Duncan Garner: Clark leaves the impression he's barely capable of ordering his own coffee

Opinion 19/06/2020

OPINION: The AM Show host, Duncan Garner.

The first thing I would do today if I was Jacinda Ardern would be to call Health Minister Dr David Clark to Wellington. 

I would sit him down and ask him what he knew about the weaknesses in our border and quarantine testing, given the latest and avoidable mess we find ourselves in.

If he knew all about it and had said nothing, I would sack him. If he knew nothing and had clearly asked little questions, I would sack him.

This is a man who is meant to be in charge of the health portfolio but leaves you with the impression he's barely capable of ordering his own coffee.

Right now is not the time to experiment with health. Our country relies on this Government and the public service getting it right. 

We have rushed to celebrate our success only to be met with an exhaustive list of epic fails which all link back to the Health Ministry. 

The man responsible ultimately is Clark and if Simon Bridges gets the boot for asking too many questions of this Government, then Clark gets the boot for not asking enough of the ministry he is responsible for.

Ardern has had many chances to sack him; the trip to the beach, the mountain bike ride, and the house move.

But much, much, much more important than those sideshows is the serious lack of performance and judgement when it mattered most.

The Prime Minister looks compromised and weak holding onto Clark.

Yes, she's a formidable communicator but she has failed to send her weakest and errant ministers the tough message when it's needed most.

She needs to be more ruthless with Clark - cut him loose - he offers nothing. We are by no means out of the woods on COVID-19 and the economic dark clouds are screaming deep recession.