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Clark’s calamity

Written By: - Date published: 7:48 am, April 7th, 2020 - 131 comments
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No doubt this blog will be full of comments today about David Clark.  It has been revealed that he breached curfew a couple of weeks ago by travelling 20 kilometers to a beach with his family.  His bike riding exercise I thought was marginal, this breach is not.

I can understand the pressure.  Clark has one of the toughest jobs in politics.  He also has a family.  Like all families they are under pressure.  He obviously thought at the time that the visit was worth while and family time important.  The rules were somewhat vague earlier on but cannot be stretched to allow the trip.

He has given a fulsome apology and by that I mean a full throated abject apology a catholic would be proud of.  Jacinda Ardern has demoted him, taken his associate Finance portfolio from him and indicated that if it was not for the crisis he would have been sacked.

Fair enough.  Right now I prefer the Government continues to act to deal with this most urgent of issues especially at a time when it is hoped that the country’s response will work.  Sacking him would have been disruptive at a time when the Government’s response needs to be perfect.

And let’s stick to the curfew.  For instance weekly six hour trips between home and work are not on.  And Simon should use zoom from home.  It is good enough for the rest of us.  I hear that Tauranga’s internet is actually quite good.

And I am interested if this example from the New Lynn National candidate, who lives on the North Shore, is being repeated by other National Party candidates?

Nice gesture but the advice from the National Party is very clear.

131 comments on “Clark’s calamity ”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    Sod David Clark, Boris Johnson is in ICU! Has anyone checked how Piers Morgan has taken the news?

    • Gosman 1.1

      He's expressed his deepest concerns and urged his Twitter followers to support him getting better.

      • Muttonbird 1.1.1

        Probably not a wise decision to keep working through Covid-19 but it highlights the bullish, reckless nature of the man and one wonders if those traits, along with the appalling lack of judgement, are what Britain needs in a leader.

        He or his doctors have screwed up here although I expect the advice was to rest but he ignored it. Not the kind of person you want as PM.

    • aj 1.2

      Survival rate for Covid 19 patients once in ICU: 50% I think.

  2. Treetop 2

    I will judge Clark on whether or not he learns from overstepping the lockdown. He does sound sincere when it comes to not overstepping the lockdown again and has apologised.

    Will Bridges learn and will he apologise?

    • Rapunzel 2.1

      I agree I also think that a lot of NZers at home identify in at least one or two ways with what they have done in the past nearly two weeks as well and may blush a little. He was sincere IMO and took it all on board in a more mature way than other polticians would have the capacity for

  3. I Feel Love 3

    That's awesome that card from the Nat MP, something all MPs should do. As for Clark, I still don't care, though I imagine there's a few other MPs suddenly going to be very careful about their own trips. I live near a beach, I'm an essential worker, I'm a happy introvert with happy introvert non sporty kids. I just know there's hypocrisy around this, but maybe with this story coming out loud and clear now it's a good reminder for everyone to stay put.

    • Andre 3.1

      Lisa Whyte is a wannabe, not an actual MP.

    • mickysavage 3.2

      I would disagree. Everyone needs to stay put. Auckland Council and various charities have safe well designed distribution and assistance systems. We should leave it up to them. A lock down is a lock down.

      • I Feel Love 3.2.1

        Fair enough. I live in one of the poorest suburbs of the country, a lot of elderly, and I was pleased to see Age Concern drop leaflets off to households. I agree, re lockdown, I'm quite happy with my own efforts, it's not a struggle. Let those without sin, etc…

      • James 3.2.2

        Agreee 100%

    • Unicus 3.3

      ”Imagine there’s a few MPs being careful ect”

      Particularly if they happen to have embittered National Party neighbours waiting for the chance to don them in.

  4. ScottGN 4

    Clark is a dead man walking right now. All that remains to be seen is if he is shuffled out of his portfolios before or after the election.
    RNZ just said that Bridges wouldn’t front to discuss this. The Nats will have to find some other way to try and exploit this. And apparently Louise Upston has also been commuting from her bubble (wherever that is) to Wellington for committee.

    • Muttonbird 4.1

      The Nats will have to find some other way to try and exploit this.

      They will use Farrar.

  5. Forget now 5

    I am selfishly glad that Clark is still Health Minister, as his non-pandemic priority in the role has always been the much needed Dunedin hospital rebuild. But the appearance of one rule for me & mine, and another for everyone else is really not helpful at this time! It's not like idiots need any more encouragement to break lockdown.

    Clark lives in Opoho, so I am guessing that he drove over the old road to Waitangi, thus avoiding being seen on motorway. That drive is very windy and narrow – though pretty. And Doctor's point is a rather small out of the way beach – I can think of at least three others larger and more convenient. This strikes me as more a deliberate attempt to conceal his trip than a mere misunderstanding.

    • aj 5.1

      …or making a deliberate attempt to go to a deserted beach, to keep within his bubble. But stupid.

