David Clark resigns as Health Minister

New Zealand

New Zealand

After the news broke, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she would have sacked him under normal circumstances, but was keeping him in the position due to the need for continuity in the crisis response. Last week the minister appeared to blame Bloomfield for errors in border quarantine and refused to take responsibility for multiple failures, including people being released from quarantine without being tested.

"He is an exceptional public servant", Clark said, reported AFP.

New Zealand's health minister resigned today following a series of personal blunders during the coronavirus pandemic.

"I've been an idiot, and I understand why people will be angry with me", Dr Clark said at the time.

On April 3 during lockdown, Dr Clark apologised after going on a bike ride at a mountain bike park.

"However it has develop into more and more clear to me that my continuation within the position is distracting from the federal government's general response to COVID-19", he mentioned.

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Clark was criticized for his poor handling of the managed isolation facilities where travellers arriving in New Zealand stay for 14 days to prevent the spread of COVID-19 into the country.

Ms Ardern, who leads the liberal Labour Party, saw her popularity soar during the early stages of the virus response, although recent opinion polls indicate the conservative National Party, under new leader Todd Muller, is making inroads into Labour's lead. "Thank you, Ashley, and your team, for the extraordinary work you have done for our country during our most serious health crisis this century".

"That's certainly the view that Dr Clark himself formed".

"I've been an fool, and I perceive why individuals will likely be offended with me", Clark mentioned on the time.

Critics said it was "like kicking a puppy" and accused Clark of throwing Bloomfield "under a bus".

"Regardless, anything that acts as a distraction, anything that takes away our time and energy from our response to Covid-19, we just as a country can not afford, so that was a very frank conversation".

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"It's essential our health leadership has the confidence of the New Zealand public", she said in a statement.

Announcing his resignation, Clark insisted he had a warm relationship with Bloomfield and singled him out for praise.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins will take charge of the health department until the country's election in September.

"At a time when we are asking New Zealanders to make historic sacrifices I've let the team down. The question has to be asked; why did she repeatedly fail to fire him?"

Hipkins said he had worked closely with Bloomfield during the Covid-19 response, and said of the health role: "I will be giving it my all up until the election".

Clark was pressured to leave his post over his breach of strict quarantine rules, as he chose the pandemic to move house and was often seen out walking.

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