Frosty reactions to Winston Peters mocking Simon Bridges' accent

Winston Peters has been lambasted by some people on social media for mocking Simon Bridges' accent in Parliament this week.

When the National leader concluded his response to PM Jacinda Ardern's statement on Tuesday, the Deputy PM retorted to Mr Bridges by making fun of him

"Why does Mr Bridges pick these special debates to publicly humiliate himself?" Mr Peters said.

His next comments were interrupted by Mr Bridges, who called out, "Tell us about China", to which Mr Peters responded, "I'll tell you about China, but not 'Choina'."

It was a jab at Mr Bridges' broad Kiwi accent, which has been the butt of jokes ever since he took over as leader of the National Party a year ago.

And it wasn't the first time Mr Peters had mocked Mr Bridges' accent in Parliament - in July 2018, he ridiculed the National leader's pronunciation of 'mining' as 'moining'.

Labour MP Marja Lubeck said on Twitter that Mr Peters' speech was "very funny".

But some people were upset over the Deputy PM mocking Mr Bridges' accent, with one person responding to Ms Lubeck's post: "Support bullying do you? The mask of kindness is slipping."

One person described the speech as "arrogant, classless bullying, egged on by sycophantic cowards", adding that it was "absolutely nothing to be proud of".

And another said: "For a coalition that is all about kindness and being nice to each other, Winston Peters & Jacinda Ardern (and their posse) seem like a bunch of bullies."

A spokesperson for WorkSafe NZ said if Mr Bridges considers he's been bullied, "he should take it up directly with Mr Peters or Parliamentary Services".

"If WorkSafe receives a complaint we will consider it as we do with any other allegation of bullying. We have no further comment to make."

The Government agency says it typically only investigates bullying and harassment claims where there is "diagnosis of serious mental harm".

Workplace bullying has been under the spotlight recently, with the Speaker of the House, Trevor Mallard, announcing in November an independent external review into bullying and harassment of staff in Parliament.

National MP Maggie Barry was hit with allegations of bullying in December, including that she referred to department officials as her "hired help" and that her workplace was "toxic".


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