Finance Minister Grant Robertson has lashed out at British media personality Katie Hopkins, calling her an "idiot" and a "publicity seeker" for her criticisms of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern following the Sri Lanka bombings.
On Sunday, Hopkins tweeted that she expected the Prime Minister to "be dressed as the Pope, ringing church bells across New Zealand and praying in Latin in Parliament by noon".
The comment was a reference to Ardern donning a hijab in a sign of solidarity for Muslim communities in New Zealand after the Christchurch terrorist attack at two mosques last month.
Ardern was silent on Hopkins' comments yesterday, but Robertson didn't hold back this morning.
"She is an idiot," Robertson told the AM Show.
"I am not sure if she thinks that Jacinda is the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka as well as the Prime Minister of New Zealand.
"Katie Hopkins is a publicity seeker, and I hope that's the last time I say her name on TV."
Robertson said everyone should have the freedom to worship and follow their religious beliefs without the threat of being targeted.
"The fact is, it doesn't matter to me whether you are worshipping in a mosque or worshipping in a catholic church. You have a right to be able to do that and express your faith," he told the AM Show.
"In New Zealand, it was a mosque and I think the Prime Minister behaved completely appropriately in those circumstances, and we have expressed our devastation at what's happened."
Many Twitter users defended Ardern in response to Hopkins' comment.
Your move @jacindaardern— Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) April 21, 2019
I expect you to be dressed as the Pope, ringing church bells across #NZ and praying in Latin in Parliament by noon.
165 dead. 400 wounded (35 from overseas) #SriLanka pic.twitter.com/55dD7zaTCc
One said: "Whatever the Prime Minister does will be immeasurably more welcome and useful than anything you have ever said."