Labour MP David Clark has stepped down as Health Minister.

The embattled MP for Dunedin North said he had become a “distraction” and that the “time is right” for someone else to fill the role, but he will stand as an MP in the upcoming election.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a statement Dr Clark contacted her on Wednesday to “confirm his wish to resign as a minister” and that she had accepted his resignation.

The Prime Minister has appointed Labour MP Chris Hipkins as Health Minister until the election. Hipkins is currently the Minister of Education.

“Our response to COVID is on a stable footing and I have full confidence that minister Hipkins will oversee the portfolio with the thoroughness and diligence he brings to his other areas of responsibility,” Ardern said.

Dr Clark offered his resignation during the level 4 lockdown in response to breaking the rules. The Prime Minister said at the time she would have accepted his resignation under normal circumstances but she did not want any distractions.

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