    • Waitati, not Waitangi.

      Doctors Point is actually a great beach to take kids, we often take grandkids there (and go without them too). There's large walkthrough, caves, rock pools. Last time we were there (January) there were crabs in the low surf, last year we found an octopus among some rocks. Then there's a walk over the old pa site on Mapoutahi Head, and another beach beyond that. And there are sometimes trains going by on the tracks along the cliff face. Kids love it.

      And usually less busy than St Clair/St Kilda and perhaps Aramoana (2 beaches).

      This isn't an advertisement to go there now, but it's a very good family beach.

      • Forget now 5.2.1

        You are right – Waitati not Waitangi. Autocorrect!

        I like Doctor's Point myself, but you do have to time the tides right to get through that rock tunnel, especially with kids (don't know how old they are). Though I wouldn't swim around that channel into Blueskin bay. Other beaches I had in mind were: Long beach, Warrington Spit, or the St Clair to Smails beach strip along the south coastline (between 1-5 beaches depending how you count them). Aramoana is an even longer and windier drive!

    • Ad 5.3

      Doctors Point is astoundingly pretty.

  6. dv 6

    Just a small point

    ‘and indicated that if it was not for the crisis he would have been sacked.

    If there wasn't a crisis it would have been ok to go to beach!!!

    • Andre 6.1

      The point of 'if not for the crisis' is that the crisis makes continuity of leadership more valuable than the PR value of publicly sacking him to make a point about a personal failing that's only peripherally connected to his job.

      • alwyn 6.1.1

        What is the benefit from this proposed "continuity" of leadership?

        The only thing I can see is that the person involved will remember what was discussed and decided during previous meetings. Given poor old Dr Clark's admitted failing memory I can't see that he is going to provide any such thing.

        Even an old gentleman like myself can remember things like a 40 km trip to the beach with my family a mere week after the event. Not our Dr Clark though. It was simply lost in the haze of the past for him.

        Look at what he had to say.

        "There was no explanation for why he failed to remember, or mention, the earlier trip to the beach at the time.

        "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."


        Poor old chap. I fear that early dementia must be setting in.Surely he should be allowed to wander of into his happy haze and we should be free of his foibles.

        • KJT

          I await your condemnation of Bridges foolishness, which is much more likely to spread a virus, than Clarks.



          • alwyn

            I don't think there is any chance of Bridge's driving himself to Wellington will spread the virus. He is also doing his job.

            Neither will Clark going to the beach, directly

            However Clark is the Health Minister and he has been telling people that they must not drive very far just to take exercise, or have a drive with the kids because they are bored.

            Then, when he doesn't obey the orders he is giving to every mere mortal such as us, he is telling them one of a few things. Either the rules don't apply to us important people. Or that they aren't needed anyway as there is no risk. Or that it is fine if you want to amuse yourself and your kids as that is much more important than a mere lock-down. Or more than one.

            Of course you may be one of the important people yourself.

            Bill at 7.2 puts it rather well doesn’t he?

            • observer

              Can you explain the medical/scientific reason why Bridges' driving is different from another person's driving?

              If not, do any of us need to be staying home, when our driving hundreds of km would be entirely safe – according to you?

              (to save you from avoiding the Q, I'm not asking "is the job important enough to take the risk?").

              • alwyn

                Clark's behaviour certainly displays an attitude that taking a 40 km drive so you can take your kids to the beach is acceptable.

                Given his example I suppose people could take the approach that observing any sort of lock-down is unnecessary. You don't need a reason. Just go.

                Bridges, on the other hand, was doing a necessary duty, not just going for a joyride. I'm sure, that you as a staunch lefty would far rather have him sit at home rather than hold this ship of fools like Clark to account.

                • observer

                  So, no answer to my question.

                  As stated countless times, the issue for Bridges is not the working (definitely essential) but the driving (definitely not).

                  But you know that already, which is why you won't engage with it.

                • patricia

                  Alwyn, "ship of fools" You of course are able to say this …for effect.

                  We reserve judgement about your acumen, your attitudes are clear enough.

            • KJT

              Bridges driving is not necessary to do his job.

              It is an example of entitled, dim-witted arrogance. Even more so than Clark.

  7. Tiger Mountain 7

    While there are more pressing matters for many political blog commenters than rubbing Mr Parker’s nose in it, he is still a plonker of the first order. That in itself may not be a sackable offence, but he has done the Govt. minus zero favours.

    Some people are crammed in with kids in confined spaces and no van, bike, let alone beach escape, and likely get a talking to from cops if they do roam about.

    “Do as I say not as I do” is the exact opposite of the messaging the Govt. needs during the Pandemic when they require genuine mass buy in. Parker if he had any self reflective sense or gumption, would have offered his resignation for the first offence even if Ms Arden ultimately did not accept it. It is petty on one level, but incredibly important on the ideological level to take kiwis with the Govt. on this.

