The owner of a wedding venue embroiled in a stoush with the Prime Minister and her partner isn't worried about being hit with negative reviews online.
The stoush between Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, her partner Clarke Gayford and Bushmere Arms owner Robin Pierson made headlines over the weekend.
In response, Kiwis flooded the Bushmere Arms with negative reviews. Google reviews for the venue are still high at 4.3 but in the last day, there have been numerous one-star reviews with no additional text. One negative reviewer accused Pierson of "slandering the PM".
"Owner is an idiot . Disrespectful and don't care about people, only money," another person said.
"Owner is clearly rude and attention seeking," someone else said.
When contacted by Newshub on Monday Pierson said he wasn't too worried about the negative reviews.
"It was just a commercial decision that I made and you know everyone is entitled to their opinion.
"I suppose I've just got to look forward to a few more negative reviews."
He said Ardern and Gayford booked the venue two years ago - but talks broke down after a stoush over catering by a Kiwi celebrity chef.
Pierson told Newshub the Prime Minister said she wanted celebrity chef Peter Gordon involved in the catering, which he was fine with if it was a collaboration.
"Jacinda and Clarke came here two years ago, she sat on the barstool and said, 'We'd like to book our wedding here. Jacinda told me, 'Peter Gordon has always said he wanted to be involved in my wedding' to which I said, 'I'll have a free cooking lesson any day,' thinking it would be a collaborative effort and we would be working together."
Pierson said the agreement broke down when he found out he wasn't going to be involved in the food at all.
"My understanding is that he was contracted to do the food and he wanted to take over my kitchen and that was not going to happen."
Pierson is also charging the couple a $5000 cancellation fee which he says is for "some of the time I have wasted" and for holding that date.
"That represents some of the time I have wasted plus the fact that... I can't quantify the number of people who I have turned away or not quoted…"
He said he isn't worried about losing the Prime Minister's booking because it would have only been good publicity for the venue if they were involved in the food.
But he said he's frustrated by the time he wasted over the past few years.
"The bottom line is every National Party supporter is going to love it and every Labour Party supporter is going to hate it.
"It's not about politics, it's about a commercial decision. I am politically very neutral.
"I treat every person that books a function at Bushmere Arms the same and I do my very best to meet and exceed expectations and I would have done the same for her. "
A spokesperson for Ardern told the NZ Herald on Sunday her and Gayford's first choice wedding venue hadn't worked out.
"The Bushmere Arms was the Prime Minister and Clarke Gayford's first choice as a wedding venue, but unfortunately as is the case with many weddings, not every initial arrangement works out as planned."