Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters got personal in a television interview this morning, slamming host Jack Tame's use of Te Reo Māori and asking if he was "a slow learner".
Tame interviewed the New Zealand First leader on TVNZ's political show Q+A this morning - and was faced with a slew of insults as he tried to get responses from the politician.
The interview started with Tame questioning Peters on National's $31 billion infrastructure plan, then began to sour somewhat when he moved to the topic of the Ihumātao occupation.
Fletcher Building purchased the land near Auckland Airport in 2014 for a planned 480-dwelling housing development, but protesters from the Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) movement say it should be returned to Māori.
The company has been in talks with Government ministers, Auckland Council and mana whenua - including those occupying the land - to try bring the controversial dispute to an end.
Tame put to Peters that a resolution was imminent.
"I understand from multiple sources that a Government deal to buy the land at Ihumatao is as good as done - but you oppose it," he said.
"False. False," Peters replied, talking over the top of the host.
"Your statement right then is just false."
Tame responded: "Okay, what is the truth?"
"Well there is no such deal. I'll just give you the truth - there is, Jack, no such deal," said Peters, continuing to speak over Tame.
"No, stop now - please don't have this campaign run on shibboleths and half truths - there is no such deal.
"I can go to Ihumātao now, the people on the ground, the people that keep the place warm, the people who down the centuries in Māori law are the ones to be listened to and they will tell me there is no deal.
"So please don't ask someone who began his career in law defending European and Maori land owners that I don't know what I'm talking about."
Tame reposed his question to Peters.
"No, that's not what I said. I simply want to know if you oppose using Crown funds to buy land at Ihumātao?"
Peters then began to speak about the need for "one standard of citizenship" in New Zealand and as he listened, Tame responded by saying "mmmm" several times.
That response seemed to be like a red rag to a bull for the politician.
"No, don't say hmm mmm mmm and speak Māori on TV and tell me as though you understand it," he said.
Tame, known for his learning of Te Reo and his increasing use of it on television, simply said "Tena koe" as Peters carried on his rant.
"Let me tell you, the Māori in this country are screaming out for a thing called equality - and it's not paternalism, and it's not big government telling Māori they know what to do, and it's not the Māori brown table creaming it off their own people while their people at the bottom get nothing," he said.
"I understand that."
Tame then moved on, broaching the issue of cameras on fishing vessels.
Earlier this month a recording of Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash speaking in 2018 was leaked in which he says Winston Peters and Shane Jones delayed the monitoring system.
Nash later admitted his claims were wrong.
When Tame put the matter to Peters, the leader went off again.
"No no, stop there, no Jack, I'm not going to let you ... please Jack, I don't want to come on here and argue with you.
"Mr Nash apologised and said he was wrong for saying that ... Jack, you're not going to put away a falsity on this programme, in the middle of this campaign and get away with it."
Tame persists with the line of questioning and Peters looks away to someone off camera, smirks and says:
"Jack are you a slow learner? I just said to you, you're repeating that. [Nash] said I apologise, what I said was not true - is that not good enough for you?
"Please don't come on this show and think you're going to get away with that sort of innuendo and defamation."
He blasted Tame further when grilled about recent poll results.
"Why are you doing so poorly in the polls?" said Tame, who remained unflustered during the strange exchanges.
"Because we're not," Peters shot back.
"How are you not? You're at 1.8 per cent according to the latest Colmar Brunton poll?"
Peters laughed before he responded.
"You don't get it Jack, do you?
"Since 1993 every poll except 2017 has got us dramatically wrong.
"Do you know anything about politics Jack?
"What do you know ... I know a little bit about it, my party's survived for 27 years being put down, traduced, marginalised, and Cinderella-ised by you guys only for you to, on election night, climb through the door and ask me what's going to happen next."
Tame then turned to coalition negotiations, clearly trying to retrack Peters.
"When it comes to coalition negotiations how do you decide what party you're going to work with?" he asked.
"According to your polls there aren't going to be any coalition negotiations so why ask the question?
"Jack, be a nice guy, don't you believe your question?"
After further back and forth, in which Peters accused Tame of having "the most shallow interpretation of politics" the veteran politician was asked about his health.
He has recently spent time in hospital for an undisclosed medical matter.
"I feel great, and thank you for asking - thank you for all your prayers while I was in hospital by the way, Because God answered them and so I'm so delighted to know that you're interested," Peters said.
"I'm glad that you'll be full of beans for the election campaign," a nonplussed Tame replied.
"I most certainly will be," Peters said.
Tame, aptly, then ended the segment by saying "Tena koe" to the grinning leader.