David Clark’s ‘full disclosure’ questioned after house move revealed

Minister of Health David Clark emerged from lockdown in Dunedin to attend Parliament yesterday, but his lockdown laxness has flared up again.

Earlier in April Clark was demoted to the bottom of the Cabinet ranks and stripped of the Associate Finance portfolio after it was revealed that he was abusing the spirit if not the rules of the lockdown that he must have played a part in defining.

First he was found to have driven his van to a mountain bike track, and it then took Clark days to front up and admit he had also taken his family to the beach.

But he didn’t say anything about moving house.

1 News: Health Minister David Clark confident he didn’t break Alert Level 4 lockdown for third time despite moving between homes

Dr Clark was seen repeatedly moving boxes between the two properties during the Alert Level 4 lockdown. The properties are believed to only be a few hundred metres apart.

“I moved house, using the services of a moving company, on the Wednesday immediately before the Level Four lockdown began. My new house is just up the road from my old one,” Dr Clark told 1 NEWS.

“During lockdown I used my old house as my office and occasionally walked the odd item or box back with me, as is within the rules.”

Dr Clark’s office has confirmed he was working at times during lockdown from his old house, which he still owns and said it provided a quieter work environment.

The story seems to have changed a bit. A Kiwiblog post quotes a NZ Herald article that quotes 1 News:

Clark was spotted repeatedly between two Dunedin properties during the month-long lockdown period.

He and his family are believed to have recently moved into a new home before the country went into level 4, with the minister seen moving large furniture and appliances as the country went into the mandatory nationwide restrictions, 1 NEWS reported.

So both the Herald and 1 News seem to have altered their stories online, but

Working from home was supposed to be working from home, but perhaps more damaging for Clark is his lack of full disclosure in a Statement from David Clark made on 7 April that stated:

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.

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.

I don’t know whether Ardern was provided with ‘a complete picture’ then, but Clark seems to have not provided full disclosure in his public statement.

All Ardern disclosed in Statement from the Prime Minister on Dr David Clark was:

“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.”

Again what Clark did may seem relatively trivial, but what he stated looks to have been misleading – and may have misled the Prime Minister, unless Ardern mislead the public.


Newshub has a bit more:  Prime Minister told David Clark’s house move took place prior to lockdown

Dr Clark’s new house was just down the road from where he used to live, and though most of the moving – including shifting his family and hiring a moving truck for heavy furniture – took place before the country went into lockdown, Dr Clark continued to move some boxes after the alert level was raised.

The Health Minister’s office told Newshub he was using the old place as an office, so he would shift some things when he returned home.

That seems minor, but it still seems outside the rules.

Richard Harman at Politik: The Minister’s new house: up the road and into trouble

Then came a statement from a spokesperson for the Prime Minister:”A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said based on what the Health Minister has advised her he moved house prior to lockdown, and based on his description of events, had not breached the rules of lockdown.”

The repeated “based on what the Health Minister advised her” and “based on his description of events” would seem to suggest the Prime Minister is not entirely convinced that what he said happened is exactly what did happen. But then, he has form.

He has form for not fully disclosing already. He could have an awkward day in Parliament.

Leave a comment

38 Comments

  1. artcroft

     /  29th April 2020

    At least he appears not to have been overwhelmed by his position as health minister in a pandemic. He still had time to go biking, move house and go on family outings.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  29th April 2020

      Formidable sang froid. First in the lifeboat as captain.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  29th April 2020

        You mean he has more than one house …quelle horreur.
        Simon has 3 and was regularly doing the 500km trip between 2 of them during lockdown…within the his rules of course

        Reply
    • duperez

       /  29th April 2020

      An element about Ardern’s term is coming through in the David Clark situation. About ‘work.’

      Apparently Clark should be in Wellington working and should have been doing that over recent months. I guess that means he should be, should’ve been, sitting at his desk from 8.00am until 5.00 ‘working.’ Because that’s what work is.

      There should be GoPro cameras broadcasting to the world to show see he is actually working. Because that’s what work is isn’t it? He, and every other MP should be doing that. And we want proof they’re working.

      When they finish work at 5.00pm, having put in a day’s effort, are they allowed to ‘do things?’ Is your suggestion that Clark should have been too busy to do anything else?

      The other week had it that Clark couldn’t do proper work unless he was in Wellington. The modern technology which is good enough to school our kids, good enough for thousands to continue to do valuable work, wasn’t good enough for Clark. He had to be on site.

      The Ardern angle? All she was doing (pre-Covid times) was turning up during the day at some PR opportunity according to some. And of course that was almost always, according to the same folk, at some place with little kids. She didn’t do ‘proper’ work, she was the laziest PM in New Zealand history and Bridges put the ‘part time PM’ label on it knowing it would stick, like shit to a blanket. An old phrase but appropriate to those who picked it up and still use it.

