Minister seeks Communications and Events Professional

David Clark, Labour MP (Dunedin North Electorate) and was given the challenging role of Minister of Health in the Ardern led Government. According to pundits rating his performance over his first year he has struggled.

From Bryce Edwards’ Political Roundup: NZ’s worst performing politicians

…there was also some cutting commentary on the disappointing performances of the likes of Simon Bridges, Kelvin Davis, David Clark, and Amy Adams.

in Stuff political editor Tracy Watkins’ scorecard of the year in politics, a number of struggling Labour frontbenchers don’t even get a mention (Megan Woods, Chris Hipkins, Carmel Sepuloni, David Clark, Nanaia Mahuta, and Stuart Nash) – see: After a huge year in politics, one politician stands out.

According to Newshub political editor Tova O’Brien, “Lees-Galloway’s admission that he had not read the full report when deciding whether to grant Karel Sroubek residency in New Zealand qualified him for this award” of “most useless” member of the coalition government – see Alice Webb-Liddall and Tova O’Brien’s Political superlatives 2018: Tova O’Brien reviews the political year.

O’Brien also thought the Minister of Health, David Clark, deserved to share the award, because he announced the Mental Health Review “with absolutely no detail about what the Government’s going to do”.

In the Spinoff, Simon Wilson also declared David Clark as one of the “flops” of the year: “Clark should be focused on improving mental health care, improving primary health care to those most in need, and rethinking health services delivery for the 21st century. He seems disengaged with all of it.”

So it sounds like Clark has some improving to do.

He is currently advertising for some electorate help:

I think that Clark has used the services of a communications assistant for some time, and as far as I can remember it has always been a 20 hour per week position.

The change with this latest advertisement is the range of expertise being sought. It may be difficult to find and keep someone with that degree of ability and experience in a part time position.

This is similar to other electorate situations vacant. For example:

Parliamentary MP Support to Sarah Dowie, MP (Public Relations, Communication and Stakeholder liaison)

Parliamentary MP Support to Sarah Dowie, MP

Varied and multifaceted role supporting Sarah Dowie, MP. As a strong planner, you will enjoy the coordination and planning of events along with drafting all types of communications including press releases.   You will be organised and understand office administration – you’ll be able to effectively liaise with stakeholders, support your MP with research and representation and, take enquiries at reception.

You’ve got a firm grasp of the current political landscape and where the electorate sits within it. You appreciate the sometimes unpredictable nature of this environment and instead of letting it faze you, you thrive on it – putting your proactive, calm, and flexible personality to good use. It goes without saying you’re someone who’s empathetic and respectful, and you’re confident in building strong relationships with a diverse range of people. You’re happy to work autonomously and are well known for your resilient and unflappable nature.

You’ll be stepping into an environment that is unique, exciting, and rewarding. This really is a role unlike any other and if you’re passionate about giving back and helping your community, it’s right up your alley. As an organisation, it’s extremely important to us that our people feel supported and are given the opportunity to continue to grow and develop their knowledge and their careers.

This role is based in the Invercargill office for up to 40 hours per week with a minimum of 30 hours. Some flexibility in hours may be required. This is an events-based, fixed-term role linked to the Member of Parliament.

If you’d like to play an important in supporting your MP and helping your community, apply now.

Interesting to see a back bench opposition MP seeking a similarly experienced person for a 30-40 hour per week role.

Not sure why Clark’s assistant is not advertised on the Parliamentary Services Website.

Dowie is low and slipping in The 2018 Trans-Tasman Ratings for 2018 -down 0.5 to 3.5.

MPs require good assistance but ultimately their performance is up to themselves.

Dowie can get away with staying out of the spotlight as an Opposition MP without a major role (if the Jami-Lee Ross thing has blown over and doesn’t flare up again) – she is National Spokesperson for Conservation.

But Clark needs to up his efforts – and that goes beyond better media assistance and presentation.  The Health portfolio is always challenging, but Clark has to be seen to be doing quite a bit better, and faster. Especially on Mental Health, which while regarded as in urgent need of changes is still not being addressed (due some time this year). And the Dunedin Hospital rebuild, which Labour made promises on as inn urgent need of pushing along has already slipped back.

Minister Clark needs to take more responsibility for his own actions, or lack thereof.

More pressure on him already this year:  A new year challenge for Health Minister David Clark

Dear David – A new year challenge Health Minister David Clark could make a good start to 2019 by admitting there is a crisis in the specialist workforce, Association of Salaried Medical Specialists (ASMS) Executive Director Ian Powell says.

