COVID-19: Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield backtracks, admits VIP experience with Blackcaps wasn't in 'private' capacity

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield admits he should have refused being treated to a VIP cricket experience with the Blackcaps, after earlier saying he attended the match in a "private capacity".

"I was incorrect," Bloomfield said in a statement on Thursday. "I am in the role of the Director-General of Health every day. I recognise that the invitation was extended to me because I am in that position. 

"It is important that I avoid any potential for perception of a conflict of interest or personal benefit."

The Blackcaps invited Dr Bloomfield to their T20 match against Australia on Sunday. It was revealed on Wednesday he was asked about access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Dr Bloomfield said on Thursday he thought he was acting within the Public Service Commission Guidelines when accepting the invitation.

"On re-reading the guidelines, I now accept that declaring the complimentary tickets to the game on a gift register was insufficient and that they should have been refused, as they will be from now on."

Dr Bloomfield said he's now clarified this with the Public Service Commissioner.

"I have donated the price of the tickets, and also the price of tickets to two Hurricanes games last year [also previously declared], to Wellington City Mission."

The Ministry of Health had earlier said Dr Bloomfield attended the cricket match in a private capacity and chatted with NZ Cricket chief executive David White.