'Gloves off' for Bennett, Ardern on The AM Show

National and Labour deputy leaders Paula Bennett and Jacinda Arden have gone head-to-head on Friday morning, over National MP Nikki Kaye's attack on the latter.

Ms Kaye accused the new Mt Albert MP of being all show and no substance, and will do "a whole lot of photo ops".

"I've been in Auckland Central for eight years, and I struggle to name anything Jacinda has done", she said in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon.

"She'll be across every billboard, but she absolutely failed our generation on her first day in the job."

Ms Ardern was surprised, but says she has shaken it off.

During their weekly panel interview on The AM Show, host Duncan Garner asked Ms Bennett if she agreed with Ms Kaye's statements.

"She called her out on something she feels really, really strong about… It's calling her out," Ms Bennett said.

"It's not [personal] actually, that's about her work and her proven accountability, that's what we do in Parliament, I get it every week!"

Things got tense when Ms Ardern said: "I just know that Nikki doesn't believe that."

Ms Bennett was quick to retort: "That is so condescending Jacinda, that is absolutely condescending."

"That's my position and I've shrugged it off because it's politics," Ms Ardern defended.

"I don't actually think she believes that, because we've worked side-by-side, she knows the case work I've done, she knows what I've done locally, so I'm going to shrug it off."

But Ms Bennett had some leadership advice for Labour's new deputy leader.

"I think it's really condescending to say 'I think Nikki didn't mean it'," she said.

"Of course she meant what she stood up and said and she's got every right to say it. It's robustness, and when you step into leadership roles, you are going to be called out and times that's going to be uncomfortable, and at times you are going to disagree."

Ms Ardern maintained that her experience with Ms Kaye, as two-time Auckland Central electorate candidates, showed they had always been respectful of each other.

"She's changed her tune on that - her prerogative - but I'm going to stick to the way I do politics and that's not to be personal."

"Watch that moral high ground though," Ms Bennett warned, "It gets pretty wobbly up there."

"You can get altitude sickness," Garner chipped in.

"Me too I've visited and it wasn't a good place to be," Ms Bennett said.

"Great to have you on, I look forward to this every Friday," Garner summed up.

"We'll call it the 'Gloves Off' or something."

Newshub. 

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