COMMENT

Why, if the Prime Minister backs her Health Minister, has he been shunted sideways? Why is Housing Minister Megan Woods now running the show?

If you back Clark, and you value his contribution, and you won't sack him, then why aren't you still using him?

Why is he being kept on the taxpayers' teat on a cushy salary to shuffle paper? What is it he's actually doing now? Has he gone for a long bike ride in the forest? Is he at the beach?

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He told reporters yesterday that he believed anyone with a cold or flu symptom or even a sniffle should be tested for Covid-19.

That was later criticised by medical experts, who said that would be pointless, given the increasing number of low-level respiratory infections currently circulating the community.

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Housing Minister Megan Woods is taking on the ministerial oversight of border isolation and quarantine operations.

They also said it would divert medical staff and resources away from usual care.

In short, thanks David, but no thanks.

So if this minister is no longer running this department, why is he still there?

And if not him, what about his second-in-charge? Well, his Associate Health Minister is Julie Anne Genter, so, go figure.

What I'm saying is, it's a stretch for the Government to argue against criticism they're a shallow puddle of talent with no depth. Because when trouble strikes, when the Health Minister gets tossed aside (though still having the PM vouch for him – more words not matching actions) his associate is MIA as well.

So the out-take is, a big job like health has been assigned to two people who apparently can't manage it.

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An entire portfolio, now not governed by the people tasked with running it.

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And instead we've added to the workload of the person who already has housing, Christchurch regeneration, research science and innovation, energy and resources. Is that not enough on her plate?

What is the over arching message here? That the Labour party is so bereft of talent that if you are relatively good at something, you'll be handed everything.

Opposition leader Todd Muller – who, thank the lord, has sprung to life over this – claims the Prime Minister has actually "been running the health portfolio and every aspect of the Covid response", and that the Government is now covering for "a weak minister".

He said Clark should be sacked. I actually think what's happened to Clark is worse than getting sacked.

Getting sacked would at least have some finality about it, this is a painful, drawn-out, humiliating sideways shove.

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Kate Hawkesby. Photo / Michael Craig
Kate Hawkesby. Photo / Michael Craig

But you can't do that and, in the same breath, claim you still support your minister and he's done a good job.

It's one or other. Words not matching actions is something this leadership grapples with.

We don't need to put a microscope up to this Ministry of Health mess to know that the rotating ferris wheel of people running it, looks shabby.

And what it really shows, is that the PM has no confidence in her minister.