Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has described Jacinda Ardern's disclosure that Waikato Hospital tried to discharge her grandfather at 11:30 last night as "a bit edgy" and something "we don't generally do as politicians".
Dr Coleman said bringing close family into the political debate is not a common tactic, and clarified he did not know the specific details of Ms Ardern's grandfather's stay because Waikato Hospital would never release personal medical records.
"We wouldn't go into an individual's files. What I do know is they actually can't identify him anyway because they don't have a name," Dr Coleman said.
"Look I think it's a bit edgy bringing close family into the political debate, that's something we don't generally do as politicians.
"So I don't have information about his individual case but the DHB, and this is right throughout the country, they wouldn't send people home without the right arrangements in place, but they might ask the question if people are clinically fit."
Dr Coleman said it wasn't necessarily unusual to talk about discharging a patient at 11:30pm.
"Well it's not any pressure on those people to go home, but some people at 11:30 at night do want to go home rather than stay in a hospital bed," he said.
A statement from Executive Director Waikato Hospital Services Brett Paradine said they couldn't comment on an individual patient but the hospital has been full the last few days, and the Emergency department overloaded.
"It is our expectation not to discharge anyone without making a clinical assessment that they were safe to discharge and that they had the appropriate supports in place," Mr Paradine said.
"We are sorry that this experience has caused concern for the family and we would be happy to talk to them and look into the circumstances around this situation."
Jacinda Ardern shared the story about her grandfather at a Grey Power meeting in Nelson this morning while speaking about mental health and the health system.
"Do you know what brought this home to me? My grandfather," Ms Ardern said this morning.
"My grandfather was in hospital yesterday in Waikato. At 11.30 at night they tried to discharge him.
"He lives an hour away from the hospital and he's 85-years-old."
Ms Arden said later in a press conference, she "can only assume" someone else in the hospital was kicked out to keep her grandfather in the hospital overnight.