Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern insists COVID-19 vaccine date wording changes on a Government website will make no difference to the jab rollout among the general population.
The Ministry of Health's Unite Against COVID-19 website has been altered for when group 4 - the general population - will be invited to receive the jab. The website now says the group "will be able to book their vaccinations" from July 28, when it previously said group 4 is "being vaccinated" from July 28, the NZ Herald reported.
It's the second time the health ministry has been accused of quietly changing COVID-19 vaccine rollout information online. In May, its website was updated to say group 4 could be vaccinated from the "end of July", when a few days prior it said, "from July".
At the time, Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield conceded quietly changing the information "may not have been the best way".
ACT leader David Seymour accused the Government of "slipperiness" over the latest wording change.
"New Zealanders are tired of the spin and the lies from this Government," he said. "It's time to start treating us like adults and be upfront about what a mess this rollout is.
"The Government should be aiming for us to be the best in the world."
Addressing the latest website changes on Monday, Ardern said it didn't mean anything.
"Substantially, it means nothing different," she told The AM Show.
Asked by host Duncan Garner why the wording was changed, Ardern said, "I'm not the person who writes the website".
"The great thing is, a million doses are coming this month which is fantastic," she added.
"Up until now, 1.2 million is the number of doses we put out so you can see how substantial it is."
A Ministry of Health spokesperson said the wording was updated to make it "absolutely clear" people aged over 60 can book their COVID-19 vaccination from July 28.
"There is no change to the programme's rollout," the spokesperson said, adding the online BookMyVaccine programme is also scheduled to go live as planned on the same day.
Ardern, meanwhile, again dismissed claims the COVID-19 vaccine rollout has been slow.
"We've always said that it ramps up from the second half of the year and it would take us a year to do this," she said.
Late last month, the Government revealed the COVID-19 vaccine rollout to the general population would begin on July 28 and be staggered in age bands.
Over 60s will be offered the jab first and from August 11, New Zealanders aged 50 and over will be invited to get a vaccine.
The rest of the population is expected to be vaccinated from October.
At the weekend, New Zealand received its largest shipment of Pfizer vaccines to date - 150,000 doses, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said on Monday.