Green MP Chloe Swarbrick has hit back at a suggestion by her rival Auckland Central candidate that she's merely "a celebrity".
Swarbrick and Labour's Helen White are competing for the seat left vacant by departing National MP Nikki Kaye – and an Epsom-style deal has already been ruled out by Labour.
White told RNZ that she saw National – which is yet to name its new candidate for the seat – as her main opponent for the seat, rather than Swarbrick.
Quizzed about Swarbrick's higher profile and name recognition, White told RNZ: "I'd ask them whether they're looking for a celebrity or someone to do this job very seriously."
Today, Swarbrick returned fire with a pointed tweet.
"Before I fought my way into @NZParliament with @NZGreens, I was dismissed as having no life experience," she wrote.
"Now I've put my head down & done the work to huge results, & a candidate preferring themselves the front runner is using the same attacks against me that misogynists do our PM?"
Her tweet has received more than 600 likes and dozens of comments.
Kaye won 45 per cent of the candidate vote in 2017, but only 39 per cent ticked National.
The seat was held by Labour for decades until Kaye beat Judith Tizard in 2008, becoming the first National MP to win the seat.
Polls indicate support for the Greens hovering around the 5 per cent threshold needed to return to Parliament without an electorate seat, but White has repeatedly said there'd be no electoral accommodation for Swarbrick.
White is number 50 on Labour's list, meaning the party would need to win about 42 per cent of the party vote for her to become an MP if she failed to win the seat.
She already has name recognition in the seat as she stood in 2017, when Kaye defeated her by only 1581 votes. Labour won 38 per cent support in the seat, but White managed to secure 40 per cent of the candidate votes.
Swarbrick ran in Maungakiekie in 2017 and got almost 12 per cent of the candidate vote, more than twice the Green's party vote in the seat at 5.89 per cent.
But she didn't campaign for the electorate vote then.