New Zealand Health Minister Demoted After Violating Lockdown: ‘I’ve Made A Fool Of Myself’


WELLINGTON,NEW ZEALAND (VINnews) — New Zealand’s health minister admitted that he had blatantly disregarded coronavirus lockdown regulations and taken his family on a beach trip 20km from his home.

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Health Minister David Clark said in an interview with Stuff:  “I’m feeling pretty stupid and I think I’ve made a fool of myself. But, you know, probably more importantly, I’ve let New Zealanders down”.

Clark was demoted to the bottom of the Cabinet ranks and stripped of his associate finance minister portfolio on Tuesday, after confessing to the prime minister he had breached the lockdown. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Clark only escaped being sacked from the health portfolio as he was required for the coronavirus response.

New Zealanders have been ordered to stay at home for four weeks after coronavirus cases in the country topped 1000 and the government initiated the restrictions in the hope that they will break community transmission of Covid-19.

Yet Clark failed to consider the “stay at home” order reiterated by the prime minister and health officials in recent weeks. His wife questioned whether it was acceptable to take a trip to Doctor’s Point beach on the first weekend of the lockdown, 20km from their Dunedin home, and he decided this was acceptable.

“The message was it has to be local, clearly I wasn’t thinking straight. I was focused on making sure we were keeping in our bubble, but I made an error of judgement,’ he said.

This was Clark’s second breach of the lockdown after he was caught on a mountain bike ride last Thursday.

“I don’t have a good reason. I don’t have an excuse. I was obviously being fairly focused on my job, but that’s no excuse,” Clark said of his actions.

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