Dr David Clark's performance as Health Minister is once again being scrutinised after he deflected responsibility for border blunders in a now-viral video.
On Tuesday, it emerged that about 50 people were let free early from managed isolation without a test from COVID-19. That news came after it was found last week that two women let out on compassionate leave without a test ended up having the virus.
The Prime Minister and Health Minister has labelled that unacceptable and had been told testing was happening, while the Director-General of Health has taken responsibility. Dr Clark said it's an operational matter and he will help fix the system's gaps.
In footage captured by Newshub on Wednesday, Dr Clark stressed that Dr Ashley Bloomfield was taking the blame while the Director-General stood right behind him. That video has now gone viral with many condemning the Health Minister for pointing blame away from himself and some questioning why he is still in the role.
Jacinda Ardern has since said Dr Clark and Dr Bloomfield get on well.
After the border blunder, Dr Clark and the Government have suspended compassionate leave requests among many other actions.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, Dr Clark broke the rules by going on a beach trip while Kiwis were told to stay at home other than for non-essential activities. He was stripped of his Associate Finance Minister role, demoted in the Cabinet rankings, but not sacked as Health Minister as Ardern didn't want that disruption in the middle of a pandemic.
Dr Clark apologised and offered his resignation.
"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."
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