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David Clark Resigns

Written By: - Date published: 11:28 am, July 2nd, 2020 - 146 comments
Categories: david clark, labour, Politics - Tags: , , ,

Embattled Health Minister David Clark has abruptly resigned his portfolio.

Clark made the surprise announcement at a hastily called media conference at the Beehive this morning.

His resignation came after his demotion down the cabinet rankings following repeated Covid lockdown breaches and ongoing accusations that he’d gone missing in action during the pandemic response. Publicly berating Health DG Ashley Bloomfield was probably the last straw.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has accepted his resignation and said it was “essential our health leadership has the confidence of the New Zealand public.”

Clark said it had been an “extraordinary privilege” and he had given it “my all”.

However, he accepted he was distracting from the Government’s Covid response.

PM Ardern has confirmed that Chris Hipkins will take over the role in the short term.

“I am appointing Chris Hipkins as Health Minister until the election. Our response to COVID is on a stable footing and I have full confidence that Minister Hipkins will oversee the portfolio with the thoroughness and diligence he brings to his other areas of responsibility.

“Post-election I intend to reassess who is best placed to take the health portfolio forward.”

National may consider Clark’s resignation as a victory however it does remove one of their only effective talking points in the run up to the September election.

 

 

146 comments on “David Clark Resigns”

  1. JohnP 1

    Accepted yesterday but announced an hour after Muller's Reshuffle Reset?

    Someone in Labour is having a LOT of fun at Todd's expense.

    • Ad 1.1

      Agree.

      Makes more sense of Robertson's gleeful speech in the House yesterday.

    • Labour_Voter 1.2

      What is so funny about this? A useless minister has gone after doing so much damage to Labour and its ratings and you clowns are saying this is fun at Todd's expense? Get a grip.

  2. observer 2

    Right decision. Credit to Clark for a dignified press conference.

    Offering to quit during lockdown – and PM's measured response, that she would have accepted it in different circumstances – make this much less surprising or damaging.

    The dimwits who think she's all hugs and photo-ops really should open their eyes. She has an instinctive grasp of political management, as her detractors so often do not.

    • Just Is 2.1

      Well said Observer, and a great strategic move by Clark to remove himself as an easy target for the Nat strike force.

  3. Dennis Frank 3

    Finally! He's done the honourable thing, credit to him for that. Big test for young Hipkins, but sensible for the PM to make it on an interim basis. This is good for Labour. I couldn't care less if the Nats try to take credit for it – it won't do them any good. Common sense has prevailed! 👍

    • indiana 3.1

      Frankly, I think the PM should have accepted his resignation the first time he offered it.

      • Dennis Frank 3.1.1

        Frankly, me too. However one must be philosophical and observe that the only way Labour folk learn anything new is by means of dire experience. Often repetitious…

        • Drowsy M. Kram 3.1.1.1

          "the only way Labour folk learn anything new is by means of dire experience" – another extraordinary generalisation, IMHO. You're on a ‘repetitious roll‘ today Dennis wink

          • Dennis Frank 3.1.1.1.1

            Thanks. Mind you, if Labour campaigns on a Green New Deal I'll be proven wrong, eh? 😉

            • Drowsy M. Kram 3.1.1.1.1.1

              By my reading of your generalisation, you've already proven yourself wrong.

              • Dennis Frank

                That the wonderful thing about our interior worlds – they can be whatever we want them to be. Trump knows that. 😄

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  Nice diversion to Trump, mentioned in the WP article on 'Godwin's law'.

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law

                  • Dennis Frank

                    Only leftists liken him to Hitler (mostly due to being too young to know better and/or not reading history). Some leftists, lest you freak out…

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Well done Dennis, only some leftists; maybe even a minority – you know, only the “too young to know better” leftists (hippies!) not reading history who know something about Hitler.

            • Incognito 3.1.1.1.1.2

              Do you concede that you have secret fetish for binaries?

              • I think he might have a fetish for Greenspans – as do many captured early on by the perceived wisdom of the cult.

                Looking at "3" and its offspring, and there'll be more to come before the day is oot, it's [like] like like like:

                I know you believe you understood what you thought I said – but I'm not sure you realise that what you heard is not what I meant.

                Oh how much needless shite we could've avoided (with all due respect to all God's creatures) if that old crock had never existed.

                • Incognito

                  Are you channelling Reggie Watts?

                  • I'm too busy pivoting @ Incognito to be channeling anyone.

                    But as gorgeous and tremendously intelligent as I am, I'm still marveling, and struggling to understand the human specimen's ability to talk 'past' one another. So far, as an explanation, all I've come up with is a thing called ego – and more often than not, it seems to be the ones with either a heavy dose of testosterone, or the specimens that think they have a dose that's bigger than the human specimens they are interacting with.

                    • Incognito

                      Now you’re sounding just like an ordinary comedian making generalised observations about the human condition 🙁

                      I got my hopes up with Reggie. Still, there’s YouTube.