      If she isn’t in sight, ‘working,’ she’s doing nothing. And if she is in sight it’s just for the PR.

      Gezza (below) wants a whatabout? Whatabout some semblance of rationality?

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  29th April 2020

        A good start would be your reworking that. By the time I got to the end I felt like I’d been inside a concrete mixer.

        Reply
        • duperez

           /  29th April 2020

          I don’t do tweets. Okay, tweet fashion:

          ‘Thinking Clark not being in Wellington meant he wasn’t working is moronic.’

          Reply
        • duperez

           /  29th April 2020

          And so there’s not too much information to process in one instalment, another

          ‘Saying Ardern is lazy because you don’t see her doing stuff stuff is stupid.’

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  29th April 2020

            Yup. I certainly wouldn’t call her lazy. Or stupid.

            Not on the salary she’s on & with the job she’s got.

            Don’t think Winston would either. And I wouldn’t call him stupid. Not on the salary he’s on. And with the job he got Jacinda to get it ! 😀

            Reply
        • duperez

           /  29th April 2020

          ‘Expecting a Minister to be so overwhelmed with the job so that they can’t do anything else to try to relax is pathetic.’

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  29th April 2020

            Some people might think it makes a difference if they’re were pathetic already in the job. But I couldn’t possibly comment.

            Reply
      • duperez

         /  29th April 2020

        And if that way is the best way all of those books would have simply read something like , “Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess. And she lived happily ever after.”

        Right for Trump and those of his level I suppose.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  29th April 2020

          Damn. How did I end up back in that bloody concrete mixer ?

          Reply
          • duperez

             /  29th April 2020

            👍😊👍😊👍😊👍😊👍😊 BRILLIANT!!

            When the first reports of Clarks’ shutdown escapades came to light some said he should have been in Wellington like implying that was the only place work could be done. I thought it was an example of concrete thinking. “I can’t see it so I don’t believe it, it can’t be so.’

            “Concrete thinking is a kind of reasoning that relies heavily on what we observe in the physical world around us. It’s sometimes called literal thinking. Young children thinking concretely, but as they mature, they usually develop the ability to think more abstractly.”

            In a lot of psychology books.
            https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/concrete-thinking

            Confucius say “Better to be in a psychology book than a concrete mixer.”

            Reply
          • It’s all right, Gezza, I’ve turned the power off.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  29th April 2020

              Better check your lights are working. I don’t think you can reach his off switch from up there ? 😉

  2. Gezza

     /  29th April 2020

    Clark’s just a liability for Jacinda. If she had any competent (or even semi-competent) MPs she’d probably be best to remove him to the back benches at the earliest opportunity & get someone in the party not noted for their kindness to elbow him out before the next election.

    They might have a few more candidates next time who show they have a few clues & some promise?

    Wonder how long before we get some whatabouts from the usual

    suspects …

    Reply
  3. David

     /  29th April 2020

    I am with Duprez and Duker I think he should be front and centre for the election campaign, it would be terrible (for National) if he resigned and lets face it she wont sack him.
    I find it astounding he wasnt in Wellington seeing as a lot of elective surgery could have been done, the health system could have easily coped with cancer screenings etc. when it became clear Covid was not going to affect the health system.
    That Keytruda for lung cancer patients has had its funding previously approved and now cancelled affecting 1400 patients should have seen him doing his job and securing the funding. There are 8 other drugs that have gone through the tortuous pharmac process and need funding. He could have been working on getting Dunedins hospital built as part of the stimulus.
    The health system needs leadership from a focused minister, it was under performing ahead of Covid and its going to be a massive task to get back on track.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  29th April 2020

      Clark missing inaction for sure. Possibly to everyone’s relief. No indication Jacinda sent out a search party.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  29th April 2020

        And I see Bridges fails to capitalise again. He’s calling on Ardern to sack Clark. He should be calling on her not to sack him because all her alternatives are worse.

        Reply
      • That was 2 months ago and demolition only, which has been delayed and foundations are badly over budget.

        More recently: Proposed hospital buildings shrinking

        The new Dunedin Hospital will still be a two-building development, but the buildings’ size will likely be much smaller than originally planned.

        A building of about 89,000sq m would be “not fit for purpose from the day it opens”, a clinician said.