    Also Soymun should pull his head in and stop travelling forthwith. Jacinda has led from the front again by effectively living in her “bunker” during this most difficult time since WWII.

    • aj 7.1

      Not Parker.

    • bill 7.2

      Some people are crammed in with kids in confined spaces and no van, bike, let alone beach escape, and likely get a talking to from cops if they do roam about.

      Precisely. Clark was "doing it easy" but just couldn't fcking help himself. I doubt he had or has a single thought for the thousands of people who, unlike him, are in pretty dire straights because of the government's lock down, but getting on with it as best they can regardless.

    • Tiger Mountain 7.3

      Apols for the “Clarkian slip”…

  8. Anker 8

    Really really annoyed by David Clark and all rule breakers.

    right from the beginning I thought the rules of lockdown were clear. Walks in neighbourhood. Very poor judgment on Clark’s behalf.

    right now lockdown is working because people are following the rules. When one person doesn’t then the potential for behavioural leakage is huge “oh brian went for a swim/surf/walk 20 kilometres away, so it must be ok, others are doing it etc etc”.

    we enjoy immense freedom of movement in this country. This is the first time in my lifetime movement has been restricted. I realise this is much harder for some rather than others, but every single one of is (or should be) making sacrifices. David Clark is highly unlikely to be living in an apartment block with his young family where there would be no outdoor space.
    the main reason we are in lockdown is to save lives and to preserve the health system. Italy has lost sometime like 80 drs to this virus, the UK at least one dr and two nurses with young families. I would be extremely pissed off if I was a nurse or a dr right now, potentially putting my life on the line while the minister of health breaks the rules….

    there was quite a bit of criticism of Simon bridges travelling to Wellington yesterday on the Standard. I don’t agree with him doing it, but it is for his job and I guess the opposition do perform an essential service. I think it shows poor judgment onBridges behalf. Clark’s judgement on this has been completely off and if it wasn’t for the crisis I agree with Jacinda, he should be sacked. I know many on this site will disagree with me and I accept that.

    lastly people, stick to the rules even if you don’t agree with them. Maybe the rules about swimming etc don’t make sense, but for gods sake, just do it

    • aom 8.1

      "I don’t agree with him doing it, but it is for his job and I guess the opposition do perform an essential service."

      Oh really? The job of the Leader of the Opposition, like the Minister of Health's, is to do what is expected of everyone else during the lockdown. He could easily do his job from Tauranga using the communication tools that enable others to work from home, or stay in his accommodation in Wellington. To suggest otherwise is to subscribe to either the notion that there is privileged entitlement or that there are red rules and blue rules, where leadership and exemplary behaviour is expected of the former but not the latter.

  9. solkta 9

    Fuck i would love to go to the beach. Beautiful day here in the North heading for a high of 22. Sack him later i say.

    • Paddington 9.1

      I'm sitting up on Owairaka/Mt Albert looking out over to Te Atatu. The upper harbour is like a skating rink, and my boat is still sitting idle in the driveway. Ughhh

      • Andre 9.1.1

        I'm sitting in Titirangi looking across the Manukau towards the airport, and the only man-made noise I can hear is someone at least 3km away hand-sawing a bit of wood. Glorious! No noisy boats, no jet noise from the airport…

        There's stuff I need to do with power tools, but I'd feel like a vandal disturbing the peace doing it now. I'll wait for a windy day when the noise won't carry.

        • Paddington

          My little boat wouldn't be heard from where you are if I was on the Manukau! But I do get your point.

          • In Vino

            A motorboat??? You uncivilised beast. Mine is a sailboat. I enjoy the interplay of wind, wave, and current, while you just barge around, making noise and fumes.

            • Paddington

              I love watching yachts, I love sailing on yachts, but I could never own one. My boats got a 90hp Merc…not too noisy, and not too smoky. But yes, totally uncivilised compared to a sail boat.

  10. Ad 10

    Looks like Bill was right.

    Clark is a weak-assed fool.

    Hopefully Ardern takes the Dunedin hospital job off him completely.

    • Forget now 10.1

      I like having a Dunedin MP overseeing the new hospital – that way if things go awry I can go down and picket their electorate office. I am no Clark fan, but the other option is Curran.

      Or Woodhouse!

      • Ad 10.1.1

        Clark has had a full term to get the project design and construction contract underway.

        Time to clear him out.

        Hodgson as the previous Dunedin MP to Clark gives better input already – actually probably too much.

        With this virus and others circulating through NZ for many years to come, Clark should be replaced as Minister of Health with an epidemiology health specialist like Dr Liz Craig.

        • Forget now

          Craig does seem to be a decent choice having been on the health commitee, so presumably up to speed. Didn't know that her background was in epidemiology. But then I don't know much about mostvlist MPs.

          I did say that my (grudging) pleasure Clark remaining minister of Health was selfish.

    • bill 10.2

      I was angry at his blatant hypocrisy, aye?

