New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is standing by his statement made to Australian media last week that a border security breach led to the latest Covid-19 outbreak.
This is after he told Patricia Karvelas of Australia's ABC 24 News last week that he's been given information from a "reliable source" that a breach inside our quarantine system led to the Auckland outbreak.
Earlier today Health Minister Chris Hipkins began the 1pm Covid-19 briefing with a stern warning: that a rumour on social media about a woman sneaking into a managed isolation facility is false.
Peters never mentioned any specific details about the breach he was referring to but maintains there was a breach.
"The rumour that you're seeing on social media is not my rumour. Not sustained by me," he said.
"Even though they can claim it's mine ... Nothing of the sort is connected with me at all.
"But, I stand by the fact that this is a border security issue."
Hipkins addressed the rumours, which have been circulating widely on social media and sent to the Herald on several occasions, at the start of the daily Covid-19 presser.
He said it had "fully investigated" and the investigation found "it was false".
The minister said rumours are nothing new but this "one piece of information spread like wildfire" and included "a number of vile slurs". He said it was "harmful, dangerous and utterly wrong".
"It did not happen."
Hipkins said the rumour had been "troubling" and caused "considerable distress" for the family at the centre of the cluster.
He added this rumour in particular looks more deliberate and malicious than others and "smacks of orchestration".
"At a time when we're fighting a pandemic and we need all hands on deck to beat it down, this is deliberately designed to create panic, fear and confusion," he said.
Hipkins issued a plea to New Zealanders: "Please New Zealanders, think twice before sharing unverified information."
"We want everyone to accept some personal responsibility for the information they are out there sharing."
Hipkins thanked the media for the way it handled the rumours.
"I want to thank the media for the responsible way they reacted to these claims. They sought official word on truthfulness before reporting."
He added that people should trust the information given in the daily press briefings.
"Please take your information from official sources," he said.
"The information here is verified, the information that we share during these press conferences ... is in a formation that you can trust."
"If a mistake is made, it is quickly corrected."
There are 13 new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand today, one of them in managed isolation and the others in the community.