National leader Judith Collins has defended the rare decision to pull out of her weekly appearance on RNZ's Morning Report.
Collins said Morning Report had informed her chief press secretary John Mitchell that it intended to ask about the departure of three staff from the National Party leader's office, which runs the party's political operations.
"The press secretary said that they wanted to talk about staffing and Parliamentary Service staff in the National Leaders' Office and that's simply not acceptable.
"We don't discuss staff. It's not fair and we're not going to breach their privacy," Collins said.
The decision to pull out of the interview was made by Mitchell, not Collins.
Collins did not resile from her decision to call microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles a "big, fat hypocrite," for cycling to the beach during lockdown and watching a friend go for a swim.
This was despite Wiles' actions being within Covid-19 rules.
Collins, by contrast, was caught over the weekend ordering an ice cream without a mask, which is a violation of Covid-19 restrictions.
"I was very clear that it looked extremely hypocritical," Collins said of Wiles.
Collins said the rules were unclear.
"If Dr Shane Reti and I find the rules unclear, imagine how the rest of the public find them," Collins said.
"It's very unclear, it's poorly presented to the public," she said.
"People will make their own decision on what a level 4 lockdown allows someone to do. I am very clear that I would have been better to keep the mask on for one or two minutes," she said.
Collins said the Government's decision on Monday to move Auckland to alert level 3 settings was a clear abandonment of the elimination strategy - something the Government denies.
"It's very clear they're not - we've got more cases in the community yesterday, and they still went to level 3," Collins said.
"Ashley Bloomfield has said we're going to continue to get cases in the community all the way through - that is not elimination," she said.
Ardern and Bloomfield have said elimination does not necessarily mean zero cases of Covid in the community, rather it means zero tolerance for the virus.
Collins said it was a "political decision", but she would have "absolutely" done the same thing.
Collins said level 4 measures were "not working", because no one was following them.
"That's not working. We can't rely on people constantly abiding by these rules when they see that other people aren't' - five weeks in a lockdown in Auckland is outrageous," Collins said.
She said the Government needed to do better with vaccinations and rapid antigen testing, something which the Government has steadfastly refused to adopt.
Collins would not say whether she would relax level 3 restrictions in Auckland in a fortnight, when they are next up for review.
Ardern has set a vaccination target of 90 per cent in Auckland - a target National had asked Labour to commit to in Parliament - Collins said that this alert level decision was hypothetical.