Gerry Brownlee says he has "no regrets" over a run-in about the Government's handling of the Inland Road repair.
John Murray is a resident of the Clarence Valley, north of Kaikoura, whose family have lived in the area since 1900.
He says those in the area are fed up with what they see as inaction from the Government to restore access to Kaikoura.
"Nothing's been done except for patch-ups and I reckon it's piss poor," Mr Murray said.
"If I think that's what our Government feels about us and how they deal with emergencies, then I'm afraid you've lost a lot of votes and a lot of confidence."
But Mr Brownlee says the accusations are wrong, and got fired up over the comments from locals.
"What I can say is that NZTA has not been sitting on their backsides doing nothing - and quite frankly, I'm going to tell you I resent your comment deeply" he told Mr Murray.
One thing Mr Murray did respect was the Acting Civil Defence Minister's blunt response.
"I thought it was great - he's got some balls and got on with it" Mr Murray said.
The Government has promised to start work on the road on January 4.