David Clark demoted after admitting driving to beach

Already under scrutiny for a mountain bike ride near his home, David Clark has admitted also driving to a beach and offered to resign. He admitted driving his family 20 km to the Doctor’s Point beach (a really nice beach for families) but that was a clear breach of the lockdown rules and also contrary to multiple requests from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

He also admitted driving his family to a walking track 2 km from his home and going for runs, within.

And it sounds like he didn’t advise Ardern until last night of the additional activities. Ardern must be furious, or she should be.

Statement from David Clark

Last night as part of my preparation for the Epidemic Response Committee, I provided the Prime Minister with a complete picture of my activity outside my home during Alert Level 4.

That included the fact that on the first weekend of the Alert Level 4 lockdown I drove my family approximately 20 kilometres from our 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.

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.

I’ve apologised to the Prime Minister for my lack of judgement and offered her my resignation.

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 has said the country can’t afford the  “massive disruption of changing Minister of Health during the Covid-19 crisis, but has stripped clark of another of his portfolios, Associate Minister of Finance, and dropped him to the bottom of Cabinet ranking.

Statement from the Prime Minister on Dr David Clark

“Yesterday evening the Health Minister advised me of his trip to a beach during the lockdown and offered his resignation,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“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.

“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,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Clark was ranked 10 in Cabinet before this demotion. He may find it hard to get back up much from there.

This is now more than ‘a mistake’. It looks like blatant repeat disregard for the rules required of all of us. Clark appears unsuited to the responsibilities of being a Cabinet Minister, but keeps his main job for now.

Why has it taken him this long to front up? The bike ride news broke last Thursday and he knew he was under a lot of scrutiny. He refused to give interviews over the weekend, despite Ardern and Grant Robertson saying he was always available.

And according to his statement he didn’t advise Ardern until last night. This is as bad as the breaches of rules and Prime Ministerial requests.

In an interview with RNZ Clark says that he has made “an error of judgement”. This is more than that, it is a series of errors of judgement.

He just said “I went back and discovered something else”. What?

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45 Comments

  1. An intriguing pattern emerging here.

    David Benson Pope – MP for DUNEDIN South : Sacked
    Clare Curran – MP DUNEDIN South : Sacked
    David Clark – MP DUNEDIN North : Sacked

    Reply
    • artcroft

       /  7th April 2020

      Oops, I didn’t read that correctly. Clark wasn’t sacked. I guess Jacinda must have got a call from Shane Jones and who advised her to back the truck up and hold her horses.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  7th April 2020

        still technically sacked- ‘I am stripping him of his role as Associate Finance Minister and demoting him to the bottom of our Cabinet rankings.’

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  7th April 2020

          She’s made the right call, B That was too much. She’s realized with regret that he’s a tosser, imo.

          Reply
  2. lurcher1948

     /  7th April 2020

    PG lives in Dunedin,just saying

    Reply
    • yes…… I live in Clare’s electorate :/
      >but she did ‘muck up’.. reportedly

      Reply
    • Blazer

       /  7th April 2020

      ‘PG used to be United Future candidate for Dunedin North (Dunne’s mob). In 2011 he lost to David Clark 12,976 to 176. Though given that everyone except the ACT candidate got (159) more votes than that, I am sure he doesn’t hold a grudge.'(TS)

      Reply
      • You know you should provide links to quotes. Here’s the start of that thread: https://thestandard.org.nz/clarks-calamity/#comment-1699128

        Very funny isn’t it. That’s just about more lame squirrel dredging than you do.

        Of course it’s all my fault that Clark has shown himself to be unsuited to being a Minister of Health during a crisis. Must have been something I said in 2011.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  7th April 2020

          It is grounds for a bias imo.
          It is news to me too…not guilty to this new crime ..of dredging.

          Reply
          • What’s grounds for a bias?

            Trying to link a political experience 9 years ago (well worth it too, I learned a lot from it) to the failings of the current Minister of Health is pretty pathetic.

            Do you think there was bias from the person who said “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.”

            Do you think there was bias from the person who said “Under normal conditions I would sack the Minister of Health. What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses.”

            If I think you’re biased about something (for example, this) should that rule you you from commenting on it?

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  7th April 2020

              Where did I suggest bias should prevent anyone from commenting(would be a barren wasteland)?

              ‘ to the failings of the current Minister of Finance is pretty pathetic.’…presume you mean MOH…Robertson’s performance has been …stellar imo.

            • Yes I did mean Minister of Health (now edited) – Robertson has been very good.

  3. David

     /  7th April 2020

    The sheer arrogance of him is just stunning, that first week we were told by plod not to drive anywhere and he thought it didnt apply to him. Did his wife not ask the question, in my experience they tend to when you are about to do something questionable.
    Anyway I am delighted he is still there stinking up the joint and undermining all her messages, couldnt be happier. The only thing missing is a formal warning from plod to send me over the edge.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  7th April 2020

      Just as well he didnt get the government to pay him to live in his own house – during a financial crisis but kept his job despite those ministers who manipulated the ‘living in Wellington;’ system during Clarks time getting sacked.

      Reply
  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  7th April 2020

    The rules are stupid and just plain masochistic so he deserves yo be sacked for approving them.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  7th April 2020

      Do you think his problem over this is:

      1. Arrogance
      2. Sense of entitlement (I’m a Senior Minister; these rules are only for the plebs)
      3. Dense as a doorknob?

      You may choose only one.

