Judith Collins says the Government is being "silly" by not extending the wage subsidy for the extra four days Auckland is in lockdown - despite admitting she would not pay for every day the city was in lockdown if she was in power.
Collins told The AM Show on Wednesday the lack of extension on the subsidy was inexcusable.
"It's not as though businesses caused this lockdown - it's obviously been caused by a border mishap," she said.
Collins has repeatedly blamed the Government's border controls for Auckland's current outbreak of COVID-19, the source of which is yet to be found.
Her claims follow a Newshub revelation two weeks ago that 60 percent of staff at the border had not received a COVID-19 test. The Government has since mandated an order to require all staff be tested for the virus.
Despite extensive genomic testing the source of the outbreak which thrust Auckland into lockdown is still a mystery. But Collins doesn't agree.
"They're still saying they don't know where it came from - it didn't come from the sky, it didn't come from a rock in your garden - it came from the border," she said.
In her interview with The AM Show host Duncan Garner, Collins said the Government was being "silly" by not extending the subsidy.
But when questioned whether she would pay out businesses for every day they were forced to close because of a lockdown, Collins backed down.
"Well you've got to have something in place, I mean obviously not every single day," she said.
"But if you've got a lockdown that takes down people's businesses maybe not just for a few weeks but maybe for forever because they can't pay their outgoings you've got to have some form of compensation in place."
She then added that "obviously" not every business which closed would be compensated but there needed to be "options" for people to get back into work. She refused to confirm if she was saying businesses which closed because of COVID-19 would be financially compensated.
"We're not at that stage yet."
The Prime Minister says the wage subsidy was not extended as the process was too complex for just four days.
"It is not a simple exercise to simply tack-on additional [days] - it would require an entirely different process and regime," Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.
"Our focus is on getting the money out the door quickly for everyone who's already applied."