COVID-19: David Seymour, Judith Collins blast Jacinda Ardern for not fronting as cases spread and spike

Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is "missing in action" as case numbers rise and spread to other regions.

Despite the spike to 60 cases reported on Sunday and ongoing questions over two women who forced Northland into level 3 lockdown, the Government hasn't fronted over the weekend, instead relying on the Ministry of Health to send out press releases.

"New Zealanders will be unsettled by the news - delivered via written statement - that we have 60 new community cases today and yet our Prime Minister did not even get one of her senior ministers to stand in for her at the podium," Collins says in a statement on Sunday.

Collins says it's clear there are questions that Ardern doesn't want to be asked, including over the role of gangs in spreading COVID.

"Now is the most important time for Jacinda Ardern to face the media. Kiwis have questions; her own experts are asking questions publicly too. It is unforgivable that she has gone to ground with only carefully cultivated PR photos appearing on social media," Collins says.

The Prime Minister has been touring the East Coast as part of a three-day blitz to support local vaccination efforts.

"This is about highlighting that we need high vaccination rates in every corner of New Zealand," Ardern told Newshub on Saturday.

Friday saw a record for Māori vaccination rates, with 10,283 doses given - the highest daily number to date. 

But Collins says it takes a "strong leader" to front up when things are going wrong.

"Not one more day must go past without a press conference at which media can ask the vital and inconvenient questions of this Government. Either Jacinda must front - I am sure the media will go to her - or she needs to put up Minister Hipkins or Robertson."

ACT too is calling for accountability and action over the Northland lockdown, which has infuriated the region.

"The Prime Minister needs to do more than cock her head to the side and sigh. Somebody has done something seriously wrong and 120,000 Northlanders are paying dearly for it. They deserve accountability," leader David Seymour says in a statement.

"All Northland is in lockdown because one person's movements cannot be traced. At the very least, the Government should be clear about how the case got away with it, and what they're going to do. Unfortunately, a signature Ardern position is that nobody's ever responsible."

On Sunday the Ministry of Health announced 60 new COVID-19 cases, 19 of which have yet to be linked to the original Auckland outbreak. 

All of the new cases were found in Auckland apart from three in Waikato and the case in Bay of Plenty reported on Saturday night. 

"The three new Waikato cases are linked to the initial Hamilton East case," the ministry said in a statement. 

"Of the Auckland cases, 37 have known links to existing cases and 17 remain under investigation." 

There have now been 1587 cases in the Delta outbreak. 

Twenty of the latest COVID-19 cases were infectious in the community, the ministry said. 

Ministry data shows there are 29 people in hospital with COVID-19, seven of whom are in intensive care.