      He knew that what he was doing was a thing others had foregone, and then he gave his own privilege and sense of entitlement a great big hug and carried on.

      I don't know I'd characterise that as being "a weak-assed fool".

      • Ad 10.2.1

        "weak-assed fool" is entirely my own descriptor, but seems about right for a fool-me-twice event.

        • bill

          "weak-assed fool" is entirely my own descriptor

          Fair 'nuff. I'm still more than a little hacked off at twats hereabouts who seemed keen to diminish and relegate what I wrote "because just moral posturing" is all.

          And two that we're being told about, aye?

    • gsays 10.3

      That was my first thought when I heard the news this am.

      My understanding of bill's point was that there was a principle at stake.

      No grey area, a lack of leadership,, it was piss poor all round.

      So poor, that Bridge's grizzle committee were strangely mute.

  11. Clearly, Clark's gone in the pre-election cabinet re-shuffle. That doesn't mean he can't make it back to cabinet at some future point, but for this year, he only has two jobs to do; get through the Covid crisis without further mistakes and then help the Prime Minister by accepting his inevitable sacking without complaint.

  12. observer 12

    If nothing else, this will boost the viewer ratings for the Parliamentary committee today. Chaired by Simon Bridges, and this morning's guest: David Clark. Ouch.

  13. Cinny 13

    Wow plagiarism to the max, that little national party flyer at the end of the post, offering help is a direct rip off from the Covid19 website, but the nat’s have altered the branding, same words, everything…. Printed some off a couple of weeks ago.

  14. Sanctuary 14

    Nat MPs will be furious – again – at Bridges. Finally got a stick to politically beat the government with, and Simon goes and breaks his bubble spectacularly and won't front the media.

  15. Anne 15

    My main summer activity is to go to my local beach and have a swim and sunbathe. When the lock-down became inevitable I stopped and so did most people. The beach was deserted. About 8-10 days ago, one of the Covid 19 senior commentators (can't recall which one now) clarified the situation re-swimming to the effect: it was permissible to go for a swim provided you remained in your own bubble (be that one person or more) and stayed well away from other people on the beach.

    So, the next day I went to the beach and so did many of the regulars including quite a few young families who did a splendid job keeping their children close to them. And it stayed like that until Sunday – 2 days ago.

    Now we have been told we were not allowed to go for a swim.

    With shifting goal posts like that, it is no wonder people were confused and found themselves on the wrong side of the law!

    This is not a defence of Clark as such, but a heads up re-the ambiguity that has existed from the start.

    • RedLogix 15.1

      Exactly. We are still only in the first two weeks of this lockdown and we're all adapting to in our own ways. I can understand the harsh political reality behind Clark's demotion, but honestly I can't bring myself to come all over pious about it.

      Over many years here it's been saddening to see how these personalised 'gotcha' threads always get zillions of comments.

      • Macro 15.1.1

        And I want to echo yours and Anne's comment here – it really is depressing that in a moment of immense crisis all people can talk about is "gotcha". I do believe that the rules as they are playing out are in fact a little "Over The Top". My wife and I are in our mid – late 70's and find walking around the steep local streets – which in some places rival Baldwin St*, a little too much, and drive 500m down to the wharf for a good walk along the walkway (a shorter drive than to our local supermarket for our milk and bread). Plenty of room for us to maintain our 2 m distancing from the few other walkers and cyclists. But were stopped by a police officer the other day and told we were breaking the rules.

        * We live at the top of the Thames Fault line. The early planners 150 years ago obviously worked in an office far away, and laid out a street plan which took no cognisance of the local terrain. However we do have an an amazing vista. Right up the Firth to Orere Pt, down across the plains as far as Mt Te Aroha in the south.

        • I Feel Love

          Def feel for folks like you. I live in South Dunedin, flat, there's sports fields, the beach, supermarket and dairy and chemist all within walking distance. I haven't used my car since lockdown and now my battery is flat (I checked car a few days ago). I'm back to work next week (I had leave as I was on my way to Europe on day Lockdown was announced).

    • Cinny 15.2

      The media have a massive role to play in some of the mixed messages, especially radio and tv breakfast hosts.

      For example yesterday garner was saying he felt we should be on level 3, not 4. Made me wonder how many took it as gospel.

      This morning peter williams is rabbiting on about wanting to go to the beach etc, because clark did.

      Williams is responsible for social unrest due to the narrative he is spinning on his radio platform. He's deliberately fanning the flames instead of changing the narrative and it's all politically motivated, he's a strong nat supporter.

    • bill 15.3

      Does it cross your mind that we're now being "tapped with the stick" precisely because of the actions David Clark took? Y'know – 'everyone' kinda "got it" but then cabinet minister turns up to empty car park to do shit everyone else is putting on their "probably not" list. And so, lest people re-evaluate what is and isn't okay "because cabinet minister"…

      Anyway. Jist a thought, aye?