Mr Powell says specialists working in public hospitals are disappointed Dr Clark has yet to commit to developing a safe staffing accord to address this precarious situation. Mr Powell’s article, entitled ‘Dear David, There’s a Hole in the SMO Bucket’ has been published in the current edition of The Specialist and can be read here:

“This is a significant oversight as hospital specialists are a stressed and stretched workforce, and they have been shouldering the burden of an under-resourced public health system for years, to the detriment of their own health,” Mr Powell says.

Clark needs to step up.


  1. duperez

     /  11th January 2019

    There doesn’t seem to be anything specific in the Clark one about the ability to answer thousands of questions a week submitted by the Opposition, like “Who did the Minister meet this week, for how long and for what purpose?”

    There doesn’t seem to be anything specific in the Dowie one about the ability to ask Ministers thousands of questions a week like, “Who did the Minister meet this week, for how long and for what purpose?” 🙃

    • PDB

       /  11th January 2019

      Being the ‘most open and transparent govt ever’ I’d have thought that sort of basic information would be freely made available to everybody online without even having to ask dupz…

      • duperez

         /  11th January 2019

        Yes, I’m surprised they don’t have a little pool of people collating all the information with all the minutiae of who they talked to, texted, where they went and so on, for each and every day of the week. Itemised online daily would be good.
        Naturally the whole mob in the House would be under the same regime as they are all in our employ, on a salary.

        I can see it in the Seymour log:
        June 10 2018: 5.30 – 6.47: Jerk twerk practice, Sonny’s Gym, Karori. Talked to 7 young admirers after. Signed autographs.

  2. Gezza

     /  11th January 2019

    Frankly, if you could meet all those requirements in that posted job description you really should be the Minister, and David Clark your office clerk, where he doesn’t need to be very bright.

    • Duker

       /  11th January 2019

      Surely you would know a ministers time available isnt unlimited.
      As well you dont know how top executives work as ‘decision makers’ not detailed to write and organise all the things in their schedule.
      Apparently your existence as a public service minion didnt extent that far

      • Gezza

         /  11th January 2019

        No, but only because I was too busy trying to think for them.

        • Gezza

           /  11th January 2019

          And our executives. It took its toll more than once. The thing is if you meet all of those requirements you don’t have to use them all. It’s more a case of – tell me which ones would be useful if David Clark had them.

  3. acrossthespectrum

     /  11th January 2019

    Most required skills for aspiring MP’s.
    As former Labour Party Minister Trevor de Cleene said about Winston Peters.
    “What Mr Peters knows about the economy can be written
    on the back of a postage stamp with a yard broom”
    May be that has always been true but what Mr de Cleene
    forgot to mention was that what Mr Peter’s knows about making people
    think he knows about the economy is another matter completely.
    Mr Peters has actually always been about spin and very little else.
    Take away the spin and there is just a faint outline like the shroud of Turin.
    The believers are mostly in rest homes now days but they
    still put their faith in St Peter’s cure all’s like granny Clampet’s potions.
    Give us old time religion, none of this interweb stuff.

    • Duker

       /  11th January 2019

      Well its De Cleene who is in the retirement home or 6 ft under while Peters chuffs along

      • thespectrum

         /  11th January 2019

        Trevor achieved more in 3 years than Winston has in 40.

        • Duker

           /  11th January 2019

          Stuffing things up isn’t an achievement. During Rogernomics he was not even in cabinet as was a low ranked minister outside of it. Then joined ACT
          All in all a big fat zero as I said. No doubt he talked for the next 20 yrs after it , as the tales of his achievement grew bigger in his Dutch pea brain

  4. PartisanZ

     /  11th January 2019

    Damn … wish it was Matt King!

    • PartisanZ

       /  11th January 2019

      I could sort Matt King’s image out in a couple of minutes …

      Start with: What you say has got to make sense Matt …

  5. Duker

     /  11th January 2019

    “Clark’s assistant is not advertised on the Parliamentary Services Website”

    Thats because they would be employed by ‘Ministerial services’.
    One deals with Mps and constituent matters and the other is the whole panoply of Ministers and their work

  6. Kitty Catkin

     /  11th January 2019

    I wish that the Minister who deals with such things would poach some of the unpaid air traffic controllers in the US and bring them to NZ where we’re short of them.

    • thespectrum

       /  11th January 2019

      That idea may not fly 🙂

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  11th January 2019

        What a pity. We’d gain them, they’d gain a chance to be paid for their work instead of being volunteers. Everyone wins.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  11th January 2019

          It would be really good if it could happen. What a one-finger salute to Trump.