Fox News host Tucker Carlson has taken aim at New Zealand's Covid response in a televised rant that included mocking Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and misrepresenting our response as locking down over a single case of Covid.
Carlson criticised New Zealand, and Australia, to support his contention that the US Democratic Party was using the Covid crisis to split the nation in two.
"Our formerly middle-class nation now has a serf class, and they are the ones wearing the masks," he droned.
"We now have two groups of Americans, not a broad middle. We have the favoured and the un-favoured. We have the saved and the damned.
"We have the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. That is exactly how the architects of all of this see the country."
He then looked to New Zealand as an example of where these "bad attitudes" could lead.
In a white supremacist dog whistle, Carlson referred to New Zealand as "a famously placid outpost in the fast-shrinking Anglosphere" and told his viewers that New Zealand had shut down over a single case of Covid.
In reality, New Zealand was placed under level 4 restrictions after one case was identified on August 17.
Other cases were quickly found and the current outbreak now numbers in the hundreds.
He then shared a clip of Jacinda Ardern asking Kiwis to stick to their bubbles, not talk to their neighbours, and wear a mask.
Describing Ardern as "the lady with the teeth" Tucker said: "She is considered super
impressive, visionary really. 'Don't talk to your neighbours. Stay in your
bubble.' That's New Zealand. "
But Carlson saved his real venom for Australia, breathlessly describing "the end of Australia" as "totalitarianism" takes over the country.
"No one in Australia is laughing at this," Carlson said.
"No one can stand back far enough to see the lunacy on display. They are too far gone."
Tucker Carlson is the latest foreign pundit to take issue with New Zealand's widely-praised Covid response, following hot takes from Brits such as Nigel Farage.
Despite the Covid death toll in the UK, Farage and others including Kiwi Dan Wootton variously described our response as "a never ending nightmare" and New Zealand as "an isolated dystopia".
The Government is still pursuing an elimination strategy and has found support from
epidemiologist Sir David Skegg, who has said continuing on the lockdown course was the best option to eradicate Delta and if we continued on this track could expect to emerge in a few weeks' time.
"Unfortunately there's no easy way out. I'd love to say Santa Claus exists but unfortunately whatever we do in New Zealand we are going to have some tough times ahead," he told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking.