Minister called out for driving to Dunedin mountain bike track

Health Minister David Clark. Photo: ODT files
Health Minister David Clark. Photo: ODT files
Health Minister David Clark has been called out for flouting the Government's advice to exercise locally after confirming he drove to a park to go mountain biking yesterday.

Dr Clark was nabbed after parking his signwritten van at the car park - 2.3km or roughly five minutes drive from his Opoho, Dunedin home - and it was spotted by someone who dobbed him in to media.

A Toyota Hiace van, emblazoned with Clark's face, was snapped parked near Signal Hill Lookout earlier on Thursday.

A concerned member of the public sent photos of his van parked in the Logan Park High School car park to Stuff saying they were "horrified" and questioned whether Ministers and their families were above the law. 

On social media it has prompted similar reactions from some readers, while others have said the mountain bike track was not far from his home and questioned whether Dr Clark did anything wrong.

Dr Clark confirmed his trip, saying he went for a bike ride between video conference meetings. "As Health Minister I try to model healthy behaviour and this afternoon I decided to fit in a bike ride between video-conference meetings. "This was my only chance to get out for some exercise in daylight hours," he said.

However, his boss Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has repeatedly advised locked down Kiwis to stay local - and if they want to exercise to do so near their home.

The message has also been hammered home by Police Commissioner Mike Bush, who has said that vehicles should only be used for grocery shopping or a medical trip.

The 6km mountain bike trail, dubbed "The Big Easy" was not challenging and was a popular local destination, Dr Clark said.

"I know that now is not the time for people to be engaging in higher-risk exercise activities," he said.

Dr Clark said the bike track was "not challenging" 

NZ Herald and ODT

Comments

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Now Health Minister David Clark, what would have happened had you fallen off your bike and broken your ankle?....You would have endangered the lives of the rescue services forced to attend to you.

I believe a 'reminder' visit from the New Zealand Police, is in order!...

Driving to a bike ride? Shocking.

Buy (or make) wooden gymnastic rings. Hang from ceiling in garage. Chinups, etc in all weather.

Leading by example?

Nothing wrong with that. He's close to his home. It's great to see David taking time out from his stressful job to exercise. That track is very safe. I suggest that the "horrified"person stops playing at being the fun police and stays home.

Except that the government and the police have both previously stated that driving to get your exercise is not OK and that mountain biking is not OK. So why is it alright for David Clark to flaunt the lockdown requirements? It is simply hypocritical of Mr Clark to claim he is all about everyone doing their bit by complying with lockdown requirements while he isn't complying with lockdown requirements.

Agree completely, it's in his neighbourhood, and that 2m wide, 4deg gradient, fully gravelled track is safer than the road.
The person who 'dobbed him in' was likely using that same track for some exercise. Give the guy a break.

If it was within his local area as he claims, then why didn't he just bike there? Add a bit extra on to his ride and the chances of him getting snapped would have been way less. I still think it was a silly decision, given that Nelson have shut all their tracks and at the moment EVRYONE is watching. People in his position as supposed to be leading by example.

Couldn't we just go to the official guidance on Covid19.govt.nz?
It says
"
Using private vehicles for transport is allowed. You can travel if you’re accessing essential services or if you’re an essential worker travelling to, from or as part of your essential work. You should only travel in your car with people from your household."
Dr Clark breached the guidance.
Why did the article fudge this? There is one place and one place only to check. Stop the rumour mill. Check the facts. The story is clear, it does not need embellished by someone saying something.

There are adverts paid for from Dr Clark's budget that make this even clearer.

Focus on the story. The story is not that he was called out for this. It is that he breached guidelines. 105 him.

The Prime Minister has stated we can drive short distances in our basic neighbourhood area to exercise eg to beach or tracks. The only condition is we must be within range to WALK HOME or get home without needing assistance or rescue.

David Clark was in his neighbourhood and could walk home from where his car was parked.

Let people exercise and be in nature in their basic neighbourhoods without bringing out the pitchforks!!

Where is the guy monitoring traffic in Waldronville when you really need him? Who isn't taking the lockdown seriously?

This is gold that he was called out well done to that person, what a total nineties type. More evidence that shows just because you have a degree doesn't make you any smarter, but in this case on so so many levels less intelligent. This just shows how arrogant he is 'Clark said the bike track was "not challenging" ' - the most challenging thing for Clark would be tying his shoe laces

and if he'd had an accident how many people would have been involved in his rescue, and been taken away from the front-line?

In his position in government he's supposed to lead by example, some hope! Is his middle name Trump!

At the next election we should all be reminded of his selfish stupidity.

Ok...I'll bite. Whats Trump got to do with it? Maybe, something like: "Given his actions, you might think he's running the airport" would be more succinct. People in Dunedin would understand that better don't you think?

Why should I follow the rules if the Health Minister doesn't? Do the lockdown rules not apply to the political class? Only the vast minions have to follow the rules? Where is Mayor Boult on this? How come Boult isn't calling Clarke an idiot?

I was on my porch in Signal Hill monitoring traffic yesterday as I normally do. I want to state for the record, unequivocally, I did not see a Toyota Hiace van, emblazoned with David Clark's face did not pass by twice enroute to/from the Big Easy bike track. That said, I did see 4 Holden's, 2 Subaru's and 1 donkey all presumably from Waldronville.

Please set the standard David and lead by example.

Likely dobbed in by someone who doesn't know where he lives.
Signal Hill is local to Opoho, I really don't see the problem here.

1. Driving for non-essential purposes as specifically banned on the government's own Covid19 webpage . 2. Mountain biking when citizens have specifically been told not to. 3. who drives 2km to a mountain bike track he could have ridden the distance in 6 minutes going around the "safe" way through the cemetery.

Holing a position that requires you to be a leader means acting like one. That means you don't ask the troops to make sacrifices that you are not willing to make yourself. Lead by example Dr. Clarke or risk having that leadership role severely compromised. And some mea culpa wouldn't go amiss either.

This says everything about this inept minister. So far he has shown he is out of his depth in every respect now he shows he can't even follow his own governments guidelines. Sack him.

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