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New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has demoted the country’s health minister for breaching nationwide lockdown rules but rejected his offer to resign because it could jeopardise plans to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Health Minister David Clark drove his family to the beach in the early stages of a lockdown that started in late March.

“Under normal conditions, I would sack the minister of health. What he did was wrong and there are no excuses,” Ardern said in Wellington.

Instead, she demoted Clark to the bottom of cabinet rankings and stripped him of his role as associate finance minister.

“I expect better and so does New Zealand,” she said.

Clark said in a statement that he had been “an idiot”.

Al Jazeera News

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