Jacinda Ardern has responded to Mark Richardson's comments that he would be a better Prime Minister than her by calling him an "angry person".
The AM Show sports reader was critical of the Ardern administration on Thursday after international public relations professionals ranked the New Zealand Government as having the most impressive communications during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I don't tend to see the international plaudits we're getting as a good news story," Richardson said. "I just think that the selfish drive for international adulation is going to kill your business.
"Take all these disasters away over