Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is "quietly confident and cautiously optimistic" about New Zealand's efforts to stamp out Covid-19.

This is a sentiment clearly shared by the Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield, who told media this afternoon New Zealand can be "increasingly more confident," and that the "signs are good".

However, their optimism about New Zealand's Covid-19 fight, at times, overshadowed by the recent actions of Health Minister David Clark.

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He was demoted to the bottom of the Cabinet ranking and stripped of his Associate Finance portfolio after admitting to again breaking the lockdown rules.

Ardern said she would have sacked him from his health responsibilities if it wasn't for the fact New Zealand was in the midst of a health pandemic and training a new Health Minister would take too much time.

"What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses," she said.

"He broke the rules, and he needs to pay a price."

New Zealand now has 1160 cases of Covid-19.

There have been 54 new and probable cases of Covid-19 since yesterday.

This is the lowest number of new cases in two weeks.

And, for the first time, there have been more reported recoveries than new cases in one 24-hour period.


Bloomfield confirmed that 241 people have now recovered – that's up by 65 on yesterday's 176 figure.

Ardern said: "While I continue to urge caution, this continues to suggest what we are doing as a nation is working."

And this comes as the number of tests carried out each day has been increasing.

There were almost 3000 tests carried out yesterday, with a rolling average of 3063 tests a day.

Bloomfield expected the number of new cases to "continue to stay level" before an eventual decline.

For the moment, Ardern said: "We do appear at this early stage to be on track".


Despite this, she warned against people changing their behaviours during the lockdown.

Even though it's coming up to the Easter break, Ardern urged people to stay at home.

In fact, Bloomfield asked people to have a "staycation".

And although most Kiwis are playing by the lockdown rules, there are still some who are flouting the restrictions.

Nearly 300 people have been caught breaking the rules since the lockdown began, Bloomfield revealed this afternoon.

Of those, 16 people are now facing prosecution.


Police have also told the Herald that Health Minister David Clark is not among the 291 breaches recorded under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act.

Ardern was highly critical of her Health Minister this afternoon – she said he made a "massive mistake" and was now paying the price.

The only reason he remains Minister of Health was because it would be too onerous to bring a new Minister into the role, she said.

She would not say if he would keep the job after Covid-19 was under control.

Clark was "under no illusions" that she expects better. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website