New Zealand Health Minister David Clark called himself “an idiot” Tuesday after he violated the country’s strict coronavirus lockdown laws and took his family on a beach excursion.
However he will keep his job after his resignation offer was rejected by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand Herald reported. Clark has already come under fire for driving about two miles last week to go for a mountain bike ride.
The left-wing NZ Labour Party member admitted the trip was a clear breach of the country’s lockdown rules and conceded his position meant he should have been setting an example.
Under level 4 lockdown, which New Zealanders have been under for nearly two weeks, Kiwis cannot leave their homes except for essential supplies such as food or medicine, and could only take brief bouts of exercise in their local area.
“At a time when we are asking New Zealanders to make historic sacrifices, I’ve let the team down,” he said in a statement.
“I’ve been an idiot and I understand why people will be angry with me.”
Ardern said under normal circumstances, she would have sacked Clark — but instead, she stripped him of the junior role of associated finance minister and demoted him in the cabinet rankings.
“What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses,” she said.
“But right now, my priority is our collective fight against COVID-19. We cannot afford massive disruption in the health sector or to our response. For that reason, and that reason alone, Dr. Clark will maintain his role.”
Clark is not alone in breaking his own lockdown rules.
Scotland’s chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood resigned Sunday for breaking the rules after twice visiting her second home, despite fronting an ad campaign calling for Scots to stay at home, as Breitbart London reported.
New Zealand has had over 1,100 confirmed cases, but only one death – a 70-year-old woman who died late last month.