Amelia Finlayson has been called out for publishing a photo of herself covering her nose and mouth due to her proximity to a coughing person she labelled "Chinese".
The former partner of John Key's son Max posted the message on her Instagram Story, amid reports of rising racism against Asian people as the coronavirus outbreak grips the world.
Finlayson, who featured in reality TV series BossBabes, has been described as a "socialite, influencer and journalist" by NZME.
"My Uber driver just coughed and he's Chinese," she wrote on the post to her 22,500 followers.
Social media provocateur and former NZME columnist Pebbles Hooper took a screenshot of the post and tweeted it with the caption: "How white of you Amelia".
Finlayson's post was published shortly before Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters condemned racist responses to the coronavirus outbreak.
"Racism and adverse reaction does not help at all," Peters told media at Waitangi.
"We're all in this together because we don't with full certainty [know] what we're dealing with at all.
"If you compare to the Spanish Flu where millions died, this is not the same circumstance, so what we should do is take all the precaution we possibly can, and get on with life and realise that being racist or being nasty or moronic is of no help to anybody."
The coronavirus death toll currently sits at 490 in mainland China, with 24,505 cases confirmed around the world.
Since the virus started dominating international news headlines, examples of racism against people of Asian descent have also risen dramatically, including in New Zealand.