Ecstatic David Clark celebrates new Govt

An ecstatic David Clark has shared a video from the steps of Parliament as he joins in celebrating Jacinda Ardern being sworn in as Prime Minister.

The Labour MP for Dunedin was one of hundreds celebrating after the new Government was officially sworn in this morning.

"Jacinda's promised that she will lead a Government that is of the people and for the people and there is a mood of jubilation and celebration as people welcome the new Government into Parliament.

"I'm very proud to be here, honoured to be given the role of Health Minister and very much looking forward to be representing Dunedin North in Parliament again too," Dr Clark said in the video

Dr Clark will be part of the new Government's first Cabinet meeting at 3pm today.

Dr Clark  told the Otago Daily Times yesterday his first task as Health Minister would be to repair damaged relationships in the sector.

He was confirmed in the role yesterday when prime minister-designate Jacinda Ardern revealed her Cabinet and executive.

They were sworn in at a ceremony at Government House this morning.

Dr Clark spoke cautiously yesterday, saying the job was ''equal measure daunting and exciting''.

''I won't be making wholesale changes to the sector until I'm clear on what needs to happen in that regard.

''It has been a very difficult period with a National Government that hasn't enjoyed a good relationship with the health sector.''

Dr Clark has been a persistent critic of the Dunedin Hospital rebuild, and Labour has promised to speed up the project considerably.

He said yesterday he needed a full briefing on the project before doing anything.

The rebuild and troubled Southern District Health Board are among many challenges facing Dr Clark.

Other Labour promises include reviewing mental health and key health funding models, improving access to GPs, and sorting out the ''parlous'' management culture in the Ministry of Health.

Bad relationships between health boards and the ministry were a key concern.

''There is a real opportunity because so many people in the sector want it to succeed and are frustrated with the position health is currently in.''

He will hold a big health summit early next year to bring the sector together.

''I'm imagining a health summit that captures views across New Zealand and talks to people at the coal-face as well as sector leaders.''

He did not fear National scoring points in health.

''I think they would be pretty brave to point the finger at an incoming government after their own track record over the last nine years.''

Dr Clark, who was also named associate finance minister, would be assisted in the health portfolio by associate ministers Julie Anne Genter, of the Green Party, and Labour colleague Jenny Salesa.

Senior doctors' union executive director Ian Powell was pleased with Dr Clark's appointment.

''He has already shown a good grasp of the portfolio while an Opposition MP and we have high hopes that he will be willing to tackle the challenges facing public health.

''These include years of significant under-resourcing of public hospitals, long-standing shortages of senior medical specialists, a high level of unmet need in our communities, and disruptive privatisation moves,'' Mr Powell said.

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