Coronavirus: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says religious services are considered gatherings, despite no specific mention in alert level 2 legislation

Religious services fall under the definition of "gatherings", the Prime Minister has revealed as questions are raised as to why there is no specific mention in the Government's COVID-19 alert level 2 legislation.

National MP Simeon Brown on Monday called for the Government to clarify the matter "urgently".

"The COVID-19 website and the Prime Minister have both said that the maximum number of people allowed at a religious service is 10," he wrote on Facebook.

"However, this does not match with the Government regulations just published under the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Level 2) Order 2020, which has been issued under section 9 and section 11 of the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act, which in turn had been rushed through Parliament last week.

"There is no specific mention of religious services, either in the definitions of 'higher-risk gatherings' (which are not allowed) or 'lower-risk gatherings' (which are limited to 10 people)."

Questioned about the matter at Monday's post-Cabinet press conference, Ardern confirmed that under the legislation, Crown Law defines religious services as gatherings.

The alert level 2 legislation defines a gathering as "a group of people who are intermingling, and includes both public and private activities".

Gatherings are limited to 10 people at home and in social settings under alert level 2.

"You'll obviously forgive me for relying on Crown Law rather than Facebook posts and Crown Law consider that religious services fall under the definition of gatherings," Ardern told reporters on Monday.

"Obviously they [Crown Law] are the ones involved in the drafting of the orders and so obviously that's where I look to for my advice."

The country wanted to be in position so religious services could take place safely as soon as possible, Ardern said.

"My hope would be that, actually, we recognise that we all have the same goal here.

"I would hope that no Member of Parliament wants to see us in a position where we have a second-wave of COVID."