Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters has hit back at Australia's former Prime Minister John Howard's description of the New Zealand election outcome as "disappointing, unjust and unfair" by appearing to compare it to Russian interference in the US election.
John Howard had made his comment in a show of sympathy to National Party supporters at the annual conference last weekend.
Peters said Howard had failed to live up to his nickname of "Honest John" and accused him of trying to interfere in the politics of another country.
"We don't get very enthusiastic when people come over from overseas and start telling us how to run our country.
"Making those sorts of comments begs the question why are you blaming the Russians for the American campaign in 2016 if foreign interference is not a matter of importance?
"Everyone is skipping up and down about that and someone who is a four-time Prime Minister from Australia is here criticising the make-up of this Government without being able to itemise or particularise with any exactitude what on earth he's talking about."
Peters also issued what appeared to be a veiled threat directed at National Party President Peter Goodfellow after Goodfellow said National had "dodged a whisky-swilling, cigarette-smoking, double-breasted and irrational bullet" when Peters opted to side with Labour after the last election.
Peters said Goodfellow should be asked to repeat his comments.
"What is not going to happen here is someone like him thinks he can have a free hit at Winston Peters.
"It's astonishing to me that he's still the President of the National Party and if he opens his mouth, I'll tell you why."
He would not be drawn further on what he was referring to.
In response to Peters' comment Goodfellow said "I would have thought that after nearly 40 years in politics, Winston would have thicker skin."
Goodfellow was re-elected as President at the conference, a post he has held since 2009.
Although Peters has been critical of Australia for its flag, its deportations policy and recent detention of a teenager in an adult facility, Peters said that was "candour" and Australians liked "plain talk".
It was Peters last post-Cabinet press conference as Acting Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will take over again at midnight on Wednesday when Peters leaves for Singapore to attend ASEAN and the East Asia Summit.