Coronavirus: Kiwi Twitter users respond to overseas lockdown criticism with hashtag 'NZHellHole'

US President Donald Trump took three swings at New Zealand's COVID-19 response this week, prompting some of his supporters to believe this country is a "hellhole".

That's come as a strikeout for many Kiwis who were quick to set the record straight on Twitter with the hashtag #NZHellHole.

Nearly two weeks ago, it was revealed there were new COVID-19 cases in Auckland's community, and Trump called this a "massive" outbreak.

"New Zealand, New Zealand, it's over for New Zealand! Everything's gone, it's all over," he said on Thursday (local time). "They had a massive breakout yesterday."

But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern didn't take it to heart.

"I think everyone can see in New Zealand we're talking today 11 cases, while in the US they're dealing with 40,000 cases," she said on Friday.

But it appears not everyone got the message. One Twitter user highlighted new lockdown restrictions and called New Zealand "a hellhole".

"You can't leave. And you can't easily have people in. And you're back in lockdown in major parts of the country. And the quarantine camps are public knowledge. Your country is a hellhole."

It didn't take long for Kiwis to respond in a tongue-in-cheek manner and speak out against the conditions they're facing under #NZHellHole on Twitter.

One user wrote: "The worst thing about living in the #NZHellhole is, without doubt, the aggressive and unpredictable Moss Chicken," referring to Kakapo.

Someone also gave an example of a "#NZHellhole denizen" and "ghastly monster" - the fantail.

Social media expert Jessica Moloney says the posts are "the definition of a humble brag".

"We're coming into summer, you can see those beautiful beaches, the beautiful scenery, our amazing native birds. Lots of people are talking about this."

Another Kiwi showed off their "hellhole" by sharing a scenic picture of New Zealand, saying: "What to do when you're stuck in #NZhellhole. Guess I'll have to force the family to check out the '8th wonder of the world'."

And, of course, Kiwis were quick to highlight the punishment for breaking lockdown restrictions and pointed to the bronze statue of a naked man - called Solace in the Wind - on Wellington's waterfront to show the consequences.

"This man tried to swim to freedom from our island gulag. The authorities caught him and plunged him alive in molten bronze. His body is displayed as a warning to others," one tweeted.