Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she has not had a Covid test because she hasn't had any symptoms, nor has she been asked to have one.

"None. I haven't had any, Mike, because I haven't had any symptoms or any cause to," Ardern told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking today.

Hosking: "You haven't said yes to the test?"

Ardern: "I have never been offered a test and just to be clear when I said 'say yes to the test', that was a request that when people are offered them by their GP, they say yes. We have had reports and surveys that suggest a reasonable portion of people being offered them by their GP because they were unwell... were saying no. To suggest that people should continue to say no was worrying to me."


Hosking: "So the pop-up centres you put in places like Queenstown to check the community spread for people to voluntarily go down, you haven't felt the need to do that and lead the way?"

Ardern: "Those community testing stations were established specifically to make sure we had additional community surveillance as a precautionary measure after we had seen the positive offshore test, in particular. That's why we were targeting those areas. And we continue to keep those pop-up stations in South Auckland in particular because that's the region where we have some of our managed isolation facilities."

Hosking said he had watched her on the campaign trail at the Grey Lynn farmers' market at the weekend and she hadn't been practising social distancing.

"No, and nor do we ask anyone to continue practise social distancing because we are at level 1," she said.

Hosking said he had seen a poster that encouraged social distancing at level 1.

Ardern said at level 1, people had to wash hands, stay home if they were sick, and get advice from Healthline or their GP about being tested. Plus the restrictions at the border continued.

She said she could not comment on the poster, "but we have never been encouraging social distancing at level 1".

"I am happy to clarify for you, Mike. I was frankly a little worried when you started suggesting that people shouldn't take the test the doctor offered to them. We have had 100 days of no community transmission but that doesn't lessen the risk... Vietnam got to 99 days and had an outbreak.


"The reason we are asking people to keep a mask on hand is if we experience a resurgence. It would be false hope to claim that everything is done and dusted."


Ardern still asked people to go into community testing stations.

Asked whether New Zealand went too hard too quickly, Ardern denied that, after being asked about a new report about mortality and productivity.

"Mostly the comparisons are going the other way. Many other places are asking whether they should have done what New Zealand did."

On the possibility of a Cook Islands travel bubble, she said she would be giving an update today. Asked if the bubble was coming, she said "yes" but there were no confirmed dates yet.

Cabinet has been discussing plans to open the border with the popular South Pacific island of Rarotonga and other hotspots like Aitutaki Island with its large lagoon, coral reefs and sandy inlets.


New Zealand's largest airport, Auckland International, says it will be ready to operate a travel bubble with Covid-free Pacific countries by August 17, if given the green-light.

Business groups and some Pacific countries, including the Cook Islands, have been urging the Government to open travel with some parts of the region.

Hosking asked about Helen Clark's suggestion letting more people into the country. Ardern said she was asking what more the country could do with border controls.

She said there still had to be health checks conducted by health authorities, with swabbing carried out twice. A critical difference between New Zealand and Victoria was that we've had arrest powers. "I haven't ruled it out but there are still things that would need to be required."

When asked about rumours the fourth pot at Tiwai Point, which had just closed, was reopening, Ardern said she didn't know. "It's not a matter whether Tiwai is going to close or open, what's being debated at the moment is how long they're going to phase out. .. they're in negotiations with Meridian."

When asked whether the Reserve Bank would ease its QE - quantative easing - Ardern said she didn't speculate on that.


When asked about Ihumātao and whether that would be dealt with before the election, Ardern said: "Obviously with Parliament being risen that does put things a bit on the back burner for now."


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has ruled out a deal with NZ First in the critical Northland seat after a new poll that shows NZ First's Shane Jones coming a distant third.

"We have said we wouldn't [do a deal] - and NZ First hasn't asked," Ardern said today, as she campaigned at the Grey Lynn farmers' market in Auckland.

"We have both, as parties, been really clear - we are campaigning as separate parties. I am backing our candidate. We are six weeks out, so there's a lot of water to go under the bridge yet but we are campaigning very hard."

Ardern reiterated that the no-deal stance also applied to the battle in Auckland Central, where the Greens' Chloe Swarbrick is up against Labour's Helen White, and a National candidate yet to be announced.


A Greens win would ensure they returned to Parliament, without having to rely on the 5 per cent party-vote threshold.

"We haven't done deals in the past. I don't see any reason to change that. Winston Peters himself has always been clear himself in not doing deals."

Jones has huge ground to make up if he wants to win the Northland seat and give his party a path back to Parliament without winning 5 per cent of the party vote.

A 1 News Colmar Brunton poll has Jones on just 15 per cent support, with National's Matt King, the incumbent, on 46 per cent and Labour candidate Willow-Jean Prime on 31 per cent.

Ardern on Saturday pledged a $300 million package to protect struggling workers and businesses from the worst impacts of Covid-19.

She announced the policy as she launched her party's re-election campaign in front a packed house of party faithful at the Auckland Town Hall.


In a speech that covered everything from her rapid rise to power three years ago, to the tragedies of the Christchurch mosque attacks and Whakaari/White Island, Ardern said now dealing with the impacts of Covid-19 was "very hard to fathom".

"If you had told me then that our launch in 2020 would be in the midst of a global pandemic with our borders closed – I would have found that very hard to fathom," Ardern said.

"If you'd told me that Clarke and I would have a toddler, I wouldn't have believed we would have been so lucky.

"And if you'd told me that we would have just completed a term in Government with both New Zealand First and the Greens, I'd assume you'd been watching excessive amounts of Stranger Things on Netflix.

"And yet here we are."