Grant Robertson responds to Joe Rogan's criticism of Jacinda Ardern for shutting down heckler

Grant Robertson has played down the scathing comments made by controversial podcaster Joe Rogan about Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. 

Rogan launched a scathing attack on Ardern - complete with a mocking impersonation - after the Prime Minister shut down a COVID-19 press conference that was disrupted by a heckler in Northland earlier this week.

In an episode of his hugely popular podcast the Joe Rogan experience, he claimed she was misusing her "ultimate power" as she enjoyed "being the queen". 

"If she even gets asked questions at press conferences, if people yell out questions she goes: 'We're going to shut this down, we're going to shut this down if you keep yelling out'," Rogan said, impersonating Ardern with an attempt at the New Zealand accent. 

"She just leaves, she's like 'accredited press only'. She took the f**king press conference indoors because they were yelling out about the vaccine programme in Israel," he said. 

Deputy Prime Minister Robertson, who was fronting the COVID-19 1pm press conference where it was announced there were, said remarks like Rogan's weren't a particular worry.

"In terms of how worried I am about the views of extreme right-wingers, I'm generally worried about those in the world but specifically, right now, I'm just focused on getting people vaccinated," he said.

Robertson says he isn't worried right-wing extremists could spread misinformation and influence the view of people that are sitting on the fence about getting vaccinated.  

"Misinformation about COVID-19 is spread by many different sources," Robertson says.

"What we know for a large percentage of people that are yet to be vaccinated, it's still simply hesitancy and It's a good conversation with someone they trust that will get them over the line to be vaccinated or something in their lives that causes them to see that. 

"For a smaller minority of people that hold an anti-vax view... those people will be much harder to reach - but our target at this stage doesn't require us to turn those people around."

Rogan's criticism of Ardern was in reference to an incident on Tuesday in which a known member of a COVID-19 disinformation group hijacked journalists' question time at a conference in Te Tai Tokerau.

She was visiting the region after the Government had announced a $23 million boost to community-led Māori vaccination campaigns.