        • observer 3.1.1.2

          I'm going to go out on a limb here, and suggest that Ardern's political judgement might be superior to yours.

          Empty generalisations about "Labour folk" would be evidence, for starters.

          • Dennis Frank 3.1.1.2.1

            You're not wrong – it may be. However I'll reserve judgment until I see her recovery plan. First test will be how soon she produces it…

            • Drowsy M. Kram 3.1.1.2.1.1

              "She's a hard road finding the perfect woman." "Good things take time…"

            • Patricia Bremner 3.1.1.2.1.2

              The recovery plan is already underway. Some people can sing and dance, or were you distracted by the dancing and forgot to listen to the lyrics?

        • Gabby 3.1.1.3

          If you repeat nonsense often enough the weakminded may start to believe it, eh? Poor praxis.

      • observer 3.1.2

        Simon Bridges disagreed.

        "To change Ministers … I can understand why she wouldn't".

        He called it right twice, both on Clark not being sacked at the time, and on his departure afterwards.

    • Cinny 3.2

      Chris Hipkins is great during QT, and there are two questions to the Minister of Health today 🙂

      • Dennis Frank 3.2.1

        Okay. If he doesn't put his foot in it between now & the election he will deserve some kind of promotion. Education minister seems too much of a sinecure to me (inasmuch as they usually default to nursemaiding the geriatric system). Goes to show that looking like a 13 year old isn't a severe handicap for him…

        • Cinny 3.2.1.1

          Looking forward to Q time today 🙂 Let's see how Chip gets on 🙂

        • Gabby 3.2.1.2

          Anyone who thinks education minister is a sinecure needs to go back to school.

          • Dennis Frank 3.2.1.2.1

            You reckon he's actually done something useful? Come on then, trot it out.

            • georgecom 3.2.1.2.1.1

              had the common sense to scrap National Standards and Charter Schools at the outset of his term.

  4. Anne 4

    I have a lot of sympathy for David Clark but have to accept his judgement let him down. In a way he also has been a victim of Covid 19, but he'll be up and running in some other capacity in the future – and a much wiser man.

    • observer 4.1

      Judith Collins was sacked by John Key.

      She then outlasted Key, and English, and Bridges, and is now on leader number 4, who she will probably outlast too.

      There have been many Ministers who quit, win their electorates and eventually return.

    • Just Is 4.2

      Agreed Anne, Clark actually has a long list of achievments in the Health Portfolio, but the media lynch mob identified him as a target, his resignation has neutralised that.

    • Chris 4.3

      Clark's a pretty average chap really, moderately capable of some things, nothing too special about him. On his own admission he "gave it his all", which we've got no reason not to believe. He was never going to set the world on fire. Is nice to see someone who's aware of that because many aren't.

      • Incognito 4.3.1

        Clark’s a pretty average chap really, moderately capable of some things, nothing too special about him.

        How much do you know about him? About his personal and professional life, for example?

        How many people manage to become Minister of Health, for example? Do you think that is a “pretty average” achievement?

        Voters in Dunedin North voted him into Parliament thrice and last time with an increased and overwhelming majority. Still think there’s “nothing too special about him”?

        • froggleblocks 4.3.1.1

          Lots of Labour MPs increased their majorities during Jacindamania at the 2017 election. So that's not indicative of much.

          • Incognito 4.3.1.1.1

            Is that all you’ve got? Try a career as cherry-picker.

            Clark increased his majority in 2014 cf. 2011.

        • Chris 4.3.1.2

          I don't think that's an accurate way to assess things, really, perhaps apart from being a comparative analysis of popularity with voters, and maybe a measure of how well someone gets on with their leaders. Paula Bennett's been an electorate MP four times, has held numerous ministerial portfolios from early in her career, was deputy leader and deputy prime minister. On your reckoning she's been walking on water for more than a decade.

          • Incognito 4.3.1.2.1

            “accurate”?? Are you a cherry-picker too, by any chance? Must be the season for cherry-pickers.

            Well, I never labelled PB as “pretty average [gal] really, moderately capable of some things, nothing too special about [her]” but that doesn’t mean I think she or DC for that matter can walk on water. That said, DC comes pretty close as a former competitive triathlete.

  5. Treetop 5

    Clark being based so far from Wellington was unhelpful during the level 4 lockdown. Hipkins is more accessible to Bloomfield for a face to face chat.

    The blood letting by National of Clark has now been stemmed. Mind you National have also had their blood letting issues to contend with.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      The blood letting of Labour by National was never that much.

      Meanwhile, the blood letting of National by National has been bloody hilarious 😀

    • Louis 5.2

      Treetop, all ministers were instructed to work from home during the lockdown. It was the Director General of Health to front as it was the Police commissioner's job to front instead of the Minister of Police, who like Clark, was also working from home.

