'Slight distraction': 5.9 magnitude earthquake interrupts PM

A magnitude 5.9 earthquake has rocked the central North Island this morning and has been felt across the country.

GeoNet said it struck 30 km south-west of Taumarunui. It was recorded at a depth of 210km.

The quake has been felt as far north as Auckland in the North Island, and Christchurch in the South Island.

More than 4000 people have responded to GeoNet's online alert about the quake that they felt it; the majority in the central and lower North Island.

During today's announcement on a pathway to fewer Covid-19 restrictions Prime MinisterJacinda Ardern, paused briefly as the earthquake rattled Wellington.

Ardern briefly grabbed her podium when the shaking began, smiled, and told a reporter asking a question: "Sorry, a slight distraction ... would you mind repeating that question?"

She told reporters at the end of the event that Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson, who was also on the stage, was not entirely convinced it was an earthquake and wondered if it was just strong wind blowing.

With Reuters


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