Another Lame Excuse from a Government that Can’t Deliver

David Clark, the Minister of Health, has come under fire this week for his poor performance.

“Association of Salaried Medical Specialists executive director Ian Powell accused Health Minister Dr David Clark of a “rambling, confused or nonsensical” leadership.

Powell, a veteran of the senior doctors’ union of 30 years who is retiring at the end of this year, slated Clark over missed opportunities, district health board deficits, “union-busting” and specialist doctor workforce shortages.

On the severe public hospital shortages, he said about 50 per cent of specialists were suffering high levels of burnout.

“… it is a political crime that the Government and Minister of Health have turned a blind eye to this travesty, displaying a callous disregard to the rights of patients and their whanau and to the wellbeing of the workforce.”

The shortages meant specialists were unable to undertake duties such as quality assurance, supervision and mentoring, education and training, and their own professional development.

It also meant inadequate time for patient-centred care.”

Otago Daily Times

And Clark’s response?

“[…] the Government “inherited a series of workforce issues that will take time to address “.

Not enough time aye? Add this lame excuse to the other lame excuses of not chucking enough money or ministers at a problem.

The government’s most spectacular failure to date is their promised affordable housing. 

Twyford’s excuse over a year ago for the building delay was “a lack of liquidity in the housing market”. So why did the government promise affordable housing without first putting funding in place? Promise first and worry about it later seems to be their careless modus operandi.

A year later Ardern offered up her own excuses for the ongoing lack of affordable housing:

We’ve been very open that we’re not on track at the moment. We’ve completed over 200 if I recall correctly, the last numbers I’ve seen.

[…] “This is why we’re doing a reset, it hasn’t met our expectations.”


Ardern’s reset was to demote Twyford and bring four more ministers into the housing portfolio headed by Megan Woods, who is clearly uncomfortable facing tough questions in the house from Judith Collins. Good luck with the strategy of chucking more money and ministers at this seemingly insurmountable problem.

Ardern’s attempts to wallpaper over the cracks between her promises and what is actually delivered have failed. No one is convinced. On her promise to reduce child poverty she rolled out this excuse. 

“In our first 100 days we put in place a more than $5 billion package to try and lift people out of poverty in New Zealand, that included a universal child payment that focused on children in the early critical years.”

“Increases to the family tax credit, the winter energy payment and in the last budget we also indexed benefits to wage increases.

“All I can say is we are holding ourselves to account by not only putting in place the goals to say what difference to children it will make,” Ms Ardern says.


Ardern’s explanation doesn’t make sense and her promise of self-accountability came after saying the public should hold the government accountable. Was this double-speak meaning that ‘the public won’t have to hold them accountable because they will do that themselves’?

Putting goals in place is meaningless if you cannot achieve them.

The number of children living in poverty has been decreasing steadily since 2015, but rose in the year 2017 to June 2018, according to Stats NZ data.

The data shows that after New Zealand families pay rent, mortgage and bills, 254,000 children are left living in poverty – an increase of 0.4 percent in the last year.

In addition, 183,000 of children are living in poverty before household bills are deducted – an increase of 2.3 percent – while 148,000 children live in a household experiencing “material hardship”.


Unsurprisingly business confidence has dropped and until the government addresses the disparity between promising and delivering we can expect it to worsen.