  6. Enough is Enough 6

    About time.

  7. ianmac 7

    Jacinda just now said that she had discussions late last week with Clark as they discussed the future actions for Covid 19. Then yesterday morning he tendered his resignation and Jacinda accepted it. "He acted in the interests of the Party and of NZ."

  8. anker 8

    Thank you David Clark for your service. While I acknowledge the slip ups, as I posted on the Standard a number of times, health is the port folio that Labour have really shone in and made a lot of progress with in this present term. Not just with Covid.

  9. Warren Doney 9

    Pre Covid, I recall thinking he was rigid and arrogant over something or other that really needed fixing, that in hindsight he was almost certainly blocking because of the BRR.

    I believe he's a scapegoat now. Sacrificed due to relentless spin from the media and National.

  10. Matthew Whitehead 10

    Good. He wasn't competent to hold his portfolio, and Hipkins can warm his seat until their clearly intended replacement, Dr Varrell, comes online next term. Ardern and Labour in general should hold strong against calls to reappoint him "for good behaviour" from his fans. IMO if you don't proactively ask to be shuffled into a different portfolio when you're not performing, you don't get a second chance as minister if you have to be sacked for what is, essentially, incompetence at the general skills involved. (Such as: not stupidly compounding your failures in your portfolio by making "bad look" political news and then failing to proactively disclose a second such scandal)

    This would also be a good time for Labour to reconsider its frankly ill-advised intra-caucus popularity contest to determine who gets into Cabinet, and instead formalize a committee to decide on merits with a vote of confidence from Caucus on the result, instead.

    • Treetop 10.1

      Dr Varrell would make an excellent health minister as her background is ideal when it comes to managing Covid-19.

      • Incognito 10.1.1

        Sigh

        • Treetop 10.1.1.1

          I need to look up Sigh. I know I did not spell Verrall properly.

          I notice you and I clash.

          • Incognito 10.1.1.1.1

            I think you’re imaging things. Why do you think I sighed? I notice that I was merely commenting …

            • Treetop 10.1.1.1.1.1

              Yes I was aware of ministers being asked to work from home. The ministers who were going to be under the spotlight were the Minister of Health and the Minister of Finance. Robertson showed because he was a Wellington minister.

              • Treetop

                I want to add I would have liked to have seen Clark in Wellington even for just a few days and the one trip during level 4. He probably would have been criticised for being in Wellington so he could not win.

                • Louis

                  Treetop, once again, all ministers were told to work from home, what part of that do you not understand? Dr Clark could not do a Simon Bridges and travel from one part of the country to another for a few days during the lockdown.

                  [Please stick to one e-mail address only, i.e. the one you used 2020/07/02 at 6:51 pm. Otherwise, you’re creating more work for the Moderators and they don’t like that. Thanks in advance – Incognito]

              • Treetop

                10.1.1.1.1.1 is to Louis @ 5.2 I had a previous comment to send and I sent another one and this comment got out of sequence.

              • Louis

                Treetop, didnt you watch the PM's press updates? Robertson was part of the PM's bubble. To repeat, its was the Director General of health's job to front and that's what he did.

                [Please stick to one e-mail address only, i.e. the one you used 2020/07/02 at 6:51 pm. Otherwise, you’re creating more work for the Moderators and they don’t like that. Thanks in advance – Incognito]

                • Treetop

                  Yes I knew about being in the same bubble.

                  Bloomfield's job is operational matters. I do think that Clark needed to be visible as he was the health minister. I think Anne got it right @4. when she says "In a way he (Clark) has also been a victim of Covid-19…"

                  Imagine if Robertson did not show when needed at the daily press conferences. The MSD minister showed.

                  I would like to see Clark back as the minister of health after the election and Verrall being appointed as a Covid-19 associate minister.

                  • Louis

                    Treetop, what you personally wanted is irrelevant. We are going around in circles.Why you continue to ignore the facts of the matter and the crucial role of the Director General of Health is anyone's guess. The PM has already said Dr Clark will not be back as Minister of Health should this govt be returned to power. Dr Verrall has had no parliamentary experience, so dont expect her to be elevated into a ministerial position after the election.

                    • Treetop

                      Never say never even if a slim chance.

                      I looked at the facts you raised and I put them into another context irrelevant or not.

                    • Sacha

                      I looked at the facts and imagined the moon was made of blue cheese.

                  • Sacha

                    Bloomfield’s job is operational matters. I do think that Clark needed to be visible as he was the health minister.

                    In a pandemic, the Director-General's role is way more than operational. Has higher regulated authority than the Prime Minister in some important aspects. Minister of Health becomes largely irrelevant.

                    • Treetop

                      You explained the role of the Director General of Health well during a pandemic.

                      At what point in a pandemic does the higher authority of the Director General of Health over ride the health minister or the PM?

                      And

                      Is the country still considered to be in a pandemic.

