PM will be ‘more vigilant’ after maskless photo

The Prime Minister says she’ll be “more vigilant in the future” after a maskless group photo she posted on social media drew ire from critics.

PM Jacinda Ardern (R)

It comes after some criticism for a maskless photo with Youth Parliament attendees. (Source: Other)

Jacinda Ardern posted a series of photos on social media on Tuesday of her day spent with Youth Parliament members. One of them a group photo on a staircase in the Beehive where masks were removed.

Two other photos in the social media posts show the Prime Minister and Youth Parliament members wearing masks.

A maskless Jacinda Ardern, Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro and others on a staircase in the Beehive with youth MPs.
A maskless Jacinda Ardern, Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro and others on a staircase in the Beehive with youth MPs. (Source: Jacinda Ardern/Facebook)

READ MORE: ‘Give her a break’ – Willis defends PM’s maskless group photo

As New Zealand records thousands of daily Covid-19 cases the maskless photo drew criticism from some members of the public and the likes of epidemiologist Michael Baker, former prime minister Helen Clark and former deputy prime minister Winston Peters.

Ardern was asked about the maskless photo op by reporters on Wednesday, while at a Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) conference in Palmerston North.

“I think by now everybody would have heard the circumstances.

“I was in a group photo of 120 others… masks were on and they were asked to be removed for a photo.”

She said while it was difficult to decline the request in such a large crowd, she would try harder in the future.

“We all accept as politicians that we are role models, and I take that job very seriously.

“I from time to time do get asked to remove my mask for photos, and in the future, I’ll be more vigilant about politely declining.”

That same morning, the opposition deputy leader took the unusual stance of leaping to the Prime Minister’s defence over the controversy.

“No, look, she just took off the mask for the photo and can we give her a break for that?” National’s Nicola Willis told Breakfast.

“Who among us hasn’t taken their mask off for a photo? I’m sure that just like me and all the others in the photo she put the mask on to walk around Parliament.

“I think we all need to be a bit more relaxed about that.”

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