Coronavirus: Prime Minister told David Clark's house move took place prior to lockdown

Jacinda Ardern says she believes Health Minister Dr David Clark moved house before the country went into alert level 4 and had not breached lockdown rules a third time.

On Tuesday Newshub revealed Dr Clark had continued moving house during alert level 4, shifting boxes when the rest of the country was told they were not allowed to.

But a spokesperson for the Prime Minister said based on what the Health Minister has advised her he moved house prior to lockdown, and based on his description of events had not breached the rules of lockdown.

Dr Clark's new house was just down the road from where he used to live, and though most of the moving - including shifting his family and hiring a moving truck for heavy furniture - took place before the country went into lockdown, Dr Clark continued to move some boxes after the alert level was raised.

The Health Minister's office told Newshub he was using the old place as an office, so he would shift some things when he returned home. 

The incident comes after two previous breaches of lockdown rules by Dr Clark - the first when he was spotted going mountain biking and the second when he admitted driving to a beach with his family.

The Health Minister offered his resignation after the breaches became public, though the Prime Minister refused to accept it, saying Dr Clark's skills were necessary during the pandemic.

"Under normal conditions I would sack the Minister of Health. What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses," Ardern said at the time.

"But right now, my priority is our collective fight against COVID-19. We cannot afford massive disruption in the health sector or to our response. For that reason, and that reason alone, Dr Clark will maintain his role.

Although he maintained his position as Health Minister, Dr Clark was stripped of his role as Associate Finance Minister and demoted to the bottom of the Cabinet rankings.