Chris Hipkins defends Dr Ashley Bloomfield over Judith Collins' 'one-trick pony' comments

Chris Hipkins has defended Dr Ashley Bloomfield after Judith Collins dubbed the Director-General of Health a "one-trick pony" who's "good at standing up and talking about COVID". 

The National leader made the comments on Monday after Dr Bloomfield admitted he forgot about discussing the transfer of an ill United Nations worker from COVID-ravaged Fiji to New Zealand with Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) officials. 

"I never like to criticise public servants because it's very hard for them to fight back," Collins said about Dr Bloomfield. "But he's quite clearly drunk the kool-aid and we can see it with some of the things that have gone on."

Collins told Magic Talk he's only good for speaking about the COVID-19 pandemic.

"In my opinion, having been a minister dealing with chief executives, this guy is good at standing up and talking about COVID. I just think that Ashley Bloomfield is probably a one-trick pony."

During Wednesday's COVID-19 update Dr Bloomfield was asked if he considered himself to be a "one-trick pony".

He replied "no", and COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins agreed.

"I'll make a comment on that," he said. 

"If one trick is keeping New Zealand safe from a global pandemic which has wreaked havoc around the rest of the world, I think New Zealanders can be very proud of the record of Dr Bloonfield and his team. 

"I think we have been incredibly well served by our health professionals in New Zealand during the global pandemic. It has been incredibly challenging, it has been uncertain. 

"They have had to evolve and adapt as the facts have continued to change. They have continued to provide reassurance to New Zealanders when New Zealanders needed reassurance and I want to reiterate this again - our health system has managed to do everything it would normally do despite the pandemic and we are one of the few countries that can make that claim.

"I think Dr Bloomfield has served us very well and I think his whole team has as well."

Health Minister Andrew Little told Newshub Nation on Saturday it was a fast-moving situation and he retains confidence in the Director-General.

"Ashley is dealing with a lot of issues all the time. I have immense respect for him - I think he is doing a terrific job with a ministry that is being pulled all over the place to do a whole heap of things."