Jacinda Ardern stands by Health Minister despite Scotland's health boss resigning for similar breaches

The Prime Minister has made it clear she will not make an example out of her Health Minister for breaking the COVID-19 lockdown rules despite Scotland's top health boss resigning for similar breaches.

Catherine Calderwood is Scotland's version of New Zealand's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield, who's become a kind of default Health Minister, leading our COVID-19 response.

Because Scotland's version didn't follow her own lockdown advice - visiting her holiday home twice - Calderwood has resigned in disgrace.

"I will not offer any justification for what I did. It was wrong," she said during a press conference.

It echoes of New Zealand Health Minister David Clark's lockdown breach, driving to a mountain bike park last week and going for a ride. 

Newshub asked Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday if Dr Clark should follow suit, and she said "no".

"He knows he needs to role model the behaviour we expect of all New Zealanders and I know he feels that acutely," Ardern said.

Unlike Dr Clark, who has been MIA since the bike ride was made public, Calderwood offered effusive apologies for flouting the rules.

"I don't want to make the jobs of the police, of my NHS [National Health Service] colleagues, any harder, and I apologise to them as well," she said.

The Prime Minister has been far tougher on wayward ministers before, with Phil Twyford sacked from his civil aviation portfolio in 2018 for making a phone call when the plane he was on was taking off. 

Twyford said at the time, "We make the rules and therefore we should respect them."

Dr Clark isn't the only MP taking a 'do as I say, not as I do' approach.

On the eve of the lockdown, when we were all supposed to be physically distancing, National Party leader Simon Bridges posted a picture of himself at close quarters with essential supermarket staff at a New World in Mt Maunganui. 

Bridges told Magic Talk the image was not taken during the lockdown, but admitted, "We still knew at that stage, I suppose, that we should have been further apart."

Bridges, an essential worker, is also travelling to Wellington from Tauranga to attend the Zoom Epidemic Response Committee meetings, which he could be attending from home.

The Prime Minister said, "It means that people can do it from their home and that's what I've asked other ministers to do...Ultimately, that is a decision for the leader of the Opposition."

Analysis by Political Editor Tova O'Brien

Simon Bridges makes the point that his Parliament bubble is critically important right now - he's chairing these committee meetings which serve as a mini-Parliament while we're in lockdown so they're important for democracy.

And he says doing that the best way possible means being here - and travelling to Parliament.  

David Clark's indiscretion, on the other hand, was an unjustified stupid mistake.

The reason the Scottish CMO resigned was because her breaches were hypocritical, she asked people to make sacrifices - separate from their families, not be able to hold funerals when you lose a loved one, jobs lost.

And that's why any breaches by politicians right now are so egregious.

The Prime Minister is right, we need stability right now, but we also need competence.