Green MP Elizabeth Kerekere apologises 'profusely' for breaching COVID-19 rules

Green MP Elizabeth Kerekere.
Green MP Elizabeth Kerekere. Photo credit: File

Green MP Elizabeth Kerekere has apologised "profusely" for breaching COVID-19 rules by catching a flight days after her household member tested positive for the virus.

Dr Kerekere said her household member tested positive on Friday, meaning as a household contact she should have self-isolated for seven days, but the Green MP instead caught a flight from Tairāwhiti to Wellington.

Dr Kerekere said she tested negative for three consecutive days, but since she is not classified as an essential worker, the Green MP did not have the right to return to work as a household contact of a COVID-19 case. 

"I apologise profusely to my constituents, whānau, and colleagues for my mistake, and to everyone who is making huge sacrifices to follow rules that are designed to keep us all safe," Dr Kerekere said in a statement on Tuesday.

"I have discussed my mistake with the Green Party caucus and our co-leaders, and apologised to them also. I should have known better.

"Today I have resigned my COVID-19 Response portfolio with immediate effect, and I will not hold the health portfolio or sit on the Health Select Committee until further notice."

The final phase of the Government’s Omicron plan, which came into effect on February 24, meant that only household contacts need to self-isolate. 

The Government then announced last week that the isolation period for COVID-19 cases and household contacts had been slashed to a week, down from the previous 10 days.

But household contacts still need to have a rapid antigen test at day three and day seven of their isolation period. If they become symptomatic they should also get a test, and if the result is positive, they are required to be isolated for seven days from that point.

However, recovered cases will no longer need to self-isolate if they become a household contact within 90 days after having the virus. It was increased from 28 days.