Mark Richardson says those from outside Auckland should "respect" the city after it was roasted on Facebook.
Monday's AM Show Poll asked viewers about their feelings on the city after a joint investigation between Newshub and Stuff found growing inequality in Auckland.
But the comments quickly turned into what social media presenter Aaziz Al-sa'afin termed an "online roast" of the city.
Commenters called Auckland, "a nice place to leave", "a drag on the country" and "a bit like marmite, a little bit goes a long way".
It was enough to make Richardson defensive and he spoke out in support of the city.
"Can I just remind people who may not live in Auckland that you need to respect us because we're the caboose that runs the train," he said.
"We're the economic centre of this country."
Al-sa'afin responded by asking him how the regions would react to those statements, saying: "What would Invercargill say to that, what would Southland say to that."
But Richardson was undeterred and said Southland was the first class carriage in his train metaphor.
Co-hosts Amanda Gillies and Duncan Garner had their own opinions about Mark's metaphor though.
"You're making this up," Garner said.
"This is painful," Gillies added.