David Clark (New Zealand politician)

David Scott Clark (born 5 January 1973) is a New Zealand Labour Party politician who is the Member of Parliament for Dunedin North. He is the Minister for Health.[3] Previously he has been Opposition Spokesperson for Small Business and Economic Development.[4]

David Clark

David Clark sawyers bay.jpg
40th Minister of Health
Assumed office
26 October 2017
Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern
Preceded byJonathan Coleman
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Dunedin North
Assumed office
26 November 2011 (2011-11-26)
Preceded byPete Hodgson
Personal details
Born (1973-01-05) 5 January 1973 (age 47)
Political partyLabour Party
Alma mater
  • Treasury analyst[2]
  • Presbyterian minister[2]

Early lifeEdit

Clark grew up in Beachlands, just south of Auckland, and was schooled in Auckland.[2] He studied at Saint Kentigern College and spent his last year on a school exchange in Germany, immersing himself in the German language.[1]

In 1991, Clark moved to Dunedin to study at the University of Otago. He initially studied medicine but abandoned that in favour of pursuing degrees in theology and philosophy. Clark also studied theology and philosophy at Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen.[1][2]

Ordained in 1997, Clark is a Presbyterian minister.[3] He worked as the Assistant Minister at St Lukes Presbyterian Church in Auckland.[2] He was the celebrant at the civil union of MP Grant Robertson.[3] Clark later returned to the University of Otago and completed a PhD on the work of German/New Zealand refugee and existentialist thinker Helmut Herbert Hermann Rex. He has also worked as a Treasury analyst and the warden of Selwyn College at the University of Otago.[3][1] Before his election to Parliament, Clark served as deputy chair of the Otago Community Trust.[3]

Member of ParliamentEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
2011–2014 50th Dunedin North 49 Labour
2014–2017 51st Dunedin North 26 Labour
2017–present 52nd Dunedin North 9 Labour

Fifth National Government, 2011–2017Edit

After serving as chairman on the Labour Party Dunedin North electorate committee, Clark was selected by the Labour Party to replace the retiring Pete Hodgson in the electorate.[2] He won the seat at the 2011 election securing 12,976 votes (44.25 percent), 3489 more than his closest rival.

Clark's maiden parliamentary speech focused on his concern about rising inequality and his passion for social justice. In it, he argued that a more equal society will produce better outcomes, both socially and economically.[5][6]

During his time as revenue spokesperson, he drew attention to difficulties the dated Inland Revenue computer system was creating for the organisation, and the small amounts that multinational companies were contributing to the tax base.[7][8][9][10]

Clark shot to early prominence as the sponsor of the popular ‘Mondayising’ Bill that saw additional public holidays set aside in years when Waitangi Day and Anzac Day fall on a weekend.[11] This was the first Bill to pass against the Government in four years.[12]

Clark completed an Eisenhower Fellowship in 2013,[13] focusing much of his trip on the priority accorded to the values of fairness and freedom in New Zealand and the United States.[14]

Clark stood again in Dunedin North for the 2014 general election securing 16,315 votes (46.44 percent), 5917 more than his closest rival National List MP Michael Woodhouse, and thus increasing his majority.[15]

Coalition Government, 2017–presentEdit

David Clark was re-elected in Dunedin North during the 2017 general election, securing 21,259 votes and defeating Woodhouse by 11,754 votes.[16] Clark was elected as a Cabinet Minister by the Labour Party caucus following Labour's formation of a government with New Zealand First and the Greens.[17] He currently serves as Minister of Health and Associate Minister of Finance.[18]

In late April 2018, Clark appointed three new chairs to head Auckland's three district health boards: Pat Snedden for the Auckland District Health Board, Judy McGregor for the Waitemata District Health Board, and Vui Mark Gosche for the Counties Manukau District Health Board. These appointments replace Lester Levy, who had headed all three boards and resigned in December 2017.[19] On 30 April 2018, Clark conceded that the Government would be unable to deliver on its election promise of reducing General practitioner fees but indicated that it would be introduced in phases over time.[20][21]

On 4 May 2018, Clark announced that the Dunedin Public Hospital would be replaced by a new hospital on the site of the former Cadbury factory site and a neighbouring block that included the building occupied by Work and Income. The construction project is estimated to cost NZ$1.4 billion, would involve around a thousand workers, and is expected to be completed by 2026.[22][23]

In mid-June 2018, Clark received criticism from employees of the Counties Manukau District Health Board for allegedly trying to silence their reports of run-down buildings, asbestos, and overflowing sewage at Middlemore Hospital. Clark has denied these allegations and expressed criticism for staff communicating through the media rather than through official channels.[24][25] Clark subsequently apologized to Counties Manukau DHB chairman Rabin Rabindran for the handling of the Middlemore saga.[26] That same month, Clark defended the Government's $500 million pay offer to nurses after the national union, the New Zealand Nurses Organisation, voted to go on strike.[27]

In mid-July 2018, Clark was forced to publicly defend his decision to go on a family holiday prior to a planned national strike by the Nurses Organisation.[28] On 25 July, Clark in his capacity as Health Minister signed a NZ$173.5 pay equity agreement to pay 5,000 mental health and addiction workers more. Other co-signatories and interested parties included union representatives from the E tū and the Public Service Association as well as the Ministry of Social Development and the Accident Compensation Corporation.[29][30] In late July, he announced that the District Health Boards, Nurses Organisation, and the Ministry of Health had successfully negotiated a joint accord to ensure safe staffing levels for nurses.[31][32]

