Coronavirus: Health Minister's bike ride shows how confusing lockdown rules are - Judith Collins

Health Minister David Clark's controversial bike ride shows just how confusing the lockdown rules are, according to National MP Judith Collins.

Dr Clark on Thursday drove 2.3km from his Dunedin house, in a van with his own face on the side, to a mountain bike trail.

"This was my only chance to get out for some exercise in daylight hours," he said in a statement after a member of the public sent a photo of the van to media. "This is a reminder to me to think carefully about how best to fit some exercise into my new-normal routine."

The Government has urged Kiwis to avoid non-essential travel. The official Government COVID-19 website says you can leave home to "access essential services", go to work "if you work for an essential service" and "go for a walk, or exercise and enjoy nature". 

It doesn't place limits on how far you can travel, however.

"I think it is actually evidence of just how confusing all these so-called rules that seem to be being made on the hoof are," Collins told The AM Show on Friday.

"We've got the police wandering around beaches telling people to get off beaches - God knows why, when they're about 100m between each other. Then we have people coming into the country and not going into quarantine... that, I think, is what the problem is here. 

"David Clark has dropped the ball in quite a serious way, not because so much he is an MP or a minister, but because he's the Minister of Health. I feel a great deal of sympathy for David Clark because I know he's a nice chap, and as a doctor of theology... he can certainly pray for himself." 

Labour MP Willie Jackson said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had spoken to Dr Clark about it.

"She's tough and she would have said you know, 'That's not a good look.' David would have agreed with her... We're sorry too because we have high expectations... I'm sure it's not going to happen again." 

"He's under a lot of pressure. I think he knows he probably let the team down... We've all got responsibilities and Clarky probably let his guard down for a while. I know the boss was talking to him last night and I know he's sorry. 

"People make mistakes. We take this seriously. I think he's apologised and we've sort of moved on now. He's doing such a good job for the country working with everyone. A bit of a mistake, and we can all make them."

David Clark.
David Clark. Photo credit: Newshub

If people stay local, they minimise the chances of accidentally spreading the disease to another suburb which doesn't have it, or picking it up and bringing it home.

So far New Zealand has recorded one death from COVID-19, out of more than 51,000 worldwide.