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Minister Clark resigns

Written By: - Date published: 11:45 am, July 2nd, 2020 - 32 comments
Categories: david clark, health, labour, uncategorized - Tags:

Minister Clark  has resigned.

It is not remotely surprising that there is some political fallout after the Covid-19 Crisis. Almost more surprising that there hasn’t been more before now.
It can be left to you gentle reader to list his sins, of which there are many.
His positive legacy however will be twofold.
The first is massive funding increases to the health budget in both operational and capital work, over successive years. These included much-awaited pay rises for nurses and care staff.
The second legacy is, so long as the Labour government is re-elected, will be to see comprehensive structural reform of the health system as a whole, which is detailed within the Simpson Report.
All parties have shakeups as the reality of another term in Parliament looms. The other side has. The resignation is, TBH, a relief to the Labour political economy, and would have been worse closer to the campaign proper.
Clark is an exceedingly principled man, with a PhD in theology and has served as a Presbyterian Minister. He was the celebrant at the civil union of Grant Robertson. It is quite possible he will be redeployed in a more junior capacity in a future government – give him something of a scale he can do well.
I would hope that this gives the Prime Minister the overdue opportunity to reshuffle with a strong and fresh lineup going into the campaign.

32 comments on “Minister Clark resigns ”

  1. Descendant Of Smith 1

    I remember talking to a CEO of a DHB who said that David Clark was a breath of fresh air after the previous government's health Ministers. He understood his portfolio and listened thoughtfully before responding. They had plenty of praise for him.

    It was interesting and surprising praise from someone who had previously indicated concern about a Labour Government coming in.

    I get he has not always got it right but I'm not sure losing him from the portfolio is better than keeping him. Hopefully he will still stay involved.

    • Jane 1.1

      David Clark is my local MP, and on a personal level I have known him for nearly twenty years. I regard him as an intelligent and thoughtful man who has the best interests of his electorate and the wider community at heart. I am sorry that he felt he had to resign as he has worked to bring much needed funding and resources to the health sector. My own GP, who has seen plenty of Health Ministers come and go, had a great deal of time for David, and indeed described one of David's speeches that he gave to a medical conference as inspirational.

      "Descendant of Smith" it was nice to hear that the CEO of the DHB you reported on felt the same about David's abilities. I hope David can now work quietly behind the scenes on the government's election health policy for September and build on what has already been achieved.

    • Gabby 1.2

      He seemed to rub the senior doctors up the wrong way, going by the salaried med pros bloke.

  2. Westiechick 2

    I have always been impressed listening to him being interviewed on RNZ regarding the health portfolio. He seemed well informed, intelligent and compassionate.

    • Rosemary McDonald 2.1

      I have always been impressed listening to him being interviewed on RNZ regarding the health portfolio. He seemed well informed, intelligent and compassionate.

      Hiya Westiechick! Can I have some of what you're on?

      • The God of Health would not get your vote Rosemary.

        TBF, this Minister has overseen many real improvements. This was always a difficult role, made more difficult by covid.

        • Rosemary McDonald

          TBF, this Minister has overseen many real improvements.

          To be fair I may have missed the 'many real improvements'.

          Can you list, say, half a dozen?

          • Marcus Morris

            Plenty of these on the other thread on this topic. You just don't want to see them as it spoils your narrative.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 2.2

      'Compassion' – for Health ministers.

      I've more regard for Clark than his predecessor Coleman (now board director of a major private hospital business). Who'd be the Minister of the Misery of Health? Who was the last NZ Minister of Health to 'get it right'? [Edit: Ahh, Cunliffe – thanks anker]


  3. Chris T 3

    Let's have a bit of realism.

    He was shit.

    MIA, when not breaking his own rules

  4. RedLogix 4

    I've watched both of these threads today with sorrow. I decided to comment under Ad’s respectful post, rather than the more overtly political one.

    The criticism of Clark from people who wouldn't last till lunchtime in the job themselves leaves me cold. None of them actually specify why they think he was 'shit'; they just make unsupported reckons. From where I sit, there is plenty of evidence to the contrary.

    The reason for the quarantine mistakes is simple, but subtle. By going from Level 3 to Level 1 in two days, instead of two weeks, the system did not have time to adapt. The root cause of this was media and National party whining demanding it, creating a wrong expectation that in hindsight I think the Labour Cabinet should not have been swayed by. Still it was not an obvious mistake, I certainly didn’t think of it at the time, nor did any of the people now heaping spite onto a clearly decent man.

    Still Clark has done the expedient thing and removed himself as a political target between now and the election, even though personally I think there is absolutely no real reason why he should have.

    • SPC 4.1

      It was a move from Level 2 to Level 1.

      There were two reasons for the failure in implementation

      1. With one days notice June 8 apply testing from June 9 – staff presumed it must only for those who arrive from June 9. Because it was impossible to do what they were asked. A test on day 3 or day 12 did not then preclude ealy release for those who arrived before June 9.

      2. I am fairly sure the DG of Health informed Cabinet in asking for another week before moving to Level 1, that they would need to get the capacity to test up and ready first. But Cabinet was under National and media and business pressure to go to Level 1.

      The responsibility belonged to Cabinet, which is why no one was blamed. Even so, the head of ops took responsibility for the failure to do the impossible without saying what he thought of failure of Cabinet to follow advice (and Clark possibly supported him on this but was outvoted for political reasons).

      The Cabinet papers are going to be an interesting release.

      As for the politics. I would have kept him on and maybe brought in someone in support as assistant Health pandemic oversight.

      Now the attacks are going to come against Cabinet lack of depth and other Ministers will be hunted. Clark was the lightning rod blocking all that, and in health they were doing OK and less vulnerable. For mine they got this wrong.

      • RedLogix 4.1.1

        It was a move from Level 2 to Level 1.

        Thanks for the correction. Otherwise, yes your reasoning is solid.

        And compared to the catastrophic mistakes made in so many other places in the world, Clark's handling of COVID has been impeccable.

        Politics at it's worst.

    • Incognito 4.2


    • Chris T 4.3

      He was the Minister of Health who was absent during the biggest health crisis of our generation, while making non contact laws he broke personally.

      Then pinned it all on his worker when things went tit's up

      If you can justify this I am all eyes.

      • Incognito 4.3.1

        Are you Todd Muller by any chance? You make it so easy.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 4.3.2

        What are you really upset about? The Covid-19 health outcomes NZers achieved "during the biggest health crisis of our generation" were earned under Clark's watch as Minister of Health, and are the envy of the world. I'd put Clark's record (achievements and mistakes) in two-and-a-half years up against nine years of National party Ministers of Health any day. The Nats really were MIA when it came to our public health system, which makes our outcomes all the more remarkable. https://thestandard.org.nz/david-clark-resigns/#comment-1725159

        • Chris T

          What achievements exactly?

          Thanks in advance

          • McFlock

            Actual movement on Dunedin Public Hospital, for a start.

            • Chris T

              Oh OK

              How far into the build are they again?

              • McFlock

                Site confirmed and purchased, demolition well underway, quite weird driving that street without a multistory facility right beside the footpath. That'll change back in a few years.

                While the nats kept promising all the bells and whistles, yet never even decided where they were going to build the thing. Clark comes in, changes the dev team, shit starts happening.

      • Gabby 4.3.3

        pinned it all on his worker

        That's a lie isn't it. Why lie?

  5. Halfcrown 5

    When can we expect Woodhouse And Bishop to resign for endangering the lives of all New Zealanders.?

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