"Bungling idiots": Jacinda Ardern's bad week with press

Despite New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern initially being praised for the way her country handled the coronavirus pandemic, it appears the tide has turned.

Her administration has been called "bungling idiots", her coalition government has been accused of "tearing itself apart" and Ardern who was previously seen as untouchable has been accused of telling a "complete lie" about her handling of the pandemic.

Two British visitors on June 7th arrived into the country, where they were placed in hotel quarantine for 14 days.

Six days later, the health ministry decreed that everyone in quarantine would be allowed out after two negative COVID-19 tests.

The two arrivals were allowed to leave quarantine on compassionate grounds and drove 650kms to Wellington to visit a dying relative.

Unfortunately, the pair got lost and met up with a couple of friends who gave them directions. The pair both tested positive for coronavirus after arriving in Wellington.

It has since emerged that the women weren't tested in the hotel, not even once.

Naturally, Ardern said it was an "unacceptable failure" and "cannot be repeated" as it was the nation's first COVID-19 cases for three weeks.

There had already been plenty of early releases from quarantine, with 50 other visitors had been allowed out of quarantine on compassionate grounds with just four people being tested for coronavirus.

If this wasn't bad enough, more news came to light.

Out of the 2,519 people who left quarantine between June 9th and June 16th, most who completed the 14 days in quarantine, only 1,010 were tested for coronavirus.

Of the rest, around 800 people vanished and failed to get into contact with the authorities to arrange a test.

National leader Todd Muller said that the debacle was a "national disgrace".

David Seymour, leader of the minor party ACT was much more direct.

“These bungling idiots couldn't run a bath let alone a border,” he said. “We’re supposed to have the world’s smartest borders. We now have the world’s dumbest borders.”

As election day nears, Senior National MP Judith Collins called into question Ardern's character on The AM Show.

“We have been lied to actually. We have been lied to about the quarantine, about the standard of care," she said.

When asked who had lied, she said "the prime minister and the health ministry".

Labour MP Willie Jackson was having none of the accusations.

“I think we are going a bit over the line if you are going to start accusing the prime minister of lying,” he said on the same show.

“She is a person of huge integrity and very honest.”

He hoped voters would “cut us a bit of slack given the integrity of the prime minister”.

This article originally appeared on Over60.