                    • Sacha

                      Has been covered well enough in previous posts and comments.

                    • Treetop []

                      I will go and look up previous posts.

            • Treetop 10.1.1.1.1.2

              I interpreted Sigh as being negative.

    • Chris 10.2

      How about Dr Liz Craig as minister?

      • Ad 10.2.1

        Hasn't made any impression.

        • Michael 10.2.1.1

          Agree. Nice person and thoroughly decent but not enough of a fighter. Might be OK as Associate Health Minister to, say, Megan Woods. Unfair and unwise to put Ayesha Verrall straight in until she finds her feet as an MP.

          • observer 10.2.1.1.1

            And in general I don't think it makes sense to say that a Minister has to come from that particular field. The Defence Minister doesn't need to be ex-military, Education an ex-teacher, etc.

            Attorney-General should probably be a lawyer, but in most portfolios, I'd rather have Ministers who are more concerned with the needs of the public than their old colleagues on the "inside".

            • Matthew Whitehead 10.2.1.1.1.1

              In general you are correct. Health, like AG, has a lot of issues for someone who has no strong medical background that need to be strongly compensated for with good managerial practice and ability to critically listen to subordinates. There's a reason why it's traditionally a very senior portfolio: because it's best if you have both factors on your side rather than just one, and it’s a VERY large portfolio that is difficult to manage even with the relevant background.

              There is literally nobody in the Labour caucus who fits that description, so there will be a need to settle on someone less than ideal. Labour doesn't have enough heavyweight Ministers to spare them on Health permanently with the rate they keep having to assign new things to, for example, Megan Woods. They need to bring an associate up to be ready, which ideally means they bring in a few new Ministers in the 2020 term, and include with them some with a medical background so that they can take over as a more permanent Health Minister before the next election. Genter could also have handled health temporarily as a highly competent Minister, and not put the burden on their overloaded workhorses, but it's understandable given tensions with NZF that they did not want to upgrade a portfolio for a Green Minister, and frankly I imagine Labour want to retain control of the portfolio anyway.

              • SPC

                Genter's background in Health is only as spokesperson for the party since 2016 and Associate Minister since 2017. Her earlier career was related to transport

                Clark was Associate Health Spokesperson 2013 to March 2017 and Health Spokesperson March – October 2017.

          • Matthew Whitehead 10.2.1.1.2

            Yeah to be fair "comes online" in this case means "is ready to be a Minister." I don't expect either Hipkins or Wood to be there too long, but yes, I would expect they're looking to make one of their two newly acquired doctors the Associate immediately with a view to moving into the primary role once they're acclimatized to politics.

    • SPC 10.3

      Spiteful much, the old pile on the unpopular kid mentality.

      And as for the punditry, a first term MP with no administrative experience, being made Minister of the Crown for a major portfolio when the health system is facing a major structural review … really.

      • Matthew Whitehead 10.3.1

        No, it's not spiteful. I am deeply frustrated at Labour for fostering a culture of appointing unqualified people as Ministers (one hopes it's due to inadequacies in the decision-making process around who gets into Cabinet, which isn't Ardern's, but still, the PM is allowed to fire them if necessary) and not addressing it proactively. It creates stuff-ups which become distractions that necessitate resignations. Clark should have realised he was out of his depth and requested to be shuffled out of Health on his own, were we in a healthy political culture that wasn't obsessed with being as senior as possible.

        Twyford, while performing politically in the house, has lost Housing and is still struggling with Transport, leaning on his more qualified associate Minister, and Curran, who was observably not qualified to be a Minister at all let alone be the most junior Cabinet minister, was given every chance to continue to fuck things up for as long as possible before being relegated to the back bench. Clark should have been addressed well before the pandemic exposed his inability to keep up with his portfolio and not become a distraction, and arguably, to conceal the truth from the Prime Minister and the public about his second breach of quarantine. Twyford needs to be shuffled into something he can manage, if he is to remain a Minister, after the election. These issues become distractions and expenditures of public goodwill we should be using to pass good, but sometimes controversial policy, that helps New Zealanders, and builds more ground work for further good policy and further progressive wins in elections in the future.

        Move them on, ask them to volunteer for a stint on the backbench and study up, or shuffle them into something they can actually learn to be good at. (And by the by, I don't mind if they make mistakes learning- I don't want overly cautious ministers who aren't allowed to take risks, or learn from small, reasonable mistakes in the first few years. I actually didn't mind Twyford at first because his political performance was good enough that it kinda hid his less-than-stellar performance in his policy portfolios, but it's clear the man isn't doing well in retrospect)

        But Ministers who won’t accept being moved on from a portfolio they can’t handle in good grace should be permanently kept on the back benches, which is now where Clark and Curran both belong.

        • SPC 10.3.1.1

          Care to share why/how you were aware Clark was not up to the Health Minister job prior to 2020?

