When economist Gareth Morgan launched his bid for Parliament last year, he compared himself to Donald Trump because of his anti-establishment approach.

The two men now have another thing in common - a tendency to be short and sharp on Twitter.

Morgan, the leader of The Opportunities Party, was involved in an extraordinary argument on the social media site Sunday night in which he called critics "whores" and raged against "bottom feeding" tourists and "PC culture" in New Zealand.

The argument started when Morgan criticised Tourism Minister Paula Bennett's decision to rule out a tax on tourists because it would make New Zealand too expensive to visit.


Morgan tweeted that a tourist tax was not about imposing costs, but about "crap people, crapping on us with contempt, bottom feeders and bleeders". He suggested a ban on camping in public places unless in a self-contained camper.

Many on Twitter agreed with the idea. But those that didn't got short shrift from Morgan, who called them "idiots", "doormats", and on one occasion "Dumbkopf".

"What's your address. Can they come and shit on your lawn?" he said to one Twitter critic.

Another person suggested New Zealanders were just as bad as tourists, prompting Morgan to say: "How can you differentiate a Kiwi shit from a foreign one?" and "Visitors shouldn't have the same rights anyway".

When challenged on that comment, he added: "Only whores will do anything for money. Where are your values man - or can you be bought off 4 a few dimes."

Morgan continued tweeting for around two hours, momentarily going off topic to praise the Wellington Phoenix, which he part-owns, for their A-League win against the Melbourne Victory.

But the argument didn't end there. At 7am today, Morgan started where he left off.

"One whiner last night had 162,000 tweets," he tweeted. "That's a social media whore."


Speaking to the Herald, Morgan said he stood by his comments and did not believe he was behaving badly.

He admitted that it was partly a strategy to get attention.

"I always do it. It's nothing to be wound up about. It's something I've always done and it's the way that I get cut-through, whether I'm in a meeting of government servants or whatever. If you do that then people actually focus. Otherwise it's just a grey dirge."

He added: "It's a technique I've used forever, where you throw the marbles across the dancefloor and see what happens."

Morgan said he preferred to talk to voters directly, rather than through media, and this could be done through sites like Twitter.