Social media savages Newstalk ZB host Kate Hawkesby for mocking Labour Party's 'crimes against fashion'

Kate Hawkesby is under fire for criticising the Labour Party's dress sense - and now her own style is being attacked.

The party had its annual caucus retreat in Martinborough on Wednesday. MPs gathered for breakfast and policy discussion, most decked out in shorts and t-shirts in the summer heat.

One Newstalk ZB host was not happy with the clothes on show.

In an opinion piece titled 'What a dag! Is this really how Labour Party MPs dress for a retreat?' Hawkesby railed against what she called "crimes against fashion".

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway copped a roasting for his T-shirt which read: 'I'm the boss guy'.

Kate Hawkesby presents an award with her father John at the NZ TV Awards in 2017.
Kate Hawkesby presents an award with her father John at the NZ TV Awards in 2017. Photo credit: Getty

"Slogan T-shirts are for teenagers attending music festivals, or one-year-olds," Hawkesby wrote.

"Ones that say 'I'm the boss guy' are really only for under the thumb dads at Christmas, as a joke gift from the kids."

Also in the firing line was Speaker Trevor Mallard, who Hawkesby criticised for attending a Labour function when he's "supposed to be neutral".

"And why did he turn up in a Hawaiian shirt and Bermuda shorts, no less?" she fumed. "I know we're having a heatwave, but that was a crime against fashion."

She wasn't happy to see the Prime Minister's daughter Neve at the retreat either.

"I'm not sure if other people's kids were there, but let's not call that weird because we'll be lynched," she wrote.

Backlash to Hawkesby has been swift and brutal. Kiwis took to Twitter to mock the opinion piece, with one telling her to "get a grip".

"They're not at Parliament. They're at a retreat. It's more relaxed. It's not a fashion parade! They're workshopping ideas."

"The absolute ultimate in total shallowness," wrote another user.

Soon Hawkesby's own fashion sense was in the firing line.

"I have my doubts as to whether Kate Hawkesby should be mocking anyone's sartorial sensibilities," one person wrote on Twitter alongside several photos of her past outfits.

"Breaking: Kate Hawkesby models her latest 'what Labour MPs should wear to a 30 degree summer retreat' range," wrote Dominion Post columnist Dave Armstrong, alongside an image of Hawkesby in an uncomfortable-looking black dress and heels.

Hawkesby's husband, fellow Newstalk ZB host Mike Hosking, was also targeted, with one Twitter user posting photos of him in his distinctive jackets.

Even Twitter account NZ Art Parallels got in on the fun, posting a picture of Hawkesby in a blue dress alongside a work by American artist Cindy Sherman of an aging socialite.

Reddit wasn't much kinder, with commenters calling the piece "an embarrassing low".

"I couldn't care less how photogenic my government is," one user said. "What a shallow opinion piece."

"As soon as there is definitive evidence that casual dress sense is directly related to public servant performance, I will pay attention to what politicians wear," another wrote. "Until then, no f**ks given."

One Redditor remarked that they "love how much thigh Andrew Little is showing". For the retreat the Justice Minister paired a polo shirt with some leg-bearing khaki shorts, topped off with sensible Velcro-strapped walking shoes.