          Twyford was known as reasonably well informed about the issue of housing/infrastructure/urban planning while in opposition.

          1. The Kiwi Build policy was the problem – how to not get more houses built and on-sold to buyers is to restrict sale to those who cannot afford them – first home buyers facing a deposit criteria. New homes are not the sort that first home buyers afford without significant government help.

          2. Light rail for Dominion Road to cope with capacity, and the rail line to the airport was always the better option. The original light rail idea managed by government was second best, whether Peters would have stopped this rather than the outside funding alternatives Twyford unwisely flirted with is still an unknown.

        • Chris 10.3.1.2

          Yes, Lees-Galloway is another one. His refusal to even acknowledge the crisis within ACC, let alone do anything about it, is astonishing. Captured, uncaring, right-winger, too thick to understand – only God knows what the reason is, but nobody in their right mind can ignore what's happened to ACC. Lees-Galloway can, and he does and there's not a jot of evidence to show that's going to change any time soon.

          • Treetop 10.3.1.2.1

            There are some heavy weight ACC decisions being overturned perhaps Lees – Galloway needs to start there. Immigration is a tough portfolio as well.

          • Treetop 10.3.1.2.2

            I may of been a bit unfair on Lees – Galloway. 1 July 2019 customer reviews by the Independent Complaint and Review Authority Ltd (ICRA) provides an independent reviewer and dispute resolution service alongside FairWay Resolution Ltd. A person has a fair chance of having a decision quashed when representing their self. I did it on my own and I have no special skills other than working out the bull shit.

            In time the amount of decisions being overturned will need to be looked into why ACC are getting it wrong with the initial decision.

            My case is complicated and ongoing but the date of injury was changed to 18 years earlier.

      • Treetop 10.3.2

        It might be good to split the health portfolio and have a Covid-19 minister due to the effects of the virus and the importance of trying to be one step ahead of it.

        • SPC 10.3.2.1

          Yes.

          They have done this in part with the Housing Minister taking over procurement and oversight of facilities used to quarantine. And there are wider areas – borders (airline crew and shipping as well) and management of inflow numbers.

          No reason not to do something similar within Health as well.

  11. Kay 11

    David Clark should have been sacked last year when he completely abdicated his Ministerial responsibilities and deliberately ignored serious issues with Pharmac. He's been an incompetent coward from day one, unprepared to step up and do his job when required, and take responsibility for his actions, or lack thereof. And people have died because of that.

    Well done David, you'll be remembered as the idiot health Minister who bungled up a pandemic but your shameful role with Pharmac will never rate a mention. Looks like you're off the hook.

    • Rosemary McDonald 11.1

      Slight correction there Kay….another idiot Health Minister…

      And they've appointed Hipkins.

      Why oh why is health always considered not important enough to have a decent Minister?

      • Kay 11.1.1

        Good point. When did we last have one?

        • Pataua4life 11.1.1.1

          Tony Ryall

          • Kay 11.1.1.1.1

            Ryall was a Nat, so one can only assume he oversaw massive cuts? IIRC he was only competent in that he managed to avoid scandals

          • Dean Reynolds 11.1.1.1.2

            Tony Ryall? The jumped up bank clerk from the provinces? Get a grip!

          • observer 11.1.1.1.3

            Ryall was a classic case of the"sinking lid" approach: avoid the necessary capital investment, and let the problems grow, but pushed out to some other Minister down the track.

            The job isn't fire-fighting, it's fire prevention. Ryall failed, badly.

          • Rosemary McDonald 11.1.1.1.4

            Ryall…seemed to think that ACC and MOH were one and the same. A fwit.

        • anker 11.1.1.2

          Cunliffe (last very competent health minister). Although he didn't fund hercepton, however health is a bottomless pit of need.

          I am not sure what the problem was with Pharmac and D Clark, as they got a lot of extra funding during his term. But I accept you have info I have heard about.

          I want to acknowedge that under Clark mental health got billion in funding and at least one new hospital and a number of hospital units have been progressed. A cancer agency has been set up and new radiology equipment purchased. And the Covid response.

          • Kay 11.1.1.2.1

            @anker problem enough that 7 dead people are now the subject of a coroner's inquest. Clark had the Ministerial power to prevent this and chose not to.

          • Matthew Whitehead 11.1.1.2.2

            Not politicising drug funding was a good move, IMO, and it's something we need to make a political consensus again if we can. As much as I want effective cancer treatment for everyone, I would prefer if cancer were treated in line with its actual level of risk and the actual demonstrated effectiveness of novel drugs. I have confidence in the Pharmac model. If there's good reason to think Pharmac is being mismanaged in that regard though, that's something that should be addressed, but we shouldn't end-run around it for expensive oncology drug with an advertising campaign, which is what we risk if we let Ministers directly fund drugs again they way they started to under Key. (and boy are some of those drugs expensive. I've had the opportunity to see the raw costs and some of them run into thousands of dollars for milligram-level doses)

            I have every sympathy for people who are in the position of facing the illness of course, as I've lost family I cared about to cancer myself, and have fundraised for research personally. But we also need to worry about other diseases and health conditions, too. If we put the same attention behind diseases caused by poverty, for instance, we could probably eliminate some of them in New Zealand.