  16. Wayne 16

    The huge difference between Bridges and Clark is that by going to Wellington, Bridges is doing his job. Being able to work with his team and being accessible to the media in the Beehive. Which in my view is an important part of holding the government to account, and actually making useful suggestions. As many of us have found, Zoom is not really a proper substitute. Being both support and counterpoint to the PM, who clearly is going to the Beehive each day and working with her key staff. As indeed she should. I think the daily press conferences from the Beehive Theatrette are absolutely essential at this time.

    Clark's action were all about himself and his family, stretching the rules, especially when he is in an essential leadership position.

    • Ad 16.1

      If Bridges can't manage his team by Skype (or Teams or whatever) he's missing a key qualification to being able to run a team of any kind in the new context, let alone a country.

    • observer 16.2

      Sorry Wayne, but you still don't get it.

      Everything you say about Bridges doing his job in Wellington is correct. It's essential that he does it.

      So he should be based in Wellington. Problem solved.

      • Muttonbird 16.2.1


      • Pete George 16.2.2

        Both Bridges and Clark have important enough jobs to justify being based in Wellington where most of the decision making and communication with the media and the public is based. Especially the Minister of Health.

        • lprent

          Both Bridges and Clark have important enough jobs to justify being based in Wellington where most of the decision making and communication with the media and the public is based. Especially the Minister of Health.

          Your argument is just outright spurious. Have you managed to miss the 21st century so far? There has been a comms revolution. If bridges wants to lord over minions, then he really needs to learn to do it using a comms line.

          Makes bugger all difference where you are if you shouldn’t be in the same room because there is a viable comms alternative. Like not infecting reporters or minions sounds like a lot of sense. Sure Jacinda and Robertson are doing it – but that is in their explicit job descriptions. Someone has to physically sign those regulatory documents. They sent virtually every one else apart from really essential ones away to be remote.

          But for everyone else, it makes bugger all difference when all important information is on networks, public or private. It isn’t like either the minister of health or the leader of the opposition have a need to get their hands dirty by picking up hardware and work with it. Either could do face time with whomever. And if their internet sucks, then they can just use cell data. I often do because it is frequently faster than everything else.

          Hardware and good are about the only good reason to be at a particular place with other people. Or even at a particular place..

          Which is what I just did cycling to pick up some updated development boards that just arrived from the UK into our empty office. Couriers dropped them off with their access – we’ve got an essential status various business deliveries.

          I came in to pick up the board that I need to keep working remotely on the current project. I came complete with a letter in my pocket just in case the police wanted to know what I was doing.

          Nice way of combining my daily exercise with work. All the more so since my access card wasn’t in my pack where I thought it was, so I had to return home and then go back out again. I was isolated because of the speed of travel and that I was on the road (dual pedestrian / bike tracks are a bit crowded – roads are unpopulated by cars).

          • Pete George

            So why aren't Ardern, Robertson, Bloomfield, Ombler, police and Civil Defence heads as well as all journalists working from home?

            Signing legal documents electronically or scanning and sending them is common now. Most court processes are operating electronically now.

      • Anne 16.2.3

        Precisely what I've been thinking. Why has he not stayed in Wellington for the duration of the lock-down? Sure, he is away from his family but that is no excuse for driving hundred's of kilometres twice a week . I'm sure the moment lock-down 4 is lifted both he and Ardern will be free to travel back and forth to their private residences.

    • Cinny 16.3

      Bridges is not doing his job. He is driving around the country rather than basing himself in Wellywood.

      How many hours to drive, Welly to Tauranga and back ? It's about 14-15 hrs all up.

      What work is being done during that time?

      Is he using a ministerial limo for it?

      If simon does two to three trips a week, that's around 30-45 hrs driving during a lockdown. Is that effective leadership? I think not.

    • KJT 16.4

      Clark was bending the rules a little, where there were gray areas already.

      It is not partisan to state that Bridges, is blowing a fucking Great hole in them.

      He can bloody well stay locked in at his job, like many other essential workers.

      If you can't see the difference?

      By the way I would have given Bridges or anyone else the same tolerance for the things Clark did.

      Driving from Auckland to Tauranga, which cannot be considered necessary, is obviously, taking the piss.

      • bill 16.4.1

        Clark was bending the rules a little, where there were gray areas already.

        C'mon! The guy's just an upstanding prick of privilege.

        Correct me if I'm wrong. But Clark was privy to the process that wrote the fucking rules, yes? You suggesting he didn't quite understand those rules? Because 'everyone' else seemed to get it – hence the reason he drove into an empty car park.

      • mauī 16.4.2

        Clark could literally drive a bus Toyota Hiace through any set of rules.

    • Incognito 16.5

      Are you saying that all eleven members of ERC should be in Parliament or just the Chair?

      • McFlock 16.5.1

        I suspect that depends on whether they have a working internet connection at home. Wasn't that bridges' excuse?

  17. Reality 17

    Why is Pete George so irritating? He is sanctimonious, but writes well, has reasoned points of view, but comes over like one of those annoying kids in the playground that the other kids get sick of.

