New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has taken legal action against MediaWorks over comments from broadcaster Mark Richardson.

Newshub chief news officer Hal Crawford said the defamation action was an attempt to shut down legitimate satire and opinion in an election year.

"We reject the idea that the colourful language which was used here could have damaged Mr Peters' reputation."

Richardson, a former Black Cap and host on The AM Show, made the comments in July, during a discussion about Peters' criticism of the Government after State Highway 3 through the Manawatu Gorge was closed.

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Richardson said Peters was a "political predator" and took advantage of civil unrest to grandstand, attaching himself to an injury like a "political white blood cell", or pus.

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern recently objected to comments from Richardson that employers needed to know if a woman was planning on having children. Those comments were made after Ardern had been asked about media if she wanted children, following her elevation to the Labour leadership.