Australian broadcaster Steve Price has unleashed on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a bizarre tirade against her "virtue signalling" Aussie holiday, scolding her for not taking leave in "Hamilton or Canterbury or somewhere like that".
Price, 64, berated Ardern on Tuesday's episode of The Project Australia, drawing a strange comparison between her trans-Tasman escapade and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's trip to Hawaii amid the country's devastating bushfires.
Price, who was recently dumped from talkback radio station 2GB, kicked off when The Project panellists discussed the potential tourism benefits of Ardern's Aussie holiday.
"Why is she not holidaying in New Zealand? If you can criticise Scott Morrison for going to Hawaii... why is she not in Hamilton or Canterbury or somewhere like that? What's she doing hanging around Australia?" Price lashed out.
Co-host Peter van Onselen noted that New Zealand is not currently in the midst of a national crisis.
"Stay in your own country and spend money in your own place," Price retorted. "Typical virtue signalling Jacinda Ardern. I get sick and tired of that woman. Why are we not criticising her for not holidaying in her own country?"
Van Onselen cut him off: "Because her country's not on fire mate."
"So? She should be in New Zealand... I'm getting sick and tired of 'Jacinda Ardern can do no wrong'... if you are going to criticise Scott Morrison going to Hawaii instead of going to the southern coast of New South Wales, why not criticise her?" Price spat back.
The rant has sparked intense backlash on social media, with some calling for the broadcaster's immediate removal from the show.
"Steve Price's issue with Jacinda Ardern is NOT that she's holidaying in Australia, it's that he is sick of 'that woman'. Seriously, why give him a platform?" said one.
"NZ isn't burning from top to bottom like Australia... she's free to holiday wherever she likes," another added.
"How about [The Project] consider whether female viewers really need a dose of 'that woman' Steve-Price-misogyny beamed into our living rooms... in what world is a ranting known sexist entertaining?" a viewer tweeted.
Ardern and her fiance Clarke Gayford have been spotted wining and dining at several destinations during their holiday, with local workers calling the couple "friendly" and "down to earth" on social media.