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Bennett and Ardern clash on TV

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 16/03/2017
© Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

Jacinda Ardern is trying to brush off Nikki Kaye's attack in parliament but Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett says the National MP meant what she said and had a right to say it.

Labour's new deputy leader clashed with Ms Bennett on Newshub's AM Show on Friday over Ms Kaye's caustic comments in parliament on Wednesday.

Ms Kaye said Ms Ardern would be good for photo ops but she had a problem remembering anything the MP had done.

Ms Kaye described the leadership reshuffle as "a cosmetic facelift".

AM Show host Duncan Garner asked Ms Bennett whether she agreed with Ms Kaye's comments.

At that point Ms Ardern butted in and told Garner: "I'm right here, don't make it awkward", but the show went on.

Garner: "What Nikki Kaye said was Jacinda's all show and no substance... and just wants to be on the front of a magazine."

Ms Bennett: "That's not personal, that's about her work and accountability... when you step into leadership roles you are going to be called out, and sometimes it's going to be uncomfortable."

Ms Ardern questioned whether Ms Kaye had believed what she was saying.

"I just know Nikki doesn't believe that... we worked side by side, she knows the case work I've done, she knows what I've done locally, so I'm going to shrug it off."

Ms Bennet retorted: "That is so condescending, I think it's really condescending to go `Nikki didn't mean it' - of course Nikki meant what she stood up and said, and she's got every right to say it."

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