15 Sep 2021

Judith Collins standing by Siouxsie Wiles comments

From Morning Report, 7:25 am on 15 September 2021

National Party leader Judith Collins stands by her calling microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles a hypocrite.

Wiles, who was named New Zealand of the Year for her work advising the NZ public on Covid-19, was seen over the weekend a beach with a friend, who is part of her bubble, not wearing a mask.

The friend went for a swim, which is against current alert level 4 restrictions. Wiles said on Twitter after the incident she admits she could have stopped her friend but did not in the moment.

"Yes, she broke the rules. To be fair, she wasn’t in any danger. But that’s not the point. She broke the rules and she shouldn’t have done. I should have stopped her. But she’s a grown woman and I’m not her mum," Wiles wrote on Twitter.

Wiles said at the time the story became public she was "gutted" her actions were into a political story about the Covid-19 response.

Collins said she believes thought leaders in the Covid-19 response should follow the rules not just to the letter, but in the spirit of them.

"I believe that she was very hypocritical, certainly appear to it, and I've seen no evidence that she wasn't.

"It's really important that we have our thought leaders on Covid, who are actually seen to be doing what the rules are."

Collins said she did not want to see complacency creep in around Auckland.

"We don't want to see the sort of complacency come in, that we saw before Delta came, became such an issue for us.

"And I think also the complacency we're seeing in places like Sydney, where people are just going off the beach, spending time together and saying, 'look, I can't be bothered now'."