Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has admitted she "made a mistake" when pictured taking a selfie with supporters in Palmerston North without approriate social distancing.
Neither Ardern nor any of the supporters in the photo were wearing a mask.
National leader Judith Collins said she was "staggered" to see photos of the Labour leader taken last week.
Ardern apologised for the lack of social distancing at today's 1pm press conference.
"In that particular photo I made a mistake," Ardern said.
She said she "worked hard" not to shake hands and keep her distance, in response to criticisms of a group selfie taken in Palmerston North.
"Yes I should have moved further forwards and I should have asked them to step apart as well.
"It is hard," she said. "I will keep up, as I have, those awkward moments where I refuse to shake hands."
Collins took aim at Ardern when asked if she thought Auckland should move out of alert level 2.5.
Speaking to reporters this morning, Collins pivoted away from questions about what call Ardern should make today regarding Auckland's alert levels, instead choosing to draw into question if the Labour leader was properly social distancing.
"I was staggered to see the Prime Minister clearly not socially distancing with no mask just the other day in Palmerston North in a level 2 lockdown," she said.
Under the alert level settings outside of Auckland, a mask is not required and gathering limits are 100 – but Ardern has emphasised the need for people to "be vigilant" and social distance when they can.
She has previously said that mask use is not a replacement for social distancing and that it must be in addition to it.
"I wouldn't want anyone to think of you've got a mask, you can then be in close proximity to strangers, we're asking for both," she said at a recent press conference.
Collins said this morning that Ardern "didn't look very worried about a whole group of people around her and selfies going on".
"Clearly she has no concern about it," she said.
Asked if it was hypocritical, she said: "I would have thought most people would have thought that – they will see it for what it is".
She continued: "People aren't stupid, you know," before adding, "the public will make their own minds up about who's hypocritical".
Collins is not the first MP to criticise Ardern in relation to the photo.
Act leader David Seymour went as far as questioning if Ardern was really part of the team of five million after she "clearly flouted the rules she has asked us to live by".
"Hospitality businesses are going broke at alert level 2 because of a single server and social distance rules.
"Meanwhile, the person responsible for the rules is breaking them – small business owners will be angry."