Duncan Garner says Ardern needs to 'take responsibility' for photo breaking social distancing rules

The AM Show host Duncan Garner has slammed Jacinda Ardern and called for her to address a photo showing her breaking COVID-19 social distancing rules.

On the campaign trail on Thursday, Ardern was in Palmerston North and a photo shows her taking a selfie with members of the public, with no social distancing to be seen.

A spokesperson for Ardern said on Saturday while she asks members of the public to practice social distancing when interacting with them, it's not always possible.

Garner criticised the selfie and said it shouldn't be dismissed.

"I think there's a bigger issue here. In the first lockdown, many months ago, I was without my son for many many weeks and it caused all sorts of pain," Garner said.

"Many New Zealanders have done things hard over this time; they've lost jobs, lost people - because we've been told to stick to the rules. People have had the police visit them to break up groups - yet, the PM can just easily get away with this."

Garner questioned whether there was "one rule for us as citizens of the 5 million, but something else for the Prime Minister?

"I genuinely think New Zealanders need to address this and she needs to address it as well," he said. "You've got to take responsibility, as the Prime Minister."

New Zealanders are asked to keep 2m distance from others in public under current alert level 2 restrictions.

Ardern's spokesperson said the Prime Minister has to decline some handshakes and hugs.

"Best endeavours are made to keep separated when people ask for photos, but often members of the public will come very close to the Prime Minister which is difficult to control."

Duncan Garner says Ardern needs to 'take responsibility' for photo breaking social distancing rules
Photo credit: Stuff/The AM Show

The AM Show sports reader Mark Richardson said he saw a "feeling of entitlement" in the photo.

"That's possibly not her fault - I think that she enjoys such celebrity in this country that you tend to do things that other people can't do."

ACT leader David Seymour has also slammed the photo, calling it hypocritical.