      Reply
      • 4. Out of his depth, put there by friends

        Reply
      • Gerrit

         /  7th April 2020

        3

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  7th April 2020

          He has a PhD amoung other degrees, and had worked as a Treasury analyst -Just like the phony ‘Skellerup Farmer of the year finalist’ Bill English ( yes wayback website shows that claim)

          Reply
      • David

         /  7th April 2020

        2 for the 1st offence, 1 for the 2nd offence 3 is just situation normal.
        Sorry about breaking the instructions Gezza but given the circumstances it seemed appropriate in our times of lawlessness.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  7th April 2020

          I’m sorry David. This one is disqualified.
          You know the rules.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  7th April 2020

            And you have been demoted from the front passenger seat to the back one.

            Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  7th April 2020

        Don’t know him so would only be guessing. My blind guess would be that as a good Lefty he had probably never run anything so had no experience of leadership and had viewed it as all power no responsibility from afar. Now he knows differently.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  7th April 2020

          Never run anything , that would be 90% of this list of the Blue team in ranking order
          Bridges
          Paula Bennett – the former truck stop waitress and ‘welfare queen’
          Goldsmith
          Collins
          Todd McClay
          Mitchell
          Nikki Kaye
          Brownlee

          Reply
  5. lurcher1948

     /  7th April 2020

    David settle petal, Clarks a waste of oxygen and needed to go,he’s almost as useless as Simon Bridges who cannot get decent internet in a large city,I have fibre 100MPS unplan and don’t need to drive to Tauranga to use it,I live in Wellington. To some broadband can be scary and one of Simmons children could have helped him adapt

    Reply
    • David

       /  7th April 2020

      No seriously I am over the moon, he will undermine her whole government because he isnt being fired. I can now get on with some work that was perhaps marginal in the lockdown but its carte blanche because it was clearly unnecessary. Easter bunny can work then so can I.
      Diggers already arranged to scrape out and prep the drive for when the concrete plant re opens, just working through with the other trades who are marginally essential and everyone is f..k it lets get back to work.
      There is some anger around the place.

      Reply
  6. pythagoras

     /  7th April 2020

    Yet Simon Bridges is allowed to drive every weekend between Wellington and Tauranga?

    Reply
    • David

       /  7th April 2020

      And Clark is allowed to go between Wellington and Dunedin because he also is an essential worker.
      He is not allowed to drive 20kms to go for a walk on the beach in the first weekend of lockdown when he had just finished telling the country to only go out for food and medicines because he thought 27,000 NZers might die if we didnt obey his rules.

      Reply
    • By the rules probably yes as Leader of the Opposition is an essential job especially at a time the Government has extraordinary powers.

      But I think he should have stayed in Wellington for the lockdown to avoid travel.

      I think the same for Clark, it would be justified for him to commute, his job is more important than Bridges but really he should be staying Wellington where all the big decisions are being made. Or should have been, he seems to be an under-functional Minister.

      Reply
      • David

         /  7th April 2020

        They both have young families they should both be allowed to travel and be allowed to return to family, as long as their families are totally isolated.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  7th April 2020

          Travel is only for ‘essential purposes’ not ‘to be with family’ or bubbles etc.
          Cars used for shopping/ medical only
          The context is parks are out of bounds , unless passing through for ‘local exercise’.
          Some countries dont even allow to go outside for exercise at all.

          Reply
          • David

             /  7th April 2020

            He is travelling to work and back he isnt going for a scenic drive to pass the time. You are being typically disingenuous by comparing rules for someone working and someone not working, compare him to a long distance truck driver.

            Reply
      • Blazer

         /  7th April 2020

        Just when Simon was looking like he might actually morph into a credible alternative leader,he pulls out a plastic shotgun and starts …blowing bubbles.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  7th April 2020

          What are you talking about? What’s he done now?

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  7th April 2020

            He’s on the Epidemic Committee so is driving from Tauranga, alone in his car, to attend the meetings. Apart from that he’s working from home.

            Reply
  7. Zedd

     /  7th April 2020

    Dr Clark may have ‘dodged a bullet’ for now.. BUT what will happen after the lockdown ?
    Jacinda (or others) may come ‘gunning for him’ AGAIN ?! :/

    Reply
  8. the pair of them are idiots. Clark for refusing to follow his own advice and Bridges for failing to stay in Wellington to do his job.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  7th April 2020

      Parliament is closed, there’d be no point in staying there.

      Reply
  9. Conspiratoor

     /  7th April 2020

    Wouldn’t be surprised if H1 has dispatched H2 to go in and sort this out

    Reply
  10. Kitty Catkin

     /  7th April 2020

    2km is local; I thought that we could have exercise locally ?

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  7th April 2020

      Quite. People will be driving much further than that to the nearest supermarket. The media is as full of crap as the politicians.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  7th April 2020

        Purpose of the trip not how long
        getting to supermarket even for some distance is essential travel, going to beach with family isnt.
        Dont know why you cant see that rather tahn muddy waters.
        Same as the quarantine is ‘prevent infectious diseases’ as mandated in the Health Act.
        No mention of safety – which might be in the Emergency Management Act

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  7th April 2020

          The purpose of quarantine is safety, not making people as miserable as possible. It appears neither you nor the bureaucrats realise that.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  7th April 2020

            It actually says in the rules that driving to a local place for exercise is permitted.

            Reply
  11. David

     /  7th April 2020

    Same pay, working from home and his workload has lightened…funny old punishment.
    Her saying she needs his expertise well she could appoint a new health minister and still keep his knowledge just with less pay. No one is going to listen to him now his authority has gone, he is ineffectual.

    Reply

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