            • Kay 11.1.1.2.2.1

              @Matthew, just to clarify it's nothing to do with cancer drugs. I'm referring to the lamotrigine scandal which involves drugs ALREADY available and funded. And it's more complicated than just funding. And the issue of politicising never came into it, just the case of a Health Minister who could've prevented a lot of grief had he chosen to

              • Rosemary McDonald

                Clark knows nothing…less than nothing…. about Health. He will have swallowed the crap from Pharmac without a second thought.

                Calling himself "doctor". Dishonest.

                [I’m afraid it is you who is being dishonest, Rosemary. Clark studied medicine, though it is his philosophy PhD from Otago uni that entitles him to use the title Doctor. However, if it really annoys you, feel free to refer to him as the Reverend David Clark, another title he is able to use. TRP]

                • observer

                  Dr Lockwood Smith, Dr Nick Smith, Dr Michael Cullen …

                  It's not "dishonest", it's standard usage.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    "Clark knows nothing…less than nothing…. about Health."

                    That’s an outright lie, IMHO – let the smearing continue.

                • Peter

                  No doubt there's a list somewhere of Ministers who were 'unqualified' to be in charge of their ministries.

                  The again maybe there isn't because it would be too extensive to put in one place.

                  Steven Joyce knew everything, more than everything in fact about economics. A veritable genius he was, even finding stuff that didn't exist.

                  https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11917623

                  • Rosemary McDonald

                    My point is that the Health portfolio is simply too important to trust to someone poorly qualified or experienced.And each term that elapses with no true leadership, without a firm hand on the tiller to turn this vessel from grounding, then it becomes increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to undo the damage wrought by the past twenty five years.

                    Clark was never going to be that Minister.

                • Rosemary McDonald

                  So Clark is a medical doctor? Qualified and registered?

                  I did not know that. I knew he had studied theology and he was Reverended…not that prayer to the Sky Fairy is of any help.

                  [Rosemary, I’m going to assume you are temporarily comprehension compromised and not just trying to get into an argument with an author. Re-read my mod note, and move on. Or be moved on. TRP]

            • RedBaronCV 11.1.1.2.2.2

              Yep to the drug costs some of them are several thousand a week or tens of thousands for a cancer course. One of the issues with some of the new cancer drugs seem to be all or nothing, either they work or they don't – no middle of the road giving a longer or better quality of life. But you don't know who will benefit until they actually take them. Makes for difficult decisions. Then there is life extension which can also be expensive. I've known a few people who have had some remissions but then go "no this time don't treat".

          • georgecom 11.1.1.2.3

            Cunliffe yes. To be fair David Coleman might have proven himself to be decent as well long term. He was smart enough to stand for the Nat leadership and declare he would cancel tx cuts and put the money into health. He understood that Key and Ryall had starved the health system of much needed funds. He was certainly an improvement on Ryall.

            Clarke has not been too bad actually, despite some of the vitriol from posters here and those with a personal axe to grind. He did some good things and oversaw some wise decisions. His actions under Covid Level 4 were very unwise. However his time was up and he took a wise decision to step down.

        • Matiri 11.1.1.3

          Annette King

          • Marcus Morris 11.1.1.3.1

            Absolutely Matiri. Trusted by all. David Cunliffe a close second. Articulate and clever. Gave slime ball Ryall a roasting every time they clashed when he was Minister. Should have been the Party Leader after Helen Clark resigned. Mind you, we have ended up with a leader par excellence.

            • Michael 11.1.1.3.1.1

              Agree. King was a great Minister of Health and a great Parliamentarian right up to the moment she left.

      • Matthew Whitehead 11.1.2

        The problem is something of the reverse: It's considered too senior to have a junior minister, and most of the "senior talent" in the Party is not in fact talent, as they were clearly expecting not to go into government until this term when they made their 2017 Party List.

      • Treetop 11.1.3

        Mainly for Rosemary
        I have given it a thought about what needs to happen when a health consumer's rights are being impeded due to processes not being robust enough. There needs to be a health tribunal as the HDC has no teeth and they are so slow, a DHB passess the buck, the coroner can shut a case and does not always get all the information, ACC also do not get the full facts of a treatment injury from a DHB.

        I would be interested in knowing what you think.

        With a bit of luck I might be able to influence change in the future for a dead man who has fallen through the cracks in many systems.

