Coronavirus: Ministry of Health slammed by Pakuranga College principal for mistakenly naming it as affected by COVID-19

Pakuranga College's principal has slammed the Ministry of Health (MoH) after it mistakenly named the school as being affected by Auckland's COVID-19 cluster.

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield told reporters on Friday that one of New Zealand's 13 new cases of COVID-19 was linked to the college, but the school said that was the first it had heard of the case.

In a statement after the press conference, the MoH confirmed it had incorrectly named the college as an affected school and apologised.

Speaking to Newshub on Friday afternoon, principal Michael Williams said he was extremely upset by what had transpired.

"Only just very recently I've had a phone call from the Director of Education in Auckland - who said, no, we do not have a case. The MoH has just rung me to apologise."

When Williams asked the MoH how the mistake came about, he said he got a "fairly limp excuse".

Williams said he was "fairly short" with the official he spoke to.

"Surely they fact check things before they give it to Dr Ashley Bloomfield to read on national TV?

"We really want the country to trust the health department and I think in this whole community here, we haven't got much trust in them anymore.

"How can we trust them when they're clearly not fact-checking things properly?

Michael Williams.
Michael Williams. Photo credit: Google/Newshub.

"I haven't really had a decent explanation for it," Williams told Newshub.

He blamed the mistake on "incompetence" and asked: "What else isn't being done properly?"

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. Photo credit: Getty

The MoH said it apologises for putting information in the public domain without notifying the school.

"While there is a causal link, the Ministry is awaiting further test results and at this point, no additional public health action is required from the school," a ministry spokesperson said.