        This is not the first time senior medical staff have questioned the direction of the keenly anticipated hospital build. In October, speaking under condition of anonymity, several told the ODT they feared some vital services would be cut from the new hospital due to budget constraints.

        https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/proposed-hospital-buildings-shrinking

        It’s like Clark’s credibility – shrinking.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  29th April 2020

          The story also said its standard for these sorts of projects that ‘ballooning and shrinking’ of total floor area occurs…did you not have space for that part ?
          People forget its the medical part that matters not all the other bits and pieces. There was a huge fuss from doctors for the new Auckland City hospital block, which I followed closely, when they were told they would have a central open plan office area instead of private offices here and there. My father , who used to work at a large older hospital as Chief Engineer told me they were used as ‘hideaways’ by the workshy or those that didnt like interruptions or if they were sessional doctors could work on paperwork/phonecalls for outside patients. Happens in lots of workplaces

          Reply
  4. alloytoo

     /  29th April 2020

    The real question here is why Clark didn’t arrange the move earlier or postpone it. Perhaps the lock down wasn’t supposed to happen until after the 15th, perhaps Clark wasn’t in the loop, perhaps Clark is an idiot…

    Perhaps all of the above.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  29th April 2020

      Move earlier ? Have you not heard of settlement dates when buying and selling property, and movers have to be booked in advance. Living in a rented place has similar constraints.
      Bridges got sstick over his silly ‘essential travel’ to Wellington, so no real concerns over Clark traipsing between houses that he owns around the corner from each other.

      Reply
      • alloytoo

         /  29th April 2020

        And yet Clark still appears to have full access to his old property for the period of the lockdown……curious that.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  29th April 2020

          His office ? Whats curious when the story says he still owns the place

          Reply
  5. Zedd

     /  29th April 2020

    Im guessing Simon is gone.. BUT he may not be the only one from both sides :/

    Reply
  6. I disliked him from the start, especially with my special interest in Medical Cannabis, he got a down trou from Shane Reti of all people, that 100 day election promise took exactly 888 days to deliver the final Scheme. This COVID behaviour just reaffirms my harsh take on things. Maybe stripping his portfolios could help him refocus, surely minister of health ain’t got time for nuttin’ else!

    However It’s too close to election time so I feel he’s the walking dead….

    First term in Government is great for finding out who sinks and swims…

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  29th April 2020

      https://www.labour.org.nz/100days
      https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_75877/misuse-of-drugs-medicinal-cannabis-amendment-bill
      ‘Indroduced’ 20/12/17
      It was only a promise to INDRODUCE , not implement… whats that about impairs long term memory ?

      Doesnt sound like 888 days to me , more like 400…ahh coalition politics…some people are still waiting more than 10 yrs for this one
      “The National Party campaigned successfully in the 2008 general election on a policy of abolishing the Māori parliamentary seats. However, this policy was opposed by the Māori Party, which later formed a confidence and supply agreement with National. Watch this 2008 television news broadcast in which National’s leader, John Key, explains that his party’s policy is still to abolish the Māori seats, but that any negotiations on this will happen after the election.”
      https://teara.govt.nz/en/interactive/33915/john-key-on-the-maori-seats-2008

      You should raise that one with Dr Reti.

      Reply
      • The Election campaign graphics were pretty clear in promising to legalize, post govt formation that was quickly edited down to “introduce legislation” in the hopes no one would notice.

        From date of govt formation, 26 October 2017, to April 1st 2020, when the regulations took effect, is exactly 888 days.

        The lack of vision and early consultation outside of government before drafting a bill which basically said “I have NFI, Ministry can sort this out later” was its downfall, and was the price of a party prepared to make bold promises with no clue how to implement them. Despite JAGs grow your own bill being a s**t-house lazy effort, at least it showed a vision of how Medical Cannabis would operate.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  29th April 2020

          Nope .. the fine print
          “This 100 day plan was released as part of Labour’s policy during the 2017 election campaign.”

          And Hansard Jan 2018 just after election in 2017

          Hon Dr JONATHAN COLEMAN (National—Northcote): It’s a great pleasure to be able to take a call on what is a bill of high public interest throughout the country. I commend the Minister on bringing this bill to the House. It was rather politically driven on his part, in the sense that the Labour Party had made this commitment to introduce medicinal cannabis legislation in their first 100 days, and he’s just got it under the bar. But I was very intrigued by his speech, and I will come back to that shortly.

          ” Labour Party had made this commitment to introduce medicinal cannabis legislation in their first 100 days”
          https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/hansard-debates/rhr/combined/HansDeb_20180130_20180130_24

          You are just repeating a false statement about ‘implementing in 100 days’ and making up things Dr Reti , a very high regarded MP, didnt say.
          This is what he DID say in the Hansard link above
          “I think, in summary, this just shows this bill’s been hurried, clearly to meet the 100-day requirements and the 100-day targets that they’re looking to reach.

          In fact the only link to implementing in 100 days was Norml in their pre election ( false) advertising. So because Norml said it that means you think Labour said it. Wake and smell the fresh air.
          https://norml.org.nz/tokethevote-guide-to-the-2017-elections/

          Reply

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