One of the country's biggest district health boards, Waikato, is coming under fire from its region's leaders for withholding information about its Covid-19 cases.

The Ministry of Health told the Herald DHBs are free to release which territorial authorities the confirmed cases are in and some are already doing so.

But Waikato leaders are frustrated the Waikato DHB won't tell them which communities the cases of Covid-19 are in and say it would help them convince their residents why they needed to stay in lockdown.

Hugh Vercoe, chair of the Waikato Civil Defence and Emergency Management joint committee, said it was frustrating they were no longer being given the breakdown of cases for each territorial authority when other regions were.


"It helps us plan, especially for welfare and support we can give, to know where the positive cases are."

It would also help give any indication of where the next cluster could be, he said.

Vercoe called on the DHB to report on the cases not only by territorial authority but also by towns.

Otorohanga mayor Max Baxter said he had been told by Civil Defence last week that the DHB was not happy with him posting the number of cases in his district on his Facebook page.

But Baxter disagreed with the reasoning that it may not be a good indication of where the people were from and said people wanted to know what was happening in their territorial authorities.

"It's just courtesy as much as everything ... The issue we have is that you have other DHBs releasing that information. It's crazy. It's like saying privacy isn't important in Queenstown, but it is in Waikato.

"We are not after disclosing people and giving their names or addresses - that's not the point. We are just after giving our community some sort of update on what's happening. If someone dies within our territorial authority in a road crash we give that information out - why the hell is this any different?

Hauraki mayor Toby Adams said it was difficult to give firm messaging telling people to stay home when they did not even know if there were any confirmed cases in their towns.


"People ask us and we have to sit there and say we don't know. It doesn't look like they give us much trust."

New Zealand has 67 new cases of Covid-19 - bringing the total number of cases to 1106. There are 13 people in hospital including three in ICU, one of whom is critical.

Thames Coromandel mayor Sandra Goudie said people had the right to know what was happening in their communities and a lot of information was on social media anyway.

She agreed knowing how many cases were in the district would give people an incentive to remain in lockdown and take it seriously.

A Ministry of Health spokesperson said although it released data by DHB region, several DHBs including Bay of Plenty DHB and Lakes District DHB were now providing locality breakdowns.

DHBs were able to update their own pages by territorial authority-type breakdown after details were announced by the director-general of health at 1pm each day, they said.

Waikato DHB director of communications Nick Wilson said the Waikato DHB, in line with other DHBs and ministry guidance, had been providing case data at a district health board level due to patient privacy concerns.


The DHB was seeking guidance on whether it might be modified to allow more localised reporting of cases, he said.

University of Otago professor Paul Roth said the Waikato DHB may be being "overcautious" if it was citing privacy for not disclosing which districts cases were in.

The privacy law was pretty clear that as long as an individual could not be identified, directly or indirectly, then there was no breach, he said. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website
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