David Clark will continue as New Zealand’s health minister, despite labelling himself an ‘idiot’ and offering to resign his position for a second blunder during the country’s lockdown.
Days after Dr Clark was caught mountain biking near his Dunedin home in spite of the lockdown, he revealed he also took his family on a coastal walk on the previous weekend.
The first charge breaks the lockdown’s rules as a potentially dangerous activity, the second does so as the walk was not local; it was 20km away.
‘At a time when we are asking New Zealanders to make historic sacrifices I’ve let the team down,’ he said.
‘I’ve been an idiot, and I understand why people will be angry with me. I’ve apologised to the Prime Minister for my lack of judgement and offered her my resignation.’
However, Jacinda Ardern has kept him in his position owing to the crisis.
‘Under normal conditions I would sack the Minister of Health. What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses,’ she said.
‘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.’