Jacinda Ardern admits group selfie was a mistake

Anna Whyte
Source: 1News

"I did make a mistake," Labour leader Jacinda Ardern admitted today after not social distancing while taking a selfie with students at Massey University. 

Ardern was in Palmerston North last week to announce lower North Island infrastructure election promises where she was photographed close to a number of people. 

Auckland University microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles told TVNZ1's Breakfast it was frustrating to see the photo, alongside the lack of mask wearing. 

Ardern said she works "really hard" to avoid shaking peoples' hands, to sanitise regularly and to keep socially distant.

"I did make a mistake," she acknowledged today.

"I should have moved further forward and asked them to step away from each other as well."

She said having different layers of protection from virus spread was important because "often there will be sometimes be mistakes". 

On if she would change her campaign events in accordance of alert level changes, with Auckland going to full Alert Level 2 on Wednesday night and the rest of New Zealand to 1 tonight, Ardern said it would not. 

"None of our decision making is based on politics or campaigning, they have to be made on safety."

Ardern said she would continue to avoid shaking hands and would ensure she kept distance. 

Earlier today, National leader Judith Collins was asked her thought on possible alert level changes. 

"I don't have the health advice that (Ardern) gets. But I know this, she did not look very worried about a whole group of people around her with selfies going around."

ACT's David Seymour also had a swipe, accusing Ardern's lack of social distancing in the photo showing her to be "clearly unconcerned about the prospect of Covid-19 transmission".