The Covid-19 Response Minister says he doesn't want the director-general of health to resign after a failure that left tens of thousands of swabs untested for more than a week.
Yesterday Dr Ashley Bloomfield apologised for the roughly 32,000 testing samples that had been delayed in processing.
Minister Chris Hipkins today acknowledged the situation and said the Government had been drawing on information from the Ministry of Health, however, he didn't want Bloomfield to step down.
"It's clear in this case that the advice that they provided [about testing capacity] to us and to the public, didn't stack up in terms of what the labs were ultimately able to deliver."
Hipkins said there would be plenty of time for a review in due course - but in the meantime, the focus had to be on the here and now.
If the reviews start to prevent current work, then they could do more damage, Hipkins said.
He said their focus now was on ensuring the roll-out of RATs was as smooth as possible and on clearing the remaining backlog of tests.
National MP Chris Bishop said in a press release today that the Government needed to stop "throwing Ashley Bloomfield under the bus" and take responsibility for its failures.
"The Government didn't order enough rapid tests, early enough. That is why we are in this mess now, with people having to wait for hours to get a test and days to get a result.
"The Government needs to stop blaming officials for their own incompetence and stop ducking for cover whenever the going gets tough."
Bloomfield said yesterday about 12,000 of the delayed tests had been re-tested via PCR or RAT testing, he added. Some of the results, when they are returned, may be less sensitive than usual due to the delay.
The delays could have been minimised if the issues had been recognised sooner, he said, and about 9000 tests were sent to Queensland over the weekend to help clear the backlog.
Using rapid antigen tests (RATs) has meant the pressure on testing capacity has been eased in recent days, Bloomfield said.
Hipkins warned people not to stockpile and to be patient when trying to access RATs tests.
He said more sites were being stood up and tests were "literally arriving all the time".
"The older your tests are the less accurate they are so we don't want people stockpiling," Hipkins said.
This came as New Zealand hit a record 22,152 new community cases of Covid-19 today.
Hipkins announced a record 405 people in hospital with Covid-19. Of those, 10 are in ICU or HDU across New Zealand.
While case numbers continued to grow, the key metric health officials were focusing on was those that needed high levels of care such as hospitalisation.
The message to all New Zealanders was that high rights of vaccination were making a difference in how New Zealand was weathering the outbreak, Hipkins said.
Of the 405 people in hospital, five are in Northland, 56 in North Shore, 142 in Middlemore, 108 in Auckland, 37 in Waikato, 12 in Bay of Plenty, five in Rotorua: three in Tairawhiti, one in Hawke's Bay, four in Taranaki, two in MidCentral, two in Hutt Valley, 11 in Capital and Coast, six in Nelson Marlborough, 10 in Canterbury and one in Southern DHB.
The average age of those currently in hospital is 52.
Of those in hospital in the Northern region, 14.7 per cent are unvaccinated or not eligible, 2.4 per cent were partially vaccinated, 47.3 per cent were double vaccinated and 19.4 per cent were boosted. The vaccination status of 15.9 per cent of cases is unknown.