    • KJT 17.1

      Because he fills up whole threads, saying the same thing in 20 slightly different ways.

      And claims to be even handed middle of the road when he is manifestly not.

      • Forget now 17.1.1

        He used to be United Future candidate for Dunedin North (Dunne's mob). In 2011 he lost to David Clark 12,976 to 176. Though given that everyone except the ACT candidate got (159) more votes than that, I am sure he doesn't hold a grudge.

        At least he was willing to stand up for what he believed in. Even if it is not for me.

      • Macro 17.1.2



      • Pete George 17.1.3

        "fills up whole threads, saying the same thing in 20 slightly different ways"

        A deliberate joke? It's funny anyway, I've heard it all before, whole threads of it (in slightly different ways of course).

  18. peterh 18

    No Mater how any of you try to gloss one or the other, they BOTH have done a great dis service to all of us who are trying real hard to get through this, and I like most others are pissed off with both of them

  19. Reality 19

    KJT – yes, yes, and yes to your points!

  20. Clearly Clark is now toast, but for perspective's sake, he drove 20 minutes in a car for an isolated walk on the beach. He didn't cough on anyone for fun, punch a checkout girl, fight over bog paper or even commute from Tauranga to Wellington.

    The best thing this particular scapegoating has done is give those who are clearly having a lot of issues during the lock down something to vent over, reduce the cabin fever, and hopefully ease the chances of personal meltdown.

    Thanks alone for that David.

    • McFlock 20.1

      lol maybe.

      The trouble with the 20min drive is that it was clearly against the rules, well over the line. The bike ride was fuckall. And then there's the not telling the PM about the beach trip while he was getting stick for the biking. A double infraction.

      He's lucky the PM thinks that a continuity change would be worse for the country than keeping him in office.

      • weka 20.1.1

        the time lag in fessing up is a big issue too, understandable on a human level, not so much for an experienced politician. I wonder if Ardern told him to sit down and write a list of everything he'd done since lockdown.

        On the bright side, now she gets to replace him at her leisure, which means no disruption to the current processes, and time to get a replacement up and running.

      • The Al1en 20.1.2

        So with both mps for Dunedin getting booted in this term, will someone be looking into signs of a clusterfuck

        • McFlock

          Well, one is leaving as an MP. Dunno what Clark will do. I mean, he might perform so well from now on that he keeps MoH – but the signs are against it, lol

          But he might decide to stay in the back benches for a term or two. Remember, it took blinglish over a decade from being shite oppo leader to being PM. Or Clark could call it quits in September.

    • observer 20.2

      " He didn't cough on anyone for fun, punch a checkout girl, fight over bog paper or even commute from Tauranga to Wellington."

      He didn't tell the public to panic buy, either. No MP would be that stupid, surely. And if they did, they wouldn't lie and claim they hadn't said it, would they? And if they did, they'd be sacked by their leader, right?

      (oh hang on … I'm wrong, and wrong, and wrong. How fast we forget).


  21. alwyn 21

    I am somewhat surprised the Martyn Bradbury has such a different opinion to the author of this piece. Martyn seems to take the view that Bridges is doing his job as he should but the Clark is an idiot. Far be it from me to disagree with Mr Bradbury in this case. He seems to have got it right for a change.


    On the other hand I was greatly surprised to see the Left's stalwart Chris Trotter's views about "Mickey Savage". I'm in two minds about this. One tells me that Chris is just pulling Mickey's chain. The other says he really believes it.

    Does Chris really believe that "This lamentable failure of the Centre-Left’s imagination was also in evidence on The Standard, where the man who goes by the entirely undeserved moniker of “Mickey Savage” opined: “Clearly the Government has more pressing issues to deal with than producing the likes of Woman’s Weekly."?

    What do you think Mickey?


    • observer 21.1

      Bradbury and Trotter are spokespeople for the LeftBorg in the same way Brian Tamaki and the Libertarianz represent everyone on the Right …

    • The only thing I'd take from Trotter's piece is that he sees himself as separate from the centre left. Something most astute folk spotted years ago.

      • Muttonbird 21.2.1

        I pigeonhole Trotter with Ad and Redlogix.

        They are of the Left which does not seek fairer distribution of resources so that all people can raise better little people.

        Rather they relish beating the capitalist at his own game, thereby of course becoming the very thing which they oppose.

        • Stunned Mullet

          How do you pigeonhole yourself ?

          • Muttonbird

            Yes, I do know what pigeonhole means and used it deliberately.

            It is interesting you, a right winger leaped to their defence. And alwyn, a right winger linked to the Trotter piece in the first place…

            • Stunned Mullet

              I am not leaping to anyone's defense, merely asking you a question as to how you view yourself while you pigeonhole others.

              • Muttonbird

                Socially conscious.

                • Stunned Mullet

                  Fair enough.

