Labour leader Jacinda Ardern says hospital staff tried to discharge her 85-year-old grandfather last night because they were full.
Ms Ardern opened up to the audience at a Grey Power meeting in Nelson, saying that the incident had "brought home" the issue of health.
"In amongst all of the conversation we're having about the fear and the scaremongering of a change of government, do you know what brought this home to me? My grandfather was in hospital yesterday in Waikato. At 11.30pm at night they tried to discharge him. He lives an hour away from the hospital and he's 85 years old," she told the audience.
"Waikato Hospital is full, it's full, and that's the kind of choices that the people working in our system are having to make. That is not good enough and that is what this election is about, turning that around."
Ms Ardern said she didn't blame hospital staff for the issue, "but the system they are working in is deeply constrained".
Waikato Hospital executive director of services Brett Paradine has since released a statement, saying that the hospital "has been full for the last few days and the emergency department has been overloaded".
Mr Paradine said the hospital is back on track today but is "very busy".
He said the hospital's expectation is that patients are not discharged unless a clinical assessment has found that it is safe to do so and the patient has the appropriate supports in place.
"We are sorry that this experience caused concern for the family and we would be happy to talk to them and look into the circumstances around this situation."