Broadcaster Mike Hosking has hit back at claims from Winston Peters that he is a "National Party stooge" whose "jowls are up the prime minister's cheeks".
On his Newstalk ZB show this morning, before a break, Hosking said: "I need to deal with Mr Peters and his small pop at me yesterday.
Hosking said Mr Peters must have woken up grumpy, bored and in need of a headline to have made his attack.
He said any links between him being a National Party stooge and an article on dairy prices he wrote last week for the NZ Herald were non-existent.
"I didn't even mention the National Party at all because the two issues are not related," Hosking said.
"Winston also claims that I claim to be an expert in dairy. I make no such claim at all."
Hosking said he was simply referring to arguments from actual experts in the matter: Fonterra and Federated Farmers.
"The only arguments that I make that move into the area of commentary is that experts are not panicking."
Meantime, Mr Peters and Mr Little were "wandering the country being overly negative".
Hosking said it was lucky his name wasn't Michael Chow, as Mr Little would probably have accused him of being a foreign investor.
In a NZ Herald column Mr Peters laid into a piece penned by Hosking last week called: Miserly peddlers are miling a crisis?
"It is the clearest sign yet that Mr Hosking is a National Party stooge. So much so, his show should be counted against National's electoral advertising," Mr Peters wrote.
And his stinging criticism didn't stop there.
"Mr Hosking's bias is such that after 2014 General Election he delivered this dispassionate assessment of the prime minister: 'John Key gets it. Most of us are aspirational, most of us see good things when there are good things to see. And most of us want more of where that came from.' On the controversial decision to send our men and women into in Iraq, he uncritically described the prime minister's decision as 'brave and honourable.'
"And if you are looking for the hard questions and a conversation on the flag you can forget it. His critique of the alternatives was stinging: 'I think we can safely say that they're a good bunch by in large and we do not lack for choice'. Mr Hosking's jowls are up the prime minister's cheeks and the quality of public debate suffers."
Hosking attracted some support, with National government minister Steven Joyce tweeting: "Opposition politicians outraged that a commentator is allowed to have a different view to them."
This sparked some furious debate with other Twitter users.