Due to the global coronavirus pandemic, several parts of the world are under lockdown where people are only allowed to step outside of their homes to buy essential groceries and medicines. New Zealand has further allowed citizens to exercise outside once a day in their local area but a distressing incident has come to light where undue advantage was taken of this liberty.
According to NDTV, Health Minister David Clark went mountain biking and drove his family to a beach 20 km away from his residence violating lockdown protocols.
New Zealand Health Minister David Clark broke the country’s lockdown by driving his family to the beach. He admits the 20km drive was a breach of the lockdown. He offered to resign, but kept his job due to the coronavirus pandemic. He will, however, be demoted in cabinet rankings pic.twitter.com/9X1UJolkCT
— BFM News (@NewsBFM) April 7, 2020
The Guardian quoted him admitting his mistake by saying, “At a time when we are asking New Zealanders to make historic sacrifices I’ve let the team down. I’ve been an idiot, and I understand why people will be angry with me. As the health minister, it’s my responsibility to not only follow the rules but set an example to other New Zealanders … I’ve apologized to the prime minister for my lack of judgement and offered her my resignation.”
Are you in training for the Commonwealth Games? Duncan Garner asks demoted, outdoors man NZ Health Minister David Clark. pic.twitter.com/oVxksZf4fQ
— Mark Thomas (@MarkThomasNZ) April 6, 2020
NZ Herald quoted Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying, “Under normal conditions, I would sack the Minister of Health. What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses. But right now, my priority is our collective fight against COVID-19. We cannot afford a massive disruption in the health sector or to our response. For that reason, and that reason alone, Dr. Clark will maintain his role.”
“While he maintains his Health portfolio, I am stripping him of his role as Associate Finance Minister and demoting him to the bottom of our Cabinet rankings. I expect better, and so does New Zealand.”
This is unacceptable not only because it breaks rules but also due to the fact that such actions undo all the efforts of others who are staying indoors. Lockdowns will prove to be beneficial only if ALL of us follow it to the T.