NZ PM's partner blunders in RAT request

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New Zealand's "first bloke" Clarke Gayford has blundered, asking a pharmacist to sell rapid antigen tests to a group of DJ friends contrary to COVID-19 rules.

The unflattering incident took place on December 29, after New Zealand's first community case of the Omicron variant had been detected.

According to Michael Taylor, a pharmacist in Tauranga, Mr Gayford lobbied him to provide the speedy tests to a group of musicians who believed they were close contacts of a community case.

"Just had a group of vaccinated musicians arrive having potentially been exposed want a RAT - explained to them that they needed to have a PCR test done," Mr Taylor posted on the NZ Community Pharmacy Chat Facebook page.

"As they didn't like this they got Clarke Gayford on the phone who proceeded to tell me that there had been a change in the guidance and these people should be given RAT tests.

"When I explained that we had not received any direction from the MoH (Ministry of Health) he was very unimpressed."

Mr Gayford's suggestion to the pharmacist that RATs are available to close contacts was wrong: New Zealand is yet to roll out the tests to wider community use.

According to the NZ Herald, Mr Gayford apologised in a statement issued from his manager.

"Mr Gayford was rung by a friend about Rapid Antigen Testing and was put on speakerphone while the person was in a pharmacy," it read.

"He apologises for any issues or confusion this may have caused the pharmacy staff."

The 44-year-old is a celebrity in his own right in New Zealand, well known as a DJ and radio host, and more recently as a television presenter of shows including Extraordinary Kiwis, Fish of the Day and Moving Houses.

Mr Gayford and partner Jacinda Ardern are due to marry later this month, with local media reporting new details of a lavish affair.

Pop star Lorde will reportedly sing at the nuptials, hosted at a farm homestead owned by billionaire John Griffin near Gisborne, on North Island's east coast.

Ms Ardern is on her annual summer break, returning to business as usual next week.

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