        • Rosemary McDonald 11.1.3.1

          Agreed the HDC is too slow and has few teeth…and one can't complain about treatment or services being refused. I'm not sure how a tribunal would be different…

          I am pretty sure that there would be the same denials and obfuscation whatever systems were in place to investigate complaints. And we are a very small country…everybody seems to have some connection to everybody else, especially in a specialised field like medicine. They back each other up. Not all, but too many doctors and nurses seem to have forgotten they are bound by professional ethics.

          I am assuming someone close to you passed away under the 'care' of our health system? My condolences, and I have very little problem believing that they were a victim of 'treatment injury'. I have been present at too many near misses…in some instances me speaking up (in my usual polite mannerwink) has been the only thing that has stopped serious injury or even death. For shame we didn't make official complaints…simply because we knew that the complaint system was overloaded with instances where the patient was not so fortunate.

          I have not had a thorough in depth read of the Review recently published…what does it have to say about the HDC and better handling of complaints?

          • Treetop 11.1.3.1.1

            The ICRA covers ACC. An equivalent is needed for health consumers who do not qualify for ACC.

            Being able to review a health decision is important otherwise nothing will change.

            I do not like the disparity between health consumers who have the same needs. I do not like how you are placed in a position where without a lawyer your complaint is bearly heard.

            Well the independent lawyer at my ICRA review bowled me over as he looked at the facts and applied the ACC legislation.

            I am waiting for ACC to appeal the decision as my decision could potentially help many many people who also were told what I was initially told which proved to not be correct.

    • Anne 11.2

      I take offence at your comment Kay @ 11 which is without basis. There may be aspects of his handling of the role you disagree with, but that does not give you the right to blame and defame a person on what looks suspiciously to me like flimsy ground.

      • Rosemary McDonald 11.2.1

        At the final reckoning Anne, who will take responsibility for the lives lost because of the Lamotrigine outrage?

        • Andre 11.2.1.1

          The first step is demonstrating that anything more outrageous than insensitive change management and messaging actually occurred.

          The high incidence of Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) means that the seven deaths alleged to be caused by the medication change may in fact just be the normal regular incidence of SUDEP and be totally unrelated to the medication change. Similarly for the loss of seizure control some sufferers experienced following the change, it's possible that too simply reflects the regular incidence of those events.

          Sorting out that question will take some fairly involved statistics and deep dives into extensive medical records. Which I would expect the coroner's team to be doing.

          What is really unhelpful is the mindless rush to the conclusion that all of these incidents must necessarily be wholely attributable to the change in medication.

          • Rosemary McDonald 11.2.1.1.1

            Of course, Andre. We've all heard that argument. 'Oh, he had such and such condition and they tend to just die, you know.'

            Best example of this was how the police treated the death of Nathan Booker.

            Because, like, kids with cerebral palsy just drown in baths.

            Clearly you have no idea how attitudes like these affect those living with these conditions. I guess it comes down to how much these lives are valued.

            Let's leave it to the coroner, eh?

        • Incognito 11.2.1.2

          Let’s start with the media.

        • Treetop 11.2.1.3

          The drug company is where I would start. It was a lethal decision for some people when they were forced into having their medication changed to save money for a condition that needs to be managed. So sad that it took the death of people for change to occur.

  12. observer 12

    One of the genius moves under the new Nat leadership has been to dump the traditional "Does the PM have confidence in her Ministers?" question in Parliament. Instead, Muller has prepared Qs which helpfully tell the PM in advance what to expect.

    If he had asked the "confidence in Ministers" question yesterday, it would have been awkward for Ardern (who already knew Clark was on his way). But Muller didn't, so he let her off the hook. Good old Todd.

    • Matthew Whitehead 12.1

      I actually support Muller in this, though. It's better for all of us if National actually is just up-front and asks what it means. Sure, it puts Ministers on notice and potentially misses issues that they didn't know about when questions were submitted, but it also removes the "I didn't have notice so I don't have that information" excuse. General primary questions should be saved for when there are multiple related lines of questioning.

      • observer 12.1.1

        A fair argument for Qs to Ministers about the portfolios, but Qs to the PM are different. They are really about political theatre, not asking for specific info.

        • Sacha 12.1.1.1

          Theatre, yes. Better for the brief social media clips if the exchange starts with a focused question.

  13. anker 13

    – NZ’s largest ever investment in frontline mental health services

    – Hiring 1600 new mental health workers which will result in 325,000 Kiwis a year receiving free access to improved mental health services

    – NZ’s largest ever increase to DHB funding

    – 3x the increases to health funding compared to what National delivered in 9 years

    – Significant additional funding for disability support services

    – Made GP visits $30 cheaper for 600,000 New Zealanders

    – Brought in NZ’s long overdue medicinal cannabis regulations

    – Free counselling for under 25’s

    – Expanding telehealth and digital supports for mental wellbeing

    – Delivered 80 new mental health workers in Canterbury schools (18 months earlier than promised)

    – Extended free GP visits to under 14s

    – Rolled out national bowel screening

    – Opened Suicide Prevention Office

    – Increased suicide prevention funding

    – Established a national suicide bereavement counselling fund providing free counselling for people bereaved by suicide

    – Tailored Māori and Pacific suicide prevention initiatives addressing New Zealand's persistently high suicide rates

    – An expanded family and whānau suicide prevention information service

    – More suicide prevention services in District Health Boards, including increased post-discharge support

    – An improved suicide media response service, supporting responsible discussion about suicide across all media and social media.

