A candidate for the Opportunities Party (TOP) has been told to resign by leader Gareth Morgan because she's a "pain in the arse".
Jenny Condie, the party's tax spokeswoman, shared a screenshot the email the millionaire economist sent her on Thursday evening.
"Please just resign from the party - you're a pain in the arse," was all it said.
Dr Condie told RNZ on Friday morning she wasn't surprised to get the boot, after telling Dr Morgan there was discontent in the party about his behaviour.
"I think I've been flat-out asked to resign, so I think I've been sacked. Either way, I think it would be best for us to go our separate ways at this point," Dr Condie told RNZ on Friday morning.
"I was a little bit upset, but I've come to expect that kind of behaviour from Gareth. It wasn't out of the blue."
Dr Condie sent Dr Morgan an email earlier on Friday, in which she expressed concern about his reaction to the death of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's cat, Paddles, who was hit by a car earlier in the week.
"Was it out wandering?" Dr Morgan asked on Twitter on Wednesday. "If so does this reflect the value the PM puts on NZ wildlife?"
Dr Morgan is stridently anti-cat, saying they're a hazard to New Zealand's wildlife. The timing of his comments sparked outrage on the social media site, with one user saying he had "good policies, shit personality".
Dr Condie told RNZ she knew Dr Morgan was "often very insulting and can be quite offensive", but gave him benefit of the doubt when she agreed to join TOP.
"I was hopeful that going forward he would build a team around him that would shore up some of his weaknesses.
"I'm still really passionate about the Opportunities Party's policies... but I was never that excited to be a part of the Gareth Morgan party, if that's what it was going to be."
She expects further backlash from the party's membership over her unceremonial dumping, with Dr Morgan's erratic behaviour an "ongoing issue".
"Candidates and some volunteers have been concerned about Gareth's behaviour for some time."
Dr Morgan isn't backing down, tweeting early on Friday morning that Ms Ardern was a hypocrite for using taxpayer money to fund conservation, while "her cat wanders and kills at will".