“New Zealanders will be asking whether Jacinda Ardern is part of the team of five million after she clearly flouted the rules she has asked us to live by,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Ardern was photographed on Thursday taking a selfie with at least a dozen people in close proximity to her.

“Hospitality businesses are going broke at Alert Level 2 because of single server and social distancing rules. Meanwhile, the person responsible for the rules is breaking them. Small business owners will be incredibly angry.

“Less than three weeks ago, the Prime Minister said this:

‘Keeping in mind as well that, at level 2, very clearly, social distancing is required, and so social distancing in retail, social distancing in hospitality are all built into the rules. Mask use is not a replacement for social distancing—it must be in addition to—and this is something that health officials have been very clear on. So I wouldn’t want anyone to think if you’ve got a mask, you can then be in close proximity to strangers. We’re asking for both…

…if we have a situation where we put out those restrictions, but people continue to have large gatherings or people don’t follow social distancing, or people go to work when they’re sick, it won’t work. And it won’t work anywhere in the world, so we are placing trust in our system, but we are also placing trust in our team of 5 million.’

“We’re glad Jacinda Ardern is finally taking a balanced approach to Covid-19. But it’s a pity she’s balancing it with her re-election campaign and not the needs of small businesses.

“ACT would take a genuinely balanced approach and consider all of the health and economic considerations through our Covid-19 Response Plan.

“If we want to enhance New Zealanders’ overall wellbeing, we must get a lot smarter. A Party Vote for ACT is a vote to tackle COVID-19 intelligently.”