Health Minister David Clark has narrowly avoided being sacked after taking a 20km trip to a beach, amid the coronavirus lockdown.
Clark, in a statement issued early on Tuesday morning, said he had informed the prime minister of his breach of the lockdown and offered his resignation.
He said on the first weekend of the lockdown he travelled about 20km from his home to Doctor's Point Beach for a walk with his family.
What would it take for Clark to lose his job? Does he have to start coughing on people in supermarkets or stand in the Octagon offering free hugs?
It is obvious that he doesn't have the judgment to remain Minister of Health, or in fact a Minister. You could argue about whether his mountain biking trip was a breach of the rules but there is no doubt a 20 km drive to the beach is.
Instead, he would be stripped of his associate finance minister portfolio and be demoted to the bottom of the Government's Cabinet rankings.
So he remains in Cabinet, on the same pay as Minister of Health. His only punishment is the number in front of his name is changed. The wettest of wet bus tickets.
And for the terminally stupid out there, what Clark did is not the same as Bridges driving to Wellington for work. It is inane to suggest the Leader of the Opposition should be running the Opposition from his home via Zoom. Does anyone think the PM should be running the Government from her house in Mt Albert?
The only check on the Government's vast powers at the moment is the committee chaired by the Leader of the Opposition. His job is not just chairing the public meetings but preparing for it – deciding the agenda, who to invite to appear, preparing questions. This involves meeting with key staff (within your bubble) etc, just as the PM does also.
Plus his wider role as Opposition Leader to hold the Government to account. To suggest the Opposition Leader should not be where the press gallery are, is saying the Opposition should effectively be inaccessible to the media.
Anyway back to Clark, if by his own words he has been an idiot, why would we want an idiot as Minister of Health during a global pandemic?