Duncan Garner has called out filmmaker Taika Waititi after he said in an interview he's ashamed of his homeland.
The Thor: Ragnarok director, who won New Zealander of the Year 2017, told Marae the country's reputation overseas isn't the reality.
"I'm not very proud of coming from a place that everyone overseas thinks it's this pure, clean, green country but, in reality, all our lakes and waterways are poison.
"We've got a lot to learn about our depression rates, our suicide rates, teen suicide rates, child poverty numbers and the housing crisis."
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But AM Show host Garner told viewers on Thursday morning while Waititi makes a point, he's missed the mark.
"He's a brilliant guy, a really talented guy.
"But he's wrong. [The rivers are] not all poison. Some of them are pretty dodgy I agree - but not all poison, and he was New Zealander of the year, this year, 2017. So he's an ambassador for New Zealand now.
"You cannot be this treasonous about your own country. You cannot say you're not proud to be a New Zealander if you're the New Zealander of the year.
Garner says Waititi's "heart's in the right place" by addressing mental health and poverty - but believes the filmmaker didn't paint a full picture, including the country's merits.
"I've got a problem with that. You have to be accurate as well if you're New Zealander of the year. And I reckon he's throwing New Zealand under the bus.
"I'm proud of our country and I get more proud when I go overseas. I still get goosebumps when I come back to New Zealand after being away for a long time. I love this place and I would never say I'm not proud of it."