Accidentally calling his deputy leader "Paula Benefit" is the least of Simon Bridges' worries says Winston Peters.
Bridges was speaking to Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking, when he made the on-air gaffe.
"That is a slip of the tongue and the problem is when something is humorous like that ... you're likely to repeat it because of that comical nature, so I don't blame him for that" Peters told The Country's Jamie Mackay.
While Peters was willing to let Bridges' slip-up slide, he was less forgiving about the National Party Leader in general.
"Simon's problem ... is that Simon's just not authentic. He's bombastic. He doesn't speak to people - he speaks at people. And he's not strategic in his thinking".
One example of Bridges non-strategic thinking was supposedly writing off NZ First as a coalition partner, said Peters.
"You don't go and rule out someone who's been around for the length of time that New Zealand First has been. Where we have held the balance of power in so many cases - or just missed out by one or two seats in all the other times - you don't go and make a stupid statement like that".
The National Party was facing a leadership challenge now, but it wouldn't be an easy road once the dust had settled, said Peters.
"How are they going to construct the kind of strategic policy that's needed for a party like them, coming into the election on the ... 19th of September?"
"Because the reality is there's only one way back now and it's hard work, smart thinking and it's exports and added value".
There was only one way to get New Zealand up and running and Peters had it summed up in one four-letter word.
"The four letters are w-o-r-k that in fact are going to bring us back to economic success. We've got all the capacity, we've got opportunity, we've got some advantages, but there's no short cuts now".
Also in today's interview: Peters talked about whether he would entertain a potential coalition government with Todd Muller and Nikki Kaye, along with extra public holidays and the importance of water storage.