Judith Collins denies criticism of Siouxsie Wiles was hypocritical despite her own mask breach in Queenstown

Judith Collins denies it was hypocritical to criticise microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles for visiting a friend at a beach without wearing a mask despite breaching mask rules herself. 

The National leader was filmed by a bystander at a Queenstown café over the weekend ordering ice cream without a mask on, which is in breach of the Government's COVID-19 alert level 2 rules. 

A spokesperson for Collins told NZ Herald she "regretted" not wearing a mask until she was sitting down with her food, as the rules state, after footage of her at Patagonia Chocolates on Saturday evening was leaked to the paper. 

It comes after Collins earlier this month labelled microbiologist and New Zealander of the Year Dr Wiles - who often gives advice on combating COVID-19 - a "big fat hypocrite" for visiting a beach with a friend without a mask on during alert level 4 in Auckland. 

But Collins has no regrets calling out Dr Wiles for her maskless beach visit, and denies being a hypocrite for breaching mask rules herself. 

"I think it's very important that in a level 4 lockdown that people who are advising other people how to operate, should do so too," she told reporters at Parliament on Tuesday. 

"What it does mean is that level 2 and level 4 are entirely different and the rules around level 2 have been very unclear. But again, we would do it differently, and certainly it is important I could have kept my mask on for another one or two minutes."

Last week Collins also denied fat-shaming Dr Wiles

"This nonsense of making out I was fat-shaming her," she told Magic Talk. "I have struggled with weight all my life. I'm the last person to fat-shame anybody."

Collins said it was purely a colloquialism.

"It's like a saying, 'big, fat hypocrite', 'big, fat liar', 'big, fat fraud' - it says, 'really looked hypocritical to me'. I just thought people need to wake up to it."

Collins visited the ice cream shop on Sunday with her deputy Dr Shane Reti and Southland MP Joseph Mooney, who were both not wearing masks. 

"We'd have kept our masks on for another minute or so and we'll certainly do it differently next time," Dr Reti said, standing next to Collins. 

Collins said she's focussed on the issues that matter to New Zealanders. 

"The fact that we are in a position as a country where Auckland has been in level 4 lockdown now for five weeks, it is absolutely outrageous that the Government has stood by for the last 18 months and failed to prepare properly for COVID coming back in."

She denied rumours of a leadership challenge, after disappointing poll results and some National MPs telling Newshub they were not pleased with their leader's recent performance

"I do not worry about things like polls because polls go up and down."