The Prime Minister's office says the Government played no part in the inclusion of a picture book about Jacinda Ardern appearing in a flyer marketing books directly to school children.
This morning's Sideswipe column highlighted one reader's issue with the book "being flogged to school kids leading up to an election".
The Scholastic Book Club included the book, Taking The Lead by David Hill and Phoebe Morris, in its latest flyer distributed to schools.
The book tells the story of Ardern's life and rise to power and is described by Scholastic as an "inspiring illustrated story".
"The Scholastic Book Club flyer arrived home in the kids school bags this week and I just about spat my Weetbix out!" the complaint read.
"Ugh…Nothing like a cloying picture book about a political leader being flogged to school kids leading up to an election… It's enough to make the PM herself cringe."
The book features in the flyer alongside less politically charged titles such as Olivia's Secret Scribbles, Whitney and Britney: Chicken Divas and Fartboy: Ready, Aim, Fart.
Despite being marketed directly to New Zealanders well below the voting age, many complained on social media about the book.
"Blatant indoctrination," said one, while others suggested that the children's title was akin to Chairman Mao's Little Red Book and dubbed it "propaganda at its worst".
Others were relaxed about the book being marketed to children, saying that book was merely recording history and it would be up to parents and children to choose if they wanted to buy it.
One linked the negative feedback to the viral Turn Ardern movement, in which disgruntled voters turning books and magazines featuring Ardern over in bookshops and libraries.
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The Prime Minister's office told the Herald that "the Ministry of Education has no direct involvement with Scholastic New Zealand Limited and nor would the Government have involvement in what the club choses to promote".
Scholastic refused to comment.
The book was launched in March by Penguin NZ and is part of a series on prominent New Zealanders.
Penguin's head of publishing Claire Murdoch told the Herald that the Prime Minister had no association with the book, one of a number about Jacinda Ardern recently published by international and NZ publishers for adults and children.
"We submit all our locally published picture books to various booksellers, including Scholastic, in the hope they'll include them in their catalogues, but we don't control what gets chosen or which catalogues they'll appear in," she said.