Labour MP David Clark steps down as Health Minister

Latest 02/07/2020

Labour MP David Clark has stepped down as Health Minister.

The embattled MP for Dunedin North came under fire recently after Newshub footage showed him pointing blamed at Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield for the Government's quarantine testing botch-up.

Dr Clark also faced backlash during the alert level 4 lockdown for breaching the rules by going mountain biking and driving 20km to the beach for a walk with his family when Kiwis weren't allowed to drive for recreation. 

Newshub also revealed he continued moving house during level 4 lockdown, shifting boxes when the rest of New Zealand was told they were not allowed.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern demoted Dr Clark to the bottom of her Cabinet rankings and stripped him of his Associate Finance portfolio, and said she would have sacked him "under normal conditions".

In the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll, voters were asked whether Dr Clark should remain Health Minister. More than half - 56.8 percent - said 'no', with only 35.7 percent saying 'yes'.

In Labour's recent reshuffle infectious disease expert Dr Ayesha Verrall - who rose to prominence during the COVID-19 crisis - appeared just one ranking below Dr Clark.

Dr Verrall has not ruled out ambitions for the health portfolio.

More to come.