    – New research on improving health outcomes for Māori and Pacific peoples.

    – Increased investment to develop innovative Pacific community health initiatives

    – Established National Cancer Control Agency

    – Developed Cancer Action Plan

    – New Rheumatic fever prevention funding

    – Largest ever investment in radiation therapy

    – Extended the nurses in schools programme

    – Expansion of mental health and addiction services for offenders

    – $70 million investment for the building of mental health facilities at Hillmorton Hospital

    – Significant hospital upgrades and funding increases to capital projects

    – Fast-tracked new Dunedin hospital

    – Large funding boosts to Pharmac

    – Reimbursements for midwives working through Covid-19 response

    – Boosted air ambulance network

    – Rural locum relief for rural midwives

    – More GP training placements in rural and regional areas

    – New funding for AIDS research

    – New funding for gender reassignment surgeries

    – Strengthened NZ’s immunisation system

    – Pay increases of between 12-15.9% for nurses, midwives, practitioners, community nurses, health care assistants & hospital aides

    – Pay equity for mental health & addiction workers

    – Initiated a wide-ranging review of our health & disability services

    Would this have all happened without him? Not necessarily. He was the Associate Minister of Finance for the first 2 budgets and actively lobbied to ensure that funding was made in these areas.

    From FB posting

    • RedBaronCV 13.1

      There is also not much doubt that stable decently paid jobs and housing would go a long way towards reducing the health spend. We also now have a generation – born 1985 onwards who have had to weather two huge financial shocks in their late teens and early working lives.

    • Just Is 13.2

      Thanks for listing all the achievements of David Clarks tenure, I new he was responsible for a lot of improvements in the Health system and have stated that here recently.

      I know that my local hospital in Northland has doubled the staff numbers i the last few yrs, anyone regarding him as average or useless should provide tangible evidence, not media beat ups

    • Yes, for that list thanks Anker. David made mistakes, but he worked very hard to better many areas of Health.

  14. Peter 14

    One of the things interesting to observe in the past week has been the 'thrown under the bus' angle.

    How many of those who marvelled at Trump, who think him amazing for 'telling it like it is' without bullshit political embellishments have booted Clark for what his plain statement about the breakdown on the front lines?

    Clark said that Bloomfield had “accepted responsibility” for lapses in border security protocols.

    Good exercise for a politics and communication class:

    Write the statements Clark should have made in the circumstances.

    Write the questions likely to follow the statement and the answers you'd give.

    A+ to the person who said: "Don't say anything"?

  15. Climaction 15

    Arguably the second most important portfolio right now has a part time minister? Is there no one competent enough to rake a single portfolio off hipkins to lighten the load?

    How many empty chairs are there?

    • observer 15.1

      Funny, the "empty chairs" attack line has evolved, hasn't it?

      – First, with Bridges, it was a "part time PM" (where's that line gone, eh?). (= half)

      -Then it was "PM impressive, rest not". (= one)

      – Then it was claimed (by Muller et al) that only Ardern and Robertson were up to it. (= two)

      – Now it's Ardern and Robertson and Woods and Hipkins and Parker and …

      "What have the Romans ever done for us?"

  16. Bryan 16

    Even today heading off on the no-exit road to perdition, the Reverend personage still did not have that ounce of honesty necessary to take ownership of his bad behaviour with 'Saint' Ashley.

    The failings of the quarantine regime operationally could have been said to lie with the DG perhaps but to flame him so publicly and capriciously speaks to a huge lack of self-awareness. True leadership I imagine, would have involved both men standing together acknowledging and taking ownership of the shortcomings and charting the way forward.

    A massive majority and a desire to be a good constituency MP, could well ultimately lead to a position on the Dunedin City Council with that other out-standing individual David Benson-Pope.

    Good riddance.

    • SPC 16.1

      It was a media ambush outside a select committee hearing he and AB had attended, the cameraman was instructed to film AB when Clark was questioned.

      Just a demonstration of the media's capacity to manipulate the more suggestible of the public. Basically its easy to bully the unpopular kid.

      Personaly I just take note of those in MSM and social media who do this and ignore.

  17. barry 17

    I think Clark was found out by an extraordinary situation which would have derailed many another minister. If not for Covid19 he would have continued as a minister, and been forgotten as averagely competent.

  18. Jester 18

    David Clark leaving is good for Labour. One less weak link that can be attacked by National. He should have gone long ago, and it should have been Jacinda sacking him.

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