In early September 2018, Clark suspended the troubled Oracle IT project to overhaul the District Health Boards' ageing IT systems. The troubled project had cost NZ$100 million.[33] In mid-November, Clark announced that the Government had scrapped plans for a proposed third medical school in the Waikato Region on the grounds that the project would have cost billions to set up and operate.[34][35] On 19 November, he also announced that the Government would establish a NZ$20 million new health centre in the South Island town of Westport.[36]

Personal lifeEdit

Clark is married to Katrina, and they have three children. His brother, Ben, stood for Labour in the North Shore at the 2011 election, placing second behind Maggie Barry. During his university years, Clark was a competitive cyclist and has twice completed the New Zealand Ironman.[37][38]


  1. ^ a b c d e Mitchell, Rob (8 April 2018). "National Portrait: David Clark, Health Minister". The Dominion Post. Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Loughrey, David (27 September 2010). "From minister to standing for MP". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e "About me". David Clark – New Zealand Labour Party. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  4. ^ Mackenzie, Dene (26 February 2013). "Rising star David Clark promoted". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  5. ^ Clark, David (15 February 2012). "In search of a more equal society". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  6. ^ Mackenzie, Dene (15 February 2012). "MP articulates his vision of social justice". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  7. ^ "6300 caught in IRD privacy breaches". New Zealand Herald. 29 October 2013. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  8. ^ Pullar-Strecker, Tom (7 May 2012). "Glitch hits IRD website". www.stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  9. ^ Shuttleworth, Kate (29 November 2012). "Dunne must front up over IRD privacy breaches – Labour". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  10. ^ "Labour slams Government over Facebook tax loophole". 3 News. 29 November 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
  11. ^ "Editorial: Strong case to 'Mondayise' holidays". Dominion Post. 18 March 2013. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  12. ^ Shuttleworth, Kate (17 April 2013). "Mondayising bill passes its final hurdle". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  13. ^ "Labour MP awarded an Eisenhower Fellowship". Dunedin Television. 19 September 2013. Archived from the original on 21 September 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
  14. ^ Clark, David (3 June 2013). "Fairness the hallmark of our country". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
  15. ^ "Official Count Results – Dunedin North". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
  16. ^ "Dunedin North - Official Result". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  17. ^ "Who's in? Who's out?". Radio NZ. 20 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  18. ^ "Hon Dr David Clark". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  19. ^ "Health minister Dr David Clark names the three new Auckland DHB chairs". New Zealand Herald. 29 April 2018. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  20. ^ "GP fee cut: Govt needs to 'prioritise promises' - Minister". Radio New Zealand. 30 April 2018. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  21. ^ "Cuts to doctor's fees may be phased in over time". Radio New Zealand. 29 April 2018. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  22. ^ McNeilly, Hamish (4 May 2018). "Popular tourist attraction Cadbury World closing to make way for $1.4 billion Dunedin Hospital". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  23. ^ "Dunedin Hospital announcement: What you need to know". Otago Daily Times. 4 May 2018. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  24. ^ Lynch, Jenna (14 June 2018). "David Clark accused of silencing DHB staff over Middlemore". Newshub. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  25. ^ Moir, Jo (24 April 2018). "Middlemore Hospital: What really went down between health minister and Counties Manukau DHB?". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  26. ^ Bennett, Lucy (18 June 2018). "Health Minister David Clark 'said sorry' to Counties Manukau DHB chairman Rabin Rabindran over Middlemore Hospital saga, correspondence shows". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  27. ^ Small, Zane (19 June 2018). "The Govt has 'put everything on the table' for nurses' pay - Health Minister David Clark". Newshub. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  28. ^ Bennett, Lucy (13 July 2018). "Health Minister David Clark defends holiday in lead-up to nurses' strike". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  29. ^ "Health Minister David Clark signs pay equity agreement". Stuff.co.nz. 25 July 2018. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  30. ^ Bennett, Lucy (25 July 2018). "Pay equity settlement for mental health and addiction workers signed". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  31. ^ Moger, Laine (27 July 2018). "Safer staffing levels for nurses agreed, Health Minister David Clark says". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  32. ^ "DHBs, nurses reach agreement on staffing levels". New Zealand Herald. 27 July 2018. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  33. ^ Bennett, Lucy (4 September 2018). "Health Minister David Clark suspends troubled Oracle DHB IT project". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  34. ^ "Government pulls plug on Waikato rural med school". Stuff.co.nz. 15 November 2018. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  35. ^ "Plans for third medical school scrapped: Clark". Otago Daily Times. 15 November 2018. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  36. ^ Walls, Jason (19 November 2018). "Health Minister David Clark has committed $20 million for a new health centre in Westport". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  37. ^ "Athlete Tracker – IRONMAN.com | Official Site of IRONMAN, IRONMAN 70.3, 5i50, Iron Girl and IRONKIDS | Triathlon Races | Official IRONMAN Merchandise | IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii". IRONMAN.com. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
  38. ^ "Athlete Tracker – IRONMAN.com | Official Site of IRONMAN, IRONMAN 70.3, 5i50, Iron Girl and IRONKIDS | Triathlon Races | Official IRONMAN Merchandise | IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii". IRONMAN.com. Retrieved 8 September 2013.

External linksEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Pete Hodgson
Member of Parliament for Dunedin North
Political offices
Preceded by
Jonathan Coleman
Minister of Health