Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has defended keeping a 10-person limit on funerals at alert level 2, saying people tended to physically comfort each other at funerals and the risks were too high.
National Party leader Simon Bridges described the limit as "inhumane" and heartbreaking for those people who had been waiting until level 2 to farewell a loved one properly.
Under the rules of alert level 2, while big venues such as cinemas and restaurants can take more than 10 people provided they are not seated close to other groups, only 10 people can gather socially, whether a wedding, funeral or a party.
Bridges said he would be seeking to amend the law for level 2 to increase the numbers allowed at funerals and churches, saying it was a topic raised often with him since the limits had been set.
"They can go to the movies with groups much larger than 10, they can go to a restaurant, there can be sports games with physical contact and yet at one of the most tragic, defining points of life at a funeral, direct family members cannot attend them.
"That's not just not kind, it's inhumane and I think we can do better than that."
He said his own family was large and not all would be able to attend if someone died.
Some countries – including Australia – have allowed for greater numbers at a funeral service than other gatherings especially if it is held outside where people can stand apart from each other.
However, Ardern said she was reluctant to give exemptions for specific events, partly because it would lead to arguments for other events to also be exempted.
She emphasised that many of New Zealand's clusters had come from social gatherings and overseas some cases had spread at funerals.
She said the question of funerals was the topic Cabinet had discussed at length because it was asking a lot for people not to farewell loved ones as they normally would.
However, she asked for patience, saying those limits would be reviewed in a fortnight and it was hoped they could be raised quickly.
Health Minister David Clark also defended it, saying it would be unfair to expect people at a funeral not to hug.
Ardern did say it was possible for people to go into a cemetery or to a home in "waves" of groups of ten to farewell somebody provided those groups did not socialise with each other afterwards.
Churches have also objected to the restrictions, saying it was possible to arrange for social distancing at a church service. Bridges again pointed to the ability for movie theatres and restaurants to cater to many, while large churches could not.
"What we will be seeking to change is to go to 100 [people]. We know we can trust New Zealanders. Funeral directors have all of the health and safety processes and can do this safely. The same is true for religious ministers."
Ardern, who was raised a Mormon, said she understood the importance of worship but again churches were community occasions where people would inevitably mix with others.
There was also some confusion in the Government ranks about whether a wake could take place after a funeral after Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters contradicted the Prime Minister's position on it.
Peters claimed that while only 10 could go a funeral, it was possible for up to 100 mourners to attend a wake at a restaurant or hall, provided those people sat in groups of 10 apart from other groups.
That was contrary to Ardern's earlier instruction that people should not gather after a funeral, and that large groups could not split into tables of 10 at a single restaurant.
She said that was because people were more likely to mix and mingle with other tables if they knew them than if they were strangers.
Ardern reiterated that position today when asked about Peters' comments.
However, Peters continued to insist he was right.