'We will always fix it': Jacinda Ardern's promise to NZ over COVID-19 mistakes

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she will "never" shy away from admitting when the Government has screwed up.

At the weekend the Government's official Unite Against COVID-19 social media channels and website urged everyone in south and west Auckland to get a test, whether they had symptoms or not. 

"This is a stressful enough situation for New Zealand without having that added to it," Ardern told The AM Show on Monday, apologising for the mistake which saw thousands of Aucklanders jump in their cars and queue for tests. 

While perhaps minor in the grand scheme of things, the blunder comes after Newshub investigations found border workers weren't being tested as the Government had previously said they were, and people have been leaving Auckland via plane without anyone checking they had a valid reason (travel out of the city being restricted while Auckland was at level 3 and the rest of the country at level 2).

Those errors follow the reappearance of the virus in the community earlier this month after three months without it, which the Opposition has blamed on a leak at the border.

As for the flights out of Auckland, Ardern urged Kiwis to follow the rules to ease the pressure on airport security staff.

"In a situation like this where we are stopping thousands of people and checking whether they are doing the right thing, we actually need people to do the right thing as well. We can't be solely reliant on every single time the assumption we're going to be able to stop everyone's bad behaviour. We need a team effort. 

"When we set out a rule, when we make an ask, we need everyone to play their part as well. It goes both ways." 

She acknowledged the message urging 700,000 Aucklanders to get tested without symptoms was a mistake, which is currently being investigated.

"I will stand in front of you any time you ask me and acknowledge when there's been a mistake or a failing, and I will take responsibility for fixing it. I know what New Zealanders are sacrificing, I know what they're having to give up, I know what Aucklanders have had to do over the last couple of weeks, and I know it's been hard. 

"We will be accountable. We will never shy away from standing in front of you and answering the questions, and equally - the most important thing - we will always fix it." 

Her comments echo those made by Labour MP Willie Jackson, who took to Facebook last week to thank the media for holding the Government to account, amid criticism on social media that journalists had been asking unreasonable questions at the daily press conferences to update the nation on the fight against COVID-19.

"I wasn't angry at Newshub's Michael Morrah's journalism highlighting failures at the border," the political veteran wrote. "In this pandemic WE WANT TO KNOW if things haven't been done so that we can immediately fix those problems! This Government welcomes reasonable scrutiny."

As for the alleged border leak, Ardern pointed out there was "no evidence" for it. Genetic testing has not found a link between any of the cases picked up in the community and those who have tested positive in managed isolation or quarantine. 

Other possibilities under investigation including undetected asymptomatic transmission during level 1, and the virus arriving via frozen food imports.