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Business admits 'naughty' face mask advert used official Covid-19 branding as officials investigate

A business selling face masks admits they were being "naughty boys" by using the official Covid-19 branding in their adverts, after officials from the Government got in touch.

An advert for face masks using the official United Against Covid-19 branding. Source: Supplied / Erik Johnson

The posters contain the vivid yellow diagonals used in the Government's official briefings, as well as the Unite Against Covid-19 logo and directions to the Covid19.govt.nz website.

Visually, it matches the official announcements and graphics used by the Covid-19 Government group.

Questions were raised after it was first photographed at Dunedin bus hub.

The advert, which directs to a site for company Masks New Zealand, describes the new rules coming into force from Monday which will require people travelling on public transport to wear face coverings.

It adds: "With some great tutorial videos online, you can make your own or buy online from great reliable companies such as" with a link to the private business's website in a large black font.

A spokesperson for the business confirmed to 1 NEWS they have posters up around the country.

When asked whether the use of the Covid-19 logos implied it was an official organisation, the man responded that they had been "bloody naughty" and were "very naughty boys". 

He also described seeing money "pouring into the accounts" from sales after the posters went up.

An advert for face masks using the official United Against Covid-19 branding. Source: Supplied / Erik Johnson

A spokesperson for the Covid-19 All-Of-Government Response Group said the graphics can only be used for non-commercial purposes, but "must make it clear it comes from the covid19.govt.nz website and is owned by the Crown".

"The New Zealand Government logo and all other logos, icons, emblems, and trade marks on the site are protected by law," the spokesperson told 1 NEWS.

"You must not copy or use any logo, icon, emblem, or trade mark without express permission and compliance with applicable laws."

As a result, it's unlikely the advert abides by those restrictions.

The Government spokesperson says they'll work to make contact with anyone who "misuses" the Covid-19 content, "to educate them on its terms of use".

The spokesperson confirmed the response group has contacted the business in question to "educate" them and says no further action will be taken at this time.

During the first lockdown in April, a wine retailer was asked to remove an "inappropriate" advert that used the Government's signature yellow diagonal lines.

Unlike this advert, it did not include the official Unite Against Covid-19 logo.