Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared to be at odds with more than a few people during her press conference with media this afternoon.

From the New Zealand Medical Association to her own MPs and even the principal of her old high school, Ardern was not too shy to point out her disagreement with a number of parties.

Perhaps the most noteworthy being her disagreement with Morrinsville College principal John Inger, who criticised the decision to allow some students back to school next week.

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Ardern was a student of Morrinsville College when she was a teenager.

"Children can contract Covid-19 and pass it on when asymptomatic, and they can die," the principal said in a newsletter to parents.

Asked about the comments this afternoon, Ardern enthusiastically responded "Mr Inger!" before saying she disagreed with his comments.

"I can't help but wonder if Mr Inger is reflecting that I would have been one of those children returning to school with my father being a police officer and my mother working at the schools," she said.

"Perhaps he had me in mind when he was making that judgment call."

Jacinda Ardern whilst attending Morrinsville College. Photo / Supplied
Jacinda Ardern whilst attending Morrinsville College. Photo / Supplied

She also disagreed with comments made by the New Zealand Medical Association, which this morning said the roll-out of the flu vaccine was a "debacle" and "total disaster".

Kate Baddock, chair of the association, said the issues with the roll-out of flu vaccine meant her practice went without for 10 days while they had 4000 vulnerable people they needed to vaccinate.

Ardern pushed back on these comments this afternoon.


"I disagree with them on that," she said.

When pressed, she said flu vaccinations started earlier than has otherwise usually the case "for good reason – we wanted to be prepared".

Ardern also pushed back on comments by Epidemiologist Sir David Skegg, who said if New Zealand had reached the gold standard of contact tracing, the country would be able to come out of alert level 4 now.

"Whilst David Skegg has made that statement, you will have seen others like Shaun Hendy have encouraged New Zealand to stay in level 4 two weeks longer."

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Finally, Ardern was at odds with a few of her own MPs – namely Employment Minister Willie Jackson and New Lynn MP Deborah Russell.

In the Epidemic Select Committee yesterday, Jackson said that: "Another week [in lockdown] is not [going] to hurt or destroy anyone."


Soon after, Russell downplayed the economic impact of Covid-19 on businesses.

"We are seeing businesses struggling after only a few weeks in a pretty bad situation, which must speak to the strength of those small businesses going into this lockdown."

She said she was worried that people had started a small business without understanding "how to survive a setback".

Asked about both comments this afternoon, Ardern said she disagreed with both.