Former Prime Minister Sir John Key praises Jacinda Ardern's 'faultless' COVID-19 communication

Former Prime Minister Sir John Key has praised Jacinda Ardern's communication skills amid the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

"I think she's an outstanding communicator," Key told MagicTalk host Ryan Bridge on Friday.

"Whatever you think of her decisions, she communicates really clearly and really well."

He said her address to the nation on Saturday announcing the alert levels for the coronavirus pandemic was "faultless".

Ardern's address to the nation informed Kiwis about the four alert levels the Government was introducing to prepare people for the pandemic. On Wednesday the alert level was raised to four - a near-complete lockdown of the entire country. 

Before the lockdown was announced, Ardern had made other huge decisions to keep the country safe. 

On Thursday last week New Zealand's borders were closed to all foreign arrivals. 

Sir John acknowledged she has been criticised for this, with people saying it came too late.

"I know from being in that job that while maybe one person's perspective, you have to weigh up a lot of different things," he said.

"So to say close the border like she did, on one hand that will save lives but that's an immediate recession which affects the most vulnerable who are the least equipped to deal with it.

"Those are big calls for a Prime Minister and I don't wanna say it's lonely, but the buck stops with the person at the top," he said. 

The former Prime Minister also said he was glad to see Ardern being tough on rule breakers.

"I do think you'll see quite high levels of anger over time when people start flouting the rules and I think 'good on Jacinda' when I see her telling people off for that," he said.

He refused to criticise Ardern saying that not only would it be unjustified, but it's not what the country needs. 

"This is a time we all have to pull together on this. This isn't a political issue -  it's a catastrophic health emergency that the whole world is facing."