New Zealand’s health minister, David Clark, has been demoted for breaking Coronavirus lockdown rules.
Last week, the 47-year-old and his family drove approximately 20km from his home in Dunedin to Doctor’s Point Beach for a walk, which he admits violated restrictions.
Clark described himself as an “idiot” and offered his resignation to Ardern, who rejected it and instead demoted him.
In a statement, Dr Clark said: “As the health minister it’s my responsibility to not only follow the rules but set an example to other New Zealanders.
“At a time when we are asking New Zealanders to make historic sacrifices I’ve let the team down. I’ve been an idiot, and I understand why people will be angry with me.”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern admitted that “under normal circumstances” she would have sacked Mr. Clark, but decided to keep him in his role as health minister amid the global pandemic and instead demote him to the bottom of the cabinet rankings.
He has also been stripped of his role as associate finance minister.
“We cannot afford massive disruption in the health sector or to our response,” Ms Ardern said in a statement.
“For that reason, and that reason alone, Dr. Clark will maintain his role. But he does need to pay a price – he broke the rules.
“While he maintains his health portfolio, I am stripping him of his role as associate finance minister and demoting him to the bottom of our cabinet rankings. I expect better, and so does New Zealand.”
In New Zealand, there are more than 1100 cases of Coronavirus with one death.