National Party leader Judith Collins has fired back at Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's own dash back to Wellington to deal with the Delta outbreak after facing criticism for travelling from Auckland to attend Parliament this week.
Collins flew to Wellington yesterday after National and Act refused to support a further suspension of sittings while the country was in lockdown, or a virtual Parliament.
Today Collins fired back at critics of that move, saying she had been at home in isolation for two weeks, was fully vaccinated and had not been to any of the listed locations of interest.
She pointed at Ardern's fast dash with Grant Robertson and Chris Hipkins, from Auckland to Wellington on the day the first case was reported.
That was hours before Ardern announced an immediate nation-wide lockdown.
"We do our job because we have to do our job, just as [Ardern], Chris Hipkins and Grant Robertson got on planes from Auckland to Wellington, knowing there was Covid in the community in Auckland, and they had no idea at that point just how far it had spread."
Collins said that might have been before the lockdown kicked in, but it was not before Covid was in the community.
"It was in the community, and she had no idea where it was."
Ardern has not criticised Collins personally for travelling, but has said she was disappointed National did not agree to a virtual Parliament while lockdown was in place because it would have meant MPs were not travelling.
She said Labour was using only the ministers who were already in Wellington.
Of the National Party MPs at Parliament this week, only Covid-19 spokesman Chris Bishop has been in Wellington. Other MPs had come in from places including Dunedin, Taupo, and Canterbury. Act leader David Seymour has been in Wellington since flying down at the start of the outbreak.
Collins said she was the only Auckland MP and did not intend to travel back and forward.
Collins said a virtual Parliament would not allow for proper scrutiny, and the Government had rebuffed the request to set up the Epidemic Response Committee again.
National had been supportive of actions such as the drive to get people vaccinated and the need for a lockdown.
"However, this Government is not entitled to blind acceptance of its actions. Not from the Opposition and not from New Zealanders. The spin machine has been in overdrive."
She said that was especially the case around the vaccinations rollout, saying New Zealand was only in this position because the Government had been "complacent" and had not secured the stocks it needed earlier.
Ardern has taken to holding graphs up in her press conferences, and Collins retaliated by holding up a graph showing New Zealand languishing at the bottom of the OECD when it came to vaccination rates.
"It is time for answers and honesty. We will not tolerate spin and smiles. New Zealanders' health is on the line, so yes, we are here to do our job."
Parliament will sit until Thursday with a very limited number of MPs and a truncated order paper.
Green Party and Maori Party MPs have opted not to attend until level 3.