New Zealand health minister resigns
Published: 12:28 PM, 2 July 2020
Health minister of New Zealand David Clark has resigned after criticism of the government's response to coronavirus and his own breaches of lockdown rules.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed on Thursday that she had accepted his resignation, reported news agency BBC.
David Clark had already been demoted after breaking rules to take his family to the beach.
He said continuing in his role was distracting from the government's overall response to the pandemic.
New Zealand has been hailed as a success story when it comes to tackling the coronavirus. The country has recorded 1,528 confirmed or probable coronavirus cases and 22 people have died. Last month, all COVID-19 restrictions were lifted and the nation was declared virus-free.
However, the country's handling of border and isolation facilities has recently come under fire. In one case, two people were allowed to leave isolation early to visit a dying parent without being tested for the virus. They were later confirmed to have COVID-19.
"I take full responsibility for decisions made and taken during my time as Minister of Health," Mr Clark said.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins will take charge of the health department until the country's election in September.