New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has demoted Health Minister David Clark to the bottom of cabinet rankings and removed him from the post of the Associate Finance Minister for violating social distancing guidelines during the 4-week national lockdown imposed in the country, owing to the outbreak of the Wuhan Coronavirus. Clark had been accused of flouting rules and taking his family to a joy ride to the beach during the early stages of the lockdown.
New Zealand Health Minister David Clark has been demoted by PM Jacinda Ardern after ignoring #SocialDistancing rules and drove his family to the beach in early stages of the lockdown.— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) April 7, 2020
Ardern rejected his resignation to avoid jeopardizing plans to contain the novel #coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/sOBdhzxq6M
While tendering his apology, David Clark reiterated, “At a time when we are asking New Zealanders to make historic sacrifices, I have let the team down. I have been an idiot, and I understand why people will be angry with me. “As the health minister, it is my responsibility to not only follow the rules but set an example to other New Zealanders … I have apologised to the prime minister for my lack of judgment and offered her my resignation.”
Jacinda Ardern said that while under normal circumstances, she would have fired the health minister, at a time when the country is fighting the bigger war, she has only demoted him. “What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses,” she said. She also refused to accept the resignation of the Health Minister as it would have jeopardised plans to contain the transmission of the Chinese virus. “I expect better, and so does New Zealand,” PM Ardern emphasised. New Zealand which shut down its borders to most foreign nationals in March had reported 1160 cases of Wuhan Coronavirus and 1 death so far.