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Health Minister apologises after breaching Covid-19 lockdown with mountain bike ride

Health Minister Dr David Clark has apologised to the Prime Minister after he breached lockdown regulations during a bike ride earlier this week.

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David Clark told TVNZ1’s Q+A it was about New Zealanders following the rules that impact the time period in Alert Level 4. Source: Q+A

Dr Clark's Toyota Hiace van with his face painted on the side was photographed at Dunedin's Signal Hill mountain bike trail over 2kms from his home.

The minister's vist to the mountain bike trail goes against the Ministry of Health's guidelines during lockdown which urge Kiwis to venture outside for essential trips such as supermarket shopping, going to the pharmacy or for essential travel.

Although exercise outside is encouraged it should only be within the community. And there are warnings not to take part in dangerous activities which might mean emergency services or rescuers have to be called out.

The photo, which was published last night, comes after Auckland beach goers and Dunedin surfers were told to go home for breaking new lockdown regulations. 

In a statement this afternoon, Jacinda Ardern says Dr Clark has apologised for his misjudgment.

"I spoke to the Health Minister last night, who apologised to me," Ms Ardern said.

"It's my expectation that ministers set the standards we are asking New Zealanders to follow.

"People can go outside to get fresh air and drive short distances if needed, but we have asked people to avoid activities where there is a higher risk of injury, and the Minister should have followed that guidance."

The news comes as New Zealand enters its second week of coronavirus lockdown, the nation at Alert Level four of Covid-19 response.