                  I think many on all sides of the political spectrum would see themselves the same way as would Bradbury, Trotter and Redlogix.

                  • In Vino

                    Well, I don't think that pigeonhole has ever been spelt correctly.

                    I always said and wrote "pigeon'shole". Which is where a lot of the above should be stuffed.

      • alwyn 21.2.2

        Well yes, but I still can't decide?

        Does he really believe what he is saying or is he joking?

    • pat 21.3

      Think it is worth remembering that Mr Trotter is first and foremost a freelance writer….and for a more informed opinion read the linked


      • Pete George 21.3.1

        I challenged him recently about continuing to write for The BFD paywalled magazine, supporting among other things Slater's return to his old dirty political tricks, and Chris said I didn't understand how freelance journalism works.

    • Incognito 21.4

      Did CT really say “entirely undeserved moniker”? So, he’s also losing his grasp of the English language in a pathetic attempt to bait somebody, just like you did here, Alwyn. Sad, but he can always join John Armstrong and write acerbic articles for the NZH once in a while. As for you, Alwyn, take your smart arse bait trolling comments to OM next time, thanks. Let me know if I need to put this in bold font for you.

  22. observer 22

    After today's 1 pm press conference it's clear a few journos are getting cabin fever. Maybe they should go for a bike ride.

    They're stuck in the old routine, when they had 30 seconds to grab MPs in the corridors, on their way into the House. "Quick, get a gotcha question on camera, before they escape!".

    Now they have half an hour to ask intelligent and informed questions, and they are lost. Only repeating the same ones, and so losing the audience. (Which means they let the PM off the hook re-Clark, she could repeat the prepared soundbites all day long – so I'm fine with the politics of it, but it's poor journalism).

    • Anne 22.1

      They are showing themselves up for what some of them are… ignorant, attention seeking show ponies. They keep asking the same questions over and over again even though the PM has already answered them moments sooner. So, she repeats the same answer ad infinitum.

      I note the intelligent questions usually come towards the end when the show ponies have run out of steam.

    • Hooch 22.2

      That was without a doubt the stupidest press conference we’ve had during the lockdown. Every “journalist” had to ask their own version of the same question and we got the same answer every time. They are doing the country a disservice by following their BAU gotcha crap. There must be countless other more pressing issues they could be asking about.

  23. Corey Humm 23

    Clarks career is over. I'd wager he won't be standing for reelection again, he's making vague comments about it too. Rhe health portfolio has taken many a career. I'm thankful it's not Johnathan Coleman though!

    I don't get why he's in Dunedin, He's health minister. I know he has a young family but he should be in Wellington for the duration of lockdown, we're in a pandemic after all this should be his shinning moment. Atleast the public now knows who Clark is unlike most of labours ministers I’d rather be persona non grata than an irrelevant non entity! I do hope he's not the only minister who gets reshuffled or demoted or retires before the election, there's some really big talent in the 2017 class and they should start getting some leadership roles to refresh the party, apart from Grant and Little and the Pm I look at the front bench and am immediately aware of why we spent 9 very nearly twelve years in opposition. Labour got incredibly lucky with Ardern , without we would probably still be polling around 29% heading into our fifth straight loss because there was no plan post Helen Clark, she basically was the party and now Ardern is the party. This can’t keep happening, If we are lucky enough to get a second term and I really want us to get a second term, we need some new faces in leadership roles to prepare the next generation of leadership for the opposition, I don't wanna waste six years in an internal civil war caused by a power vacuume and everyone on the front bench bar bridges is tediously dull and it would be a Phill Goff esque nightmare for any of them to lead the party.

    • Corey Humm 23.1

      *bar grant not bridges he's the worst , he's why I'm quietly hopefully that we have a second term in us and I'm not bagging the party just it'd be good for when we are in opposition to have a bunch of the next generation of leadership to have ministerial experience

    • Louis 23.2

      Didnt spend nearly 12 years in opposition, just 9. Clark doesnt have to be in Wellington to do his job. Other ministers are basing themselves at home too ie Minister of Police for example, note that it is the Commissioner of Police doing the updates on the policing end of things, as its the role of the Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield to conduct the Covid19 updates.

  24. Someone with some experience in media and politics on today's media conference when PM Ardern was asked questions about David Clark.

    What precisely was the problem today? I watched it and didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Of course they were going to push the PM hard on this issue.

    I think people should stop complaining about the media asking the PM and the Health Minister hard or repetitive questions. They won’t always be fair, they won’t always be right, but I think we’re all robust enough to handle a bit of media scrutiny during a crisis.

    Yeah, gotcha politics is silly and at times like this is unhelpful. But also we don't need the left to sound like a bunch of whining crybabies. The questions around David Clark, for example, were entirely legitimate, despite people whinging endlessly about them.

    The questions aren't for your consumption. They are for journalists to try to get to the truth of what's happened and challenge the politican's answers. They then put together stories which are intended or you.

