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Ardern admits she 'made a mistake' with group photo
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday admitted she "made a mistake" when she took a selfie with supporters without appropriate social distancing.
Neither Ardern nor any of the supporters in the photo taken in Palmerston North last week were wearing a mask, reports The New Zealand Herald newspaper.
"In that particular photo I made a mistake," Ardern said, adding that said she "worked hard" not to shake hands and keep her distance.
"Yes I should have moved further forwards and I should have asked them to step apart as well."
"It is hard," she said. "I will keep up, as I have, those awkward moments where I refuse to shake hands."
Ardern's comments came after Judith Collins, leader of the main opposition National party, told the media on Monday morning: "I was staggered to see the Prime Minister clearly not socially distancing with no mask."
Ardern "didn't look very worried about a whole group of people around her and selfies going on", Collins said.
"Clearly she has no concern about it," the opposition leader added.
Besides Collins, other politicians have also slammed the Prime Minister over the photo, The new Zealand Herald reported.
Act leader David Seymour went as far as questioning if Ardern was really part of the team of five million after she "clearly flouted the rules she has asked us to live by".
"Hospitality businesses are going broke at alert level 2 because of a single server and social distance rules.
"Meanwhile, the person responsible for the rules is breaking them – small business owners will be angry," he added.
New Zealand has so far reported a total of 1,815 coronavirus cases, with 25 deaths.