COMMENT:

It's not just a bit rich to expect us to swallow that David Clark stepped down as Health Minister because it was distracting the Government's fight against Covid-19.

It's rich because if we are as naive to accept it we would have to accept that Clark's role in the fight against Covid counted for nothing. The Prime Minister's been banging on for weeks how he's integral to the fight against the virus, how he's going nowhere, his position as Health Minister was assured.

Jacinda Ardern's now telling us Clark took one for the team which we are meant to assume it's for her team of five million, if Covid's the real reason for the distraction of him staying in the job was causing.

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Clark did take one for the team, the Labour Party team, fighting to win the upcoming election.

Ardern tells us she sat down with her minister last week to discuss matters and he by some miraculous discovery realised he was indeed a distraction and decided, entirely on his own volition, to call it a day. Believe that and you'd believe that Winston Peters is about to enter a seminary.

Truth is Clark was leaned on, not by Ardern or her living room Cabinet in the Beehive. He was leaned on by older, wiser heads in the party and his mate, the man who succeeded him, Chris Hipkins, was leaned on to give him the hard word.

Remember this.

After he took his family to the beach and went mountain biking during lock down level 4, Ardern talked tough saying under normal circumstances she would have fired him because what he did was wrong.

PM Jacinda Ardern said last week she "had discussions" with David Clark and how the primary focus should be the Government's response to Covid-19. Clark tendered his resignation to Ardern yesterday which was accepted.

But given all the work he'd done behind the scenes on fighting Covid and given that it was her priority she said she couldn't afford the massive disruption to the health sector his sacking would have.

She would have us believe he saw sense and unselfishly took one for the team in the continuing fight. If she truly believed he was essential to the Covid cause surely she would surely then have persuaded him to stay on the job.

Truth is his continuing presence in the role, and his throwing the Covid cupid Ashley Bloomfield under the bus last week saw Labour's private polling support beginning to drain. They want more of Ardern and less of Clark, so the PM's again stepped up to control the airwaves with her briefings, constantly reminding us to do what the party's done with Clark, she's washed her hands.

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It's a pity she couldn't have taken some leadership when it was obviously required, but then an act of such unkindness is beyond her.