Ministerial duties done digitally from Dunedin bubble

Health Minister David Clark works from his Dunedin home during the Covid-19 lockdown. Photo:...
Health Minister David Clark works from his Dunedin home during the Covid-19 lockdown. Photo: Supplied
Almost every New Zealander is now living inside their bubble, and Health Minister David Clark is no exception.

Dr Clark took part in a special Covid-19 Cabinet meeting from his North Dunedin home yesterday, liaising with health officials across New Zealand as the nationwide lockdown continued.

The full Cabinet "meets" today, through online tools and telephone lines.

Most Cabinet ministers were now working from home, the Government having decided they should be based in the communities they represent, Dr Clark said.

"I’m working remotely, mostly by teleconference and the phone is just about permanently to my ear.

"We’re lucky that we live in the digital age, with tools like Skype and Zoom and so on, that we can work effectively.

"We are fortunate in Dunedin to have good fibre connections and an understanding of how these things work.

"This would have been a lot more difficult to run remotely even just five years ago."

It is just 90 days since the novel coronavirus was officially named Covid-19 and a month since New Zealand recorded its first case of the deadly disease.

"It continues to be full-on, which is what you would expect in a situation like this," Dr Clark said.

"We are trying to roll things out that we expected and planned for, as well as reacting to reports of things that aren’t going so well.

"All things considered, given how fast this situation has moved, most people seem to have accepted what needs to be done, and I am incredibly impressed with how the health workforce has pitched in, in the way that they do when there are challenging circumstances."

Dr Clark said all predictions were that the number of cases would continue to rise.

"We have to make sure that every New Zealander understands the important role that we are asking them to play," he said.

"We are asking everyone to pull together and to take seriously the responsibility we have, to keep ourselves and others safe."

He was pleased with the way in which almost all New Zealanders had embraced the need for Level 4 restrictions.

"We are all in this together and we all have one job, to halt the community transmission of Covid-19."

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