The Health Minister doesn't deserve to be fired.
But he should be fired.
Let's be clear about the rule he's broken.
Last week, retired Police Commissioner Mike Bush was asked whether someone could "go for a drive, say to the local beach or… a local park?" and replied "There's a short answer to that – no."
David Clark doesn't deserve to be fired for breaking that rule, because the rule is arbitrary. Really, what is the difference between David Clark driving 2.3km to the park or biking 2.3km to the park? No one was hurt because he got in his car. He didn't break his bubble.
But… what he deserves is different to what should happen.
The Prime Minister should fire him.
If she wants the rest of us to take these rules seriously for the next three weeks, she's going to have to set an example.
Because right now, what she's telling the public is that nothing much happens if the rules aren't followed. He's apologised, she's accepted it and everyone's expected to move on.
Is that how seriously we're taking this lockdown?
If someone decides to break a rule of their choosing this weekend, is that also going to be okay?
That's the problem with what David Clark's done.
Every example of people getting away with breaking rules – arbitrary as those rules might be - undermines the compliance by the rest of us.
Who wants to be the chump sacrificing contact with friends and trips to the beach for four weeks, when we constantly hear about rule-breaking like the Wanaka bridge jumpers yesterday or the Dunedin surfers or the group of Auckland mums going for a walk together?
I could give you a bunch of reasons why it's in the best interests of the PM to sack her Health Minister. It'll show she does have some standards in her cabinet. It'll show she does have some of the strength required to fire someone. And, quite frankly, David Clark seems irrelevant. The fact that he's in Dunedin when the country's response to the biggest health crisis in 102 years is being run out of Wellington tells you everything.
I can give you any number of reasons why she should fire him, but you only need one.
Does the prime minister want the rest of us to follow the rules or not?
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