Duncan Garner has blasted National leader Simon Bridges for comments he made on Monday morning's The AM Show.
Mr Bridges criticised Health Minister David Clark for being out of the country while the nurses' strike was happening last week.
Dr Clark on Friday revealed he was away for 33 hours from Tuesday morning until Wednesday evening because he was escorting his family overseas.
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Mr Bridges said Dr Clark "should have been there".
"Leadership in these sorts of incidents, talking things down, talking in good faith about what the solutions are, they matter, and I think [David Clark] should've been here," Mr Bridges told The AM Show.
But Duncan Garner didn't take the comments lightly. He said it was "truly pathetic" of Mr Bridges to attack Dr Clark for being out of the country for 33 hours during the week when the nurses were striking.
"He has a wife and three young kids who he helped transport to Australia. He stayed the night and came straight home. A sprint to Australia and back to help your family get somewhere is hardly a perk. Being a minister is not his only job in life," Garner said.
Dr Clark did the right thing by escorting his family over to Australia, Garner said, because travelling with young children is "a pretty stressful thing".
Garner also pointed out that Dr Clark doesn't play a large role in the nurses' negotiations anyway. The District Health Boards (DHBs) are holding negotiations with the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO).
"I'm not pointing the finger at opposition MPs. But Simon Bridges has poured fuel on this fire this morning saying David Clark shouldn't have gone overseas," Garner said.
"In my view, [David Clark] actually did the honourable thing."