him,
big guy JB is funny. "am I on, is this working, hello hello", showing his age trying to use the new tech

lol - he's a G, Gerry not a J, Jerry. Yes, funny.

Shh... don't let the facts get in the way of a good Jacinda-bashing circlejerk session.

I'm surprised that Adern did not take this golden opportunity to sack Clark, as his performance hasn't seemed good at all, in fact he gives the appearance when interviewed of not knowing what is going on. He has effectively been side-lined in the daily 1pm briefings which I would have expected the Health Minister to regularly front rather than the PM.

Decisively replacing him would have sent a very good message to everyone, that Adern means business and isn't just "nice" all the time. And as well, that there are consequences for bad behaviour, even for ministers.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/114548766/outgoing-health-union-...

And still waiting for his own health targets. If you look at MoH site and check ED waiting times you'll see that most ED departments are already under a lot of strain. I really hope for them that this virus doesn't explode through our population. They're already well on the back foot.

Anyway, if the lockdown continues then (lame) duck season might be delayed or not happen this year so he might just endure.

An empty taxi pulled up and David Clark stepped out of it.

Was it an EV? The replacement for naturally aspirated engines? The ones that require lithium and other rare earth minerals to be mined to make batteries that can't be recycled easily. 50% recyclable is not sustainable btw. All the protests over coal and gold mining yet deafening silence for lithium and rare earth minerals here in NZ.

I'll add that generally workers in the evil oil industry get paid well with good working conditions whereas those poor souls working in the lithium mines are modern day slaves.

In principal if not in practice he has, through his actions, resigned. His successor should now be brought up to speed to facilitate the transition of the portfolio.

Dp

The hilarious thing about this is that come next week the public and the media will have moved on. There is much more significant news to come about COVID-19 that will make this a distant memory.

Clark's decision was damn stupid and it is absolutely correct he should be held to account. But lets not make this bigger than it actually is - a blip in an otherwise pretty solid effort by our health officials and authorities in the response so far. If you take off the partisan filter and compare NZ right now to other similar countries we are doing relatively well in most measures.

What would Ardern have done if Clark had gone over the edge on his bike ride; ended up dead?
That's how she should have responded to this situation.
He's gone. Now, what's next....
Keeping him on makes no sense; not even 'But at this time....otherwise I would have...."
To repeat - If he wasn't about, Jacinda, what would you have done?

Jenée, thanks for appending your opinion as a separate item. What turns so many off the MSM is the constant mixing of reportage, opinion, and repeating. Nice to see it kept apart.

What turns most people off MSM are opinionated people with megaphones, that provide little in the way of evidence-based analysis.

"I've always thought social cohesion, stemming from trust in authorities, stemming from competency, is what's needed to make the lock-down successful. Also a bit of fear - naturally.
The government now has to work much harder to keep us on this path. The negative alternative is force."

??? The lockdown is working. 54 cases today.

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/413652/watch-live-number-of-new-covi...

Basically need to use Goebbels propaganda methods.

Get people to cover in fear and cede all authority to the government, encourage citizens to dob in each other.

The NZ sheeple have fallen in line.

The main impertinent question I would ask around this virus is if it's lethality is as claimed, why is our fatality rate less than 0.001%? (1 death, 1100 cases)? Even our hospitalization rate is incredibly low.

"Even our hospitalization rate is incredibly low".

Am hoping it stays that way myself with 2 sisters and a young daughter in the front line - two theatre nurses and a district nurse.

A friend rang me this morning who's grandson is an intern anaesthetist in Wichita, seconded to help out in New York. Said he's shattered and distraught. His job is to contact relatives of the deceased. They are unable to keep up, such is the rate that people are dying.

Can anybody tell me if David Clark is a doctor of medicine? I heard through the grapevine that he is not; that he is a doctor of something else, maybe political studies or some other equally useless subject.

Not medicine - theology/philosophy, and it seems to be from Otago;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Clark_(New_Zealand_politician)

I wonder if David Clark will one day reflect on this and realise he squandered his career defining moment.

History will show he wasn't the health minister who took charge, managed the response, eradicated the virus and allowed New Zealand to go back to some semblance of normal life and rebuild the country.

Instead he'll be forever remembered as the health minister who during the international pandemic of 2020 chose to hide away in Dunedin, go to the beach and go mountain bike riding during the lockdown while the PM and the Director of Health steered the country through.

He quite likely will, and give himself an uppercut or two

He didn't "hide away" in Dunedin. All MPs have returned to their homes during lockdown apart from Jacinda and apparently Simon Bridges.

Gee, lots of love (not) for a government that is widely regarded as doing one of the best jobs during this crisis in the world.

The medics, thankfully, have been running the show, not Ardern. Remember just over 3 weeks ago she was still wanting the Christchurch commemoration to go ahead, was encouraging “business as usual” and allowed Womad to happen. It was only when the high up health professionals organised a petition saying that the NZ approach was madness that she changed her tune. I do give her credit for doing a U turn so quickly but what was needed was blatantly obvious to everyone following this many weeks ago and it is disingenuous for her to keep repeating that NZ was the first country to go early and hard with restrictions. She has still been slow to respond to Sir David Skegg’s on point criticisms of the government’s strategy, particularly with regard to forced quarantine for overseas arrivals.

Would be Interesting to compare cycling injuries with surfing injuries.

I don't understand why they didn't keep him on as deputy health minister to do all the backend stuff which he has knowledge of, and relationships with the DHBs etc, and have a new health minter, for overseeing him and for fronting the media. Win win.

Lose lose. Not one DHB can stand him. The less any of them see him the better. His two deputies/associates are not fit for public viewing, so he is actually the better option where he is. Great fun.