Coronavirus: Chris Hipkins explains how Pakuranga College got wrongly named in Friday's COVID-19 briefing

Chris Hipkins has explained just how an Auckland school with no confirmed cases of COVID-19 ended up being named during Friday's daily pandemic briefing. 

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said one of the 13 new cases reported that day was linked to Pakuranga College, which took the school by surprise.

The Ministry of Health later said there was a "causal link", not a confirmed case, and no one at the school was at risk. 

 "Surely they fact check things before they give it to Dr Ashley Bloomfield to read on national TV," principal Michael Williams told Newshub. 

"How can we trust them when they're clearly not fact-checking things properly? I haven't really had a decent explanation for it."

Hipkins delivered that explanation during an appearance on Newshub Nation on Saturday.

"That wasn't an issue with contact tracing - that was an issue with the preparation for the media briefing, and incorrect information was included in that," he told host Simon Shepherd.

"Ultimately, I think the Director-General and his team were given wrong speech notes for that, and that's very unfortunate."

He didn't explain how the speech notes were wrong in the first place.

"Obviously we'll look to tighten that process up as much as we can. That could easily have happened to me as well, so we're tightening up that process around preparation for those media briefings... When we release information at one o'clock, it's got to be absolutely rigid and robust."

Ashley Bloomfield and Chris Hipkins.
Ashley Bloomfield and Chris Hipkins. Photo credit: Getty

Hipkins has in the past 24 hours called the 1pm daily briefing the "authoritative source of truth", urging people to ignore rumours and speculation

"As soon as there's a positive case we start the contact-tracing process which means that news will spread within a local community about that positive case," Hipkins said after being asked about new revelations of a case at the University of Auckland, reported by the university late on Friday night but as of the interview, yet to be publicly acknowledged by him or Dr Bloomfield. 

"We're not speaking about each individual case publicly until one o'clock each day because as soon as we do speak about them, we want to be able to answer all of the questions around them.

"Local communities will know, but there's also a lot of rumours around out there as well... We've spent quite a lot of time dampening down rumours about positive results in Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown, and so on. So my message to everybody - the authoritative message - is at one o'clock every day."