An auctioneer has received death threats for posting a video in which he told would-be home buyers "anyone can bid 'cause Winston Peters is not here".
The video shows independent auctioneer Aaron Davis at a central Auckland property sale about a week ago.
"Anyone can bid 'cause Winston Peters is not here today," Davis said in the video, which he posted to his own Facebook page.
"I don't do political jokes, do I, because frankly too many have been elected," he said.
New Zealand First leader Peters is well-known for his stance against foreign buyers snapping up New Zealand homes. His party's policies include: "Non-residents who are not New Zealand citizens would be ineligible for home ownership except if a genuine need to do so can be demonstrated," according to party's website.
The video, which by this morning had been viewed over 6000 times, was shared to the Facebook page NZ Property - Residents ONLY where it had attracted vitriol from many of the 139 commenters.
"F***n kill him," one person said.
"Winston would knock this guy out in a fight to the death," said another.
Other comments included: "Corporate baby boomer scum"; "Yea sure don't make any jokes ... but happily sell out NZ for a buck"; "Yip looks like a traitor"; "manipulator getting his money on the day, run your name in the mud"; and "Hope you still have time for swimming Aaron!"
Davis said he'd also received many personal messages, including one expressing the writer's wish that he crash into a power pole.
He told the Herald that what he said during the auction was "light-hearted fun".
His comments were a response to what Peters said last week after a colleague of his had sold a house sold to an Asian buyer and received "horrific" online criticism.
Peters said that the agent had "rubbed New Zealanders nose in the fact foreigners are snapping up properties", Newshub reported.
"That's where the comment came from," Davis said. "In a way I'm just trying to stand up for the profession.
"I've got bills to pay and mouths to feed like every other New Zealander and I'm here to do a job and my job is to put the crowd at ease and to find the very best buyer for my seller."
He would sell a property to anyone who was legally entitled to buy it and it was up to the government, not the real estate industry, to decide who could buy a house, Davis said.
Despite the threats, Davis said he was not worried.
"I've been in contact with a whole lot of these keyboard warriors and said, 'Hey, you can give me a call anytime, here's my number'. The irony is that not one of them gives you a call."
Davis said he had nothing against Peters; he had just become a figurehead for the movement to keep New Zealand houses for New Zealanders.
"It was just a light-hearted comment that I made and if people can't see the humour in that then I feel sorry for them."
Peters classified Davis as a "lily-livered lounge lizard".
"He started off by being a smart arse and thought he could use my name in vain, right? He thinks he's clever he had - by the look of it - a house full of foreigners sitting there," he said.
"It's typical of certain people. They'd never tell to your face, they'd never confront you, never have a debate with you but they're basically those that I call lily-livered lounge lizards that think there are no consequences to what they say and apparently there are."
Asked about the comments Davis had been receiving, Peters said he "couldn't give a rat's derriere" if Davis was now uncomfortable.
"Maybe his highly inflated real estate commission will ease his having to face criticism."
One of the three administrators of the NZ Property - Residents ONLY Facebook page, Dharmesh Parikh, was shocked when informed by the Herald of the comments the post had been receiving. He did not publish that particular post himself, he said.
Parikh, an Indian-born New Zealander, said he usually rigorously monitored the page's comments but because of a sick child and other circumstances had been unable to do so this week. He would be removing any content he deemed to be inappropriate.
Parikh said the page had been set up to highlight the struggles many New Zealanders were facing in trying to find a home, and to put pressure on the government and local authorities to address the issue. It had never been intended to be a space for such hateful comments, he said.