New Zealand’s health minister described himself as an “idiot” on Tuesday for violating lockdown restrictions, but continued to carry out his work in coordinating COVID-19 South Pacific nations’ responses.
Health Secretary David Clark said he offered his resignation to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after revealing that he had traveled 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) to the beach with his family.
Clark acknowledged that the trip was a clear violation of the country’s strict locking rules, where families had to live close to home, and his position meant he should be an example.
“When we asked New Zealanders to make a historic sacrifice, I disappointed the team,” he said in a statement.
“I have become an idiot and I understand why people will be angry with me.”
Clark also said he was on a short two-kilometer trip with his family, which he said was according to rules.
Ardern said that under normal circumstances, he would sack Clark – but instead, he stripped of the role of the junior finance minister and linked him to cabinet rankings.
“What he did was wrong, and there is no reason,” he said.
“But now, my priority is our collective struggle against COVID-19. We cannot do massive disruption in the health sector or our response. For that reason, and that reason alone, Dr. Clark will maintain his role. “
Scotland’s chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood resigned on Sunday for breaking the rules after twice visiting her second home, despite facing an advertising campaign asking Scottish citizens to stay at home.
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