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Health Minister David Clark going on holiday while nurses went on well-signalled strikes around New Zealand is the latest example of a Government failing to front up to New Zealanders.

“This is the first time in a generation there has been a nationwide nurse’s strike. New Zealanders are missing out on important health services while the nurses try and get an acceptable deal across the line, after the Government raised expectations around pay rises so significantly.

“But the Health Minister is MIA. At a time of one of the most serious disruptions in recent memory to healthcare in New Zealand he’s on holiday and leaving others to deal with the mess he’s helped create.

“This continues a concerning pattern of behaviour from a Government which is consistently failing to front up, to tackle the hard issues and to lead.

“Instead of making decisions it’s setup 134 working groups and reviews.

“Instead of telling the people of Taranaki that the Government was axing oil and gas exploration, the Prime Minister did it from Wellington then went overseas and still hasn’t held any public meetings in Taranaki to allow the people directly affected to share their views.

“The Prime Minister and Education Minister has failed to visit a single partnership school in spite of her Government’s callous decision to shut them down.

“And Statistics Minister James Shaw was also in the Pacific while the Census was conducted, in spite of serious concerns which have proven founded, with 400,000 New Zealanders left uncounted meaning serious flow on effects to everything from funding for hospitals and schools to electoral boundaries.

“And the Government is reducing its accountability by axing public sector targets meaning it won’t be held accountable for the quality of the services it delivers to New Zealanders.

“All of this shows a lack of courage and a lack of leadership and New Zealanders deserve better.

“National believes in accountability, it believes in fronting up and it believes governments should lead in the interests of New Zealanders.”

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