National leader Judith Collins said that she's not responsible for the amount of time spent discussing changing the name of the country to Aotearoa, rather than other issues like Auckland's teetering walking and cycling bridge.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Act leader David Seymour said yesterday the country had more important issues to debate.
When asked by the Herald about the amount of time she spent debating the idea of a referendum on changing the country's name, Collins said she wasn't raising the issue; the media was.
"I wasn't actually raising it," Collins said.
"We're certainly hearing it around the country. We're not raising it apart from that. It's taking off. It's got legs," Collins said.
Collins continued to raise the issue today, tweeting a survey of AM Show viewers, which showed most people in favour of the English name.
"Whatever it is - these issues come up. I'm not going out raising it, but you guys want to talk about it," Collins said.
Ardern disagreed with the idea of a referendum, telling The Country a name change referendum was the last thing on her mind.
"I imagine its the last thing on many other people's minds."
"I frankly think people can call a country whatever they like, I genuinely don't care what people call New Zealand. It's a matter for them," Ardern said.
Seymour agreed, telling The AM Show there were "bigger issues" to talk about.
"Personally, I say New Zealand, I'm not interested in going out and policing what other people say, and I know a lot of young people out there who say you can call it Timbuktu if you like, so long as I can afford a house there," Seymour said.
Collins spent a large portion of her weekly media appearances responding to concerns raised by her Kaikoura MP Stuart Smith that the country's name was being changed from New Zealand to Aotearoa-New Zealand, or simply Aotearoa.
Smith said there should be a referendum on the name change. This is despite the country's official name being just "New Zealand", and no proposal from the Government to change the name either with or without a referendum.
Collins agreed with the idea of a referendum on any change.
"People are starting to get, I think, quite tetchy about that, they're feeling like they're not being included in that debate.
"The public has a right to vote."