Bishop Brian Tamaki's comments about the cause of the devastating earthquakes that struck the country have been labelled "ridiculous" by John Key, while the mayor of Kaikoura called them "pathetic".
In a Destiny Church sermon on Sunday, before Monday morning's quake struck killing two and leaving thousands stranded, Tamaki said "sexual perversion" was to blame for natural disasters.
The controversial Tamaki then went on to blame the earthquakes on "gays, sinners, and murderers".
Prime Minister Key said this afternoon that Tamaki's comments were "ridiculous".
"I mean, give me a break," Key told Radiolive.
"Look, you always get people coming out with these stupid statements.
"The facts of life are New Zealand is a seismically prone country, with a number of very well identified fault lines.
"We've been a bit unlucky I think, clearly those plates are moving around a bit.
"It's nothing to do with people's sexuality. I mean, it's just madness."
The mayor of earthquake-ravaged Kaikoura also weighed in, saying comments by Tamaki were "pathetic".
Winston Gray said the comments were ridiculous "in a situation like this".
The mayor said people in the area were still struggling, after Monday morning's massive 7.5 earthquake cut off the town's power, communications, water and transport.
"What pathetic comments," he said.
Quoting the Old Testament, Tamaki told Destiny churchgoers the earth "convulses under the weight of certain human sin."
He then went on to claim in a blog post that he warned people of the quake in an "inspired moment" before his sermon began.
But an Auckland vicar, reverend Helen Jacobi, said Tamaki's comments are "completely illogical," and compared them to blaming sin for child cancer.
A video of Tamaki's sermon is pinned to the top of the Destiny Church Facebook page.
In it, he also blamed a gay priest and the people of Christchurch for the devastating earthquakes that hit Canterbury in 2010 and 2011 which killed 185 people.
A spokeswoman for Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel said she was not available to comment.
Tamaki's sermon continues:
"The land actually speaks to God. Out of the soil ... Abel's blood spoke to God from a murder. The earth can speak. Leviticus says that the earth convulses under the weight of certain human sin.
"It spews itself up after a while - that's natural disasters. Because nature was never created to carry the bondage of our iniquity," Tamaki said.
"God does not send punishment on people in that kind of a way," reverend Jacobi of Auckland church St Matthew-in-the-City said.
"If that was the case, if you followed that to its logical conclusion, a baby dying of cancer would be somehow sinful, and that's ridiculous. It's just completely illogical."
She said the things people and churches should be, and were focusing on in Kaikoura and other places, was gathering and supporting rather than blaming others for the earthquake.
"They should be helping people get through this terrible time and that's where God is seen in our community - by the way people respond," Jacobi said.
She said evidence of God's presence was not in punishment, but in people doing good to help those in need after Monday's disastrous earthquake.
A Destiny Church spokeswoman said: "In view of the terrifying events that have impacted the cities and families of New Zealand over the last few days, our heartfelt condolences go out to the victims affected by the earthquakes and floods over this last week."
She referred the Herald to a blog post by Tamaki, which elaborates further on his Sunday sermon.
Tamaki says that natural disasters are side-effects of environmental pollution, abuse and sexual sins.
Referencing Leviticus, from the Old Testament, he writes: "No other sin in the whole of the bible has any connection to earthquakes, floods and volcanic eruptions, but sexual perversions alone."
In Leviticus, God also warns men not to have sex with varying people including, but not limited to, women with their period, animals, or their sister.