'Smug', 'complacent' New Zealand led to new COVID-19 outbreak - PR expert Deborah Pead

PR expert Deborah Pead says New Zealanders being "smug" and "complacent" led to another outbreak of COVID-19 in the community.

On Tuesday night it was announced four individuals from a single-family in south Auckland have tested positive for COVID-19 and they have no history of recent travel internationally.

This breaks New Zealand's 102-day streak without a case of community transmission.

"This is a casualty of us being too complacent," Pead told stand-in Magic Talk host Paula Bennett on Wednesday morning.

"I think New Zealand as a nation got a little bit smug in the way we handled it. We were congratulating ourselves on it and then we had other countries raving about how well we'd done it.

"And I think this complacency has led us to this situation where we're pretty well back where we started and we're dusting off our contingency plans once again."

The news has forced Auckland back into a level 3 lockdown, while the rest of New Zealand will enter level 2.

Last night, Pead sent a controversial tweet focusing on the financial pain this will cause her.

"Just as we were getting our business back on its feet," she wrote.

"The events and activities we have had to cancel in the next three days alone will cost us dearly. We can't keep running from this virus."

The PR expert was criticised heavily for what one called an "extraordinarily bad take".

"If PR is your game then you're not winning at it with this tweet," one commented.

"Hard to get dead bodies to attend events, even if they're comped," another said.

Pead elaborated further in her interview with Bennett, saying the uncertainty means sponsors won't commit to events and this is a "massive blow".

"When we go back from the last lockdown there was 100 percent commitment to rebuilding, 100 percent commitment to restoring the economy as well as taking care of our health. And it just feels like the latest turn of events is just a real slap in the face for business again," she told Bennett.

"I think we need to see a long-term solution. We can't just keep running back into these levels that shut businesses down. It's not sustainable. It's people's livelihoods at stake as well. The mental stress these situations create for businesses, for people losing their jobs, for people having to cut back hours again, it will take a horrific toll.

"So yes, I believe while there's a responsibility 100 percent to ensure that the country can deliver on health care and health protection, at the same time there needs to be a plan that will help businesses protect themselves."

She also returned to Twitter this morning to say we "need to consider our livelihoods as well as health protection for elderly and vulnerable".

"I can understand why my last tweet upset people and of course health comes first. I'm also concerned about the livelihoods of so many who are still reeling from first lockdown. Take care everyone."