Finance Minister Grant Robertson says Health Minister David Clark "got it wrong" when he drove more than 2km to a biking track.

Robertson spoke about his colleague's decision during an update on the latest in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said this afternoon that Clark should have followed the advice to avoid activities where there is a higher risk of injury.

Health Minister David Clark came under fire for driving to a mountain bike track.
Health Minister David Clark came under fire for driving to a mountain bike track.

On this occasion, Clark "got it wrong", Robertson said at this afternoon's daily press conference.

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"We don't want the Minister of Health out mountain biking."

He said Clark did not offer his resignation to the Prime Minister - nor should he have.

Asked why Clark wasn't in Wellington, Robertson said Clark was "always available" for interviews.

He said Clark had a "very important" role to play in the Government.

He urged New Zealanders to only use their car when they need to and limit car trips.

"All New Zealanders can take on board his apology."

He called on New Zealanders to "use their common sense" when it came to venturing outdoors.

Law changing

The Government will change the law to help companies facing insolvency because of Covid-19 to remain running and keep people in jobs.

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The temporary changes under the Companies Act include:

• Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of Covid-19 a "safe harbour" from insolvency duties under the Companies Act.

• Enabling businesses affected by Covid-19 to place existing debts into hibernation until they are able to start trading normally again.

The Government will change a law to help companies facing insolvency due to Covid-19 to remain running and keep people in jobs.

• Allowing the use of electronic signatures where necessary because of Covid-19 restrictions.

• Giving the Registrar of Companies the power to temporarily extend deadlines imposed on companies, incorporated societies, charitable trusts and other entities under legislation.

• Giving temporary relief for entities that are unable to comply with requirements in their constitutions or rules because of Covid-19.

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Businesses struggling to re-pay debts would be able to put them in "hibernation" for six months. If a company was doing well before Covid-19, it should be okay after, given the Government's support, Robertson said.

It was inevitable some businesses would go into liquidation - but he couldn't say how many. The new rules would help them buy some time, Robertson said.

Robertson said the insolvency legislation would be passed "as soon as possible".

'Early action'

The Government has so far announced close to $25 billion of support in the fight against Covid-19.

He praised his Government's plan to take action early and inject money into the economy.

Some $4.78b from the wage subsidy scheme has been paid out to 800,00 New Zealanders

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He said the Government's job was to prove "cover" during this time for everyday Kiwis and businesses.

Robertson urged Fletchers and Unions to work together, amid tensions around payment of staff.

He reiterated that no company should be forcing its employees to take annual leave.

He said he had not received advice to say people should be wearing masks outside their homes, despite a new plan by the US Government.

"The best way for the economy to get back to normal is to take the public health approach we're doing now."

New cases

It is the ninth day of lockdown.

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Today there were 71 new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand.

The 71 cases are made up of 49 new confirmed cases and 22 new probable cases.

It brings the total to 868 cases in New Zealand since the pandemic began.

One person is in an ICU.

There have been 2000 lab tests a day, a total of almost 30,000 tests conducted so far.

Capacity was now 5400 tests a day, Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said in an earlier press conference.

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