    I still don’t see what the problem was. Of course this was going to be a major issue and the PM was going to be grilled from every angle. You’d expect the same if it was a National PM up there.

    They do it because politicians are trained to give bullshit answers. Imagine if Simon Bridges was never asked a follow up question, or never had the question repeated if the journalist didn't quite believe what he said or thought he was giving all relevant info.

    From this Twitter thread.

    It is important to know if the Prime Minister thinks that the Minister of Health is up to the job.

    Ardern made it clear that Clark has only kept his job for the good of the fight against Covid and the good of the country :

    "My priority above all else is our collective fight against Covid-19."

    "He's had to pay a personal price for this but I'm determined our health system will not."

    "I cannot lose the prior work that's been done or the knowledge he holds."

    Ardern says it would have been challenging to bring someone else up to speed.

    From https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/413620/live-covid-19-updates-from-new-zealand-and-around-the-world-on-7-april

    I think this is probably the right call from Ardern. She was obviously unhappy with Clark, but had to put the current situation and the good of the country first, otherwise she would have sacked him completely – and I believe her on that.

    • I Feel Love 24.1

      But does the "gotcha" style tactic get the "truth"? I remember the Hard Line or Hard Talk interview Key gave in the UK, long form, with Key (who was a master and deflection) squirming and not being able to hide and utterly shown up. Gotcha is just an easy way to get a polly to pull a face and that's seen as a "score" by useless lazy journos.

      • Pete George 24.1.1

        You could call any media questioning 'gotcha' if you wanted to discredit it or divert from it.

        Clark admitted breaching the rules despite being in a position he should know them better than just about anyone, presuming he was involved in making them.

        And he admitted not fronting up to the PM for four days after the story first broke.

        Ardern was obviously very annoyed – in Breakfast this morning Clark appeared to nearly say 'angry' before checking himself.

        What is 'gotcha' about asking the PM if she has confidence in a Minister who stuffed up in multiple ways during an unprecedented crisis he is supposed to be dealing with as a senior Minister?

        • Incognito



          Save Word

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          got·​cha | \ ˈgä-chə \

          Definition of gotcha

          : an unexpected usually disconcerting challenge, revelation, or catch also : an attempt to embarrass, expose, or disgrace someone (such as a politician) with a gotcha


          • Pete George

            Clark disgraced himself and embarrassed himself and the Prime Minister. Is that a self-gotcha?

            • Incognito

              You started this thread @ 24 with this:

              Someone with some experience in media and politics on today's media conference when PM Ardern was asked questions about David Clark.

              Why are you now diverting away from it?

        • I Feel Love

          Not quite what I asked, but I understand you're not known for good faith answers to simple questions, quite ironic really as that's what you accuse politicians of, I won't engage anymore. I still haven't got the energy to be outraged by a stupid mistake that harmed no one.

    • observer 24.2

      "Of course this was going to be a major issue and the PM was going to be grilled from every angle."

      As pointed out by Hooch. Anne and myself above, the problem is that she was not "grilled from every angle", but from the same angle – many times.

      If you understand the media at all, you will know why. TV1 reporter asks question, PM answers it with prepared line (or fails to answer, if you prefer).

      Then TV3 reporter asks the same question, not because she didn't hear the previous one, but because Newshub wants to have their reporter on the clip.

      And so on. It is not done to get the answers, on behalf of the public, as if they were a team of prosecutors, working together. It is to get the audio-grab for their own media outlet.

      Hence the repetition, and for the public, the failure to get any additional information – in today's case, about David Clark. Nothing new was learned.

      Going on about lefties/righties is totally missing the point. The PM would happily take that level of questioning any time. She is far too smart to be flummoxed by the entirely predictable.

  25. Rob 25

    I thought Simon wanted to be our Prime Minister

    in the circumstances of what he has been saying and I expect he understands what lockdown means then he and if he thinks it appropriate his family should be based in Wellington at present Otherwise he is lucky our media are all so happy to grease up to him.

    • Muttonbird 25.1

      The media hasn't pursued the question. They've asked it but accepted Bridges' claim that it wasn't possible.

      Bridges will absolutely refuse to do this now, even if it's the right thing to do, because he thinks he'll appear weak.

      He's stroppy and infantile like that.

  26. RRM 26

    If the leader of the opposition could work from home via zoom, then the Prime Minister could too. Wonder if we'll see a map of her travel bubble on the news? I bet we won't.

    I'm not really worried about the virus… I'm much more worried that during a state of emergency we have a media that wants to run interference for the government instead of questioning them.

    • Muttonbird 26.1

      She probably walks to work.

    • observer 26.2

      You would lose your bet. The PM explained to media before the lockdown started that even though she has a house in Auckland, she would now be based entirely in Wellington, where she has a home bubble (partner and child) and a work bubble (necessary staff). Unlike Bridges, she sees the importance of staying in one home. And never driving.

      Perhaps you should realize that "I haven't heard" does not equal "nobody has said".

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