Labour has taken down a video it posted to its social media pages after being accused of "politicising the public service".
The clip showed Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visiting an Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) facility and the Ministry of Health's national contact tracing centre on Thursday.
It featured a three-second appearance from Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield, standing behind Ardern as she leaned in close to a computer screen. He doesn't say anything. Other shots show numerous staff interacting with Ardern and Health Minister Chris Hipkins.
ACT leader David Seymour argues it was "unacceptable for campaign videos to be filmed inside the Ministry of Health featuring public servants".
"How can the public have faith that the Ministry of Health will be held accountable for mistakes if it's helping Labour with its campaign? We need to know whether Ashley Bloomfield agreed to be part of the Labour Party campaign advertisement, or whether Labour is abusing the civil service.
"Other political parties don't have access to the resources of Government and Labour should know better than abusing its privileged position."
The Taxpayers' Union also got stuck in, calling it "an election campaign" ad which had to be investigated by the State Services Commission.
Dr Bloomfield has become a household name this year, fronting the ministry's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and often appearing alongside Ardern at the regular briefings.
Labour said it believed the video was within the rules, as it had no party branding on it.
"The video is an update on the Government's COVID response and specifically the work ESR and the national contract tracing team has been doing," a spokesperson told NZME.
However the video was taken down for re-editing, "to remove any concern over public servants being shown".
Seymour said Dr Bloomfield's appearance in the video was "the hallmark of a one party state", suggesting Ardern would next appear alongside "the army and the chief of the air force".
ACT is currently polling better than it has in years, with Seymour looking likely to bring in some other MPs for the first time since becoming leader six years ago. Labour is also polling historically well, in the running to be in a position to govern alone, going by the latest polls.