July 02, 2020
Bike crash catches up with Clark
David Clark has resigned as Health Minister.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the Dunedin North MP told her his presence in the role is creating an unhelpful distraction from the Government’s ongoing response to COVID-19 and wider health reforms.
She says it’s essential health leadership has the confidence of the New Zealand public.
Chris Hipkins will fill the role until the election.
If Labour is re-elected Government as expected, she will reassess who is best placed to take the health portfolio forward.
Dr Clark drew fire after a bicycle accident made people aware he had breached the Level 4 lockdown.
His relative silence while Ms Ardern and Health Director General Ashley Bloomfield took the limelight during the crisis and his recent responses over where responsibility lay for lapses in border isolation and testing showed he was likely to remain a target.
His resignation could give associate minister Peeni Henare a chance to step into cabinet after the election, with the other associate minister, Jenny Salesa, and Megan Woods, who has been given responsibility for fixing the border problems, also in the mix.
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