Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern defends Dr Siouxsie Wiles over maskless beach visit after Judith Collins labels her 'hypocrite'

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has defended Dr Siouxsie Wiles for her maskless beach visit that saw her come under fire from National Party leader Judith Collins.

A video of Dr Wiles sitting on a beach in Auckland chatting to a friend without a mask on last Thursday went viral, with many people - including Collins - slamming her for being a hypocrite.

"I think she's a big... hypocrite, actually, and I'm sick and tired of listening to her telling everyone else what to do, and here we have the evidence that she had travelled from Freemans Bay to go and visit with her friend on the beach at Judges Bay in Parnell," Collins said. 

"That's about 5km, and unless she ran there - and I doubt it - then she wasn't exercising. No masks on, sitting there on the beach, and the friend goes off for a swim. I watched that video, and I thought: big... hypocrite."

Dr Wiles cycled 5km to meet her friend at Judge's Bay and the friend later went for a swim - which is against lockdown rules. Wiles later clarified the friend was in her bubble.

On Sunday Ardern was asked about her opinion on the matter and felt her fellow politician was out of line when directing criticism at Wiles.

"The first thing I would say is, as a general rule of thumb, I see politicians in a particular category," Ardern said at the daily 1pm press conference.

"We put ourselves into this space and we know it's going to come our way and I hope over time that changes a bit. 

"Here and now that is the way it is and we accept the rules of the game and we come into it with eyes wide open. 

"But for the most part, many other people are in the roles they're in just to do the very best they can by their communities and by their professions and I don't believe what happened, in this case, warranted the response that was received by Siouxsie Wiles."

Ardern is the latest to defend Wiles after Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield also came to her defence. 

"I've had a message from Siouxsie who described what happened. From what she told me, it didn't sound like protocols were breached, and I don't think that the person who went into the water what they did could be described as a swim," he said earlier.

"I know Siouxsie quite well and, like me, she has got a bit of a public profile, and so there's often - when these things happen - speculation and interest in them, so she reached out to me to just explain to me objectively what had happened."