The New Zealand Minister of Health called himself an idiot after breaking the lockdown of the country by driving his family to the beach.
David Clark admitted that the 20-kilometer trip was “a clear violation of the principles of lockdown.”
He offered his resignation to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, but kept his job due to the current crisis.
But he was demoted to cabinet rankings and also lost a secondary position as associate finance minister.
The Scottish Chief Medical Officer of Health resigned on Sunday for making two trips to his second home during the lockout.
What did David Clark do?
New Zealand entered its highest locking state, level four, on Wednesday, March 25.
But the first weekend, Mr. Clark drove his family from their home in Dunedin to Doctor’s Point beach.
Mr. Clark admitted the trip to Ms. Ardern after being criticized for another violation of the rules.
Last week, he hiked a shorter distance to a mountain bike trail – and his van, with a photo of him on the side, was photographed on the trail.
“People can go outside to breathe fresh air and travel short distances if necessary, but we asked them to avoid activities where the risk of injury is higher,” said Ms. Ardern last week in response to hiking.
“The minister should have followed these instructions. “
What was the reaction to the beach trip?
Clark said he had offered to resign.
“As Minister of Health, it is my responsibility not only to follow the rules, but to set an example for other New Zealanders,” he said.
“At a time when we are asking New Zealanders to make historic sacrifices, I let the team down. I am an idiot and I understand why people will be mad at me. “
Ardern said that “under normal conditions”, Mr. Clark would be sacked.
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“We cannot afford to massively disrupt the health care sector or our response,” she said.
“For this reason, and for this reason alone, Dr. Clark will continue his role. But he has to pay a price. He broke the rules.
“While he maintains his health portfolio, I deprive him of his role as associate finance minister and downgrade him to the bottom of our ministerial rankings.
“I expect better, just like New Zealand. “
What is the situation in New Zealand?
Level four guidelines state that people should be quarantined or isolated at home, with the exception of “essential personal movement.”
Outdoor exercise is allowed, but not “exposing participants to danger”.
New Zealand has recorded more than 1,100 confirmed cases, but only one death – a 70-year-old woman who died at the end of last month.