‘It seems a much better time to hand on the reins’

David Clark
David Clark
Dunedin North MP David Clark says he never considered leaving politics, despite his resignation as a minister this week.

"I still have what I consider one of the best jobs in New Zealand, serving the people of Dunedin in Parliament," he said yesterday.

"I consider it a privilege to have the roles that I have ... I genuinely feel honoured to serve the people of Dunedin and I hope to be able to serve those people again in the role of their MP."

In April, Dr Clark was demoted to the bottom of the Cabinet rankings and lost his associate finance role after admitting two breaches of lockdown regulations and offering to resign.

Subsequent weeks saw issues arise with border security and public anger for his not immediately taking full responsibility.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern accepted Dr Clark’s second offer of resignation, saying that continued speculation about his future distracted from the fight against Covid-19.

"Now we are on a more stable footing and we are only getting cases of Covid that are arriving at the border, it seems a much better time to hand on the reins," Dr Clark told the Otago Daily Times yesterday.

"Overall [New Zealand is] the envy of the world right now, and I don’t want to be a distraction from that story.

"The threat is still real, globally cases are going up faster than ever, and we will continue to see Covid arriving at our borders ... for some time to come."

Health was one of the largest portfolios in government and the global pandemic had made a big job far larger, Dr Clark said.

"The Prime Minister was the only minister who was not in their own electorate during the peak of Covid-19," Dr Clark said.

"We were all asked to do what New Zealanders did; that was return to our homes and communities, so that was what I did.

"I had the phone glued to my ear, sometimes for more than 14 hours a day

... I believe that through the efforts of many, New Zealand had the best Covid-19 response that we could."

He left the health role with mixed feelings: pride in initiatives he had brought forward, but regret he would not see them through to the end — especially the new Dunedin Hospital.

"We have got the reserves set aside for that project, demolition is under way, the detailed business case is finished. I feel really confident about where that is headed."

mike.houlahan@odt.co.nz

Comments

David, did you have the phone glued to your ear when you were on your mountain bike and driving to the beach????

Do us all a favor and just walk away

Knew more bad news (covid details release blunder) was coming, so jumped before pushed. Flanked by Grant a chris, it looked like a forced resignation. That's the worst bit, it was forced, like Clark thought he had done no wrong and had no reason to resign

 

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