New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, apologized on Monday after being photographed with supporters at a work site while not wearing a mask to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The New Zealand Herald reported that Ardern said she “made a mistake” after facing criticism from the leader of a rival political party over the photo, which depicts Ardern alongside several construction workers at a job site, none of whom are wearing masks.
PM Jacinda Ardern admits she ‘made a mistake’ with group photohttps://t.co/zGGKmLZoM2 pic.twitter.com/SoCjrzSIft
— Newstalk ZB (@NewstalkZB) September 21, 2020
“In that particular photo, I made a mistake,” Ardern told reporters, according to the Herald. “Yes, I should have moved further forwards and I should have asked them to step apart as well.”
National Party leader Judith Collins told reporters at a press conference that she was “staggered” to see Ardern maskless in the photo.
“I was staggered to see the prime minister clearly not socially distancing with no mask just the other day in Palmerston North in a level 2 lockdown,” she said.
The headlines come as New Zealand’s two parties are set to face off in October’s elections, which were delayed by a month due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ardern’s party, the Labour Party, is leading Collins’s National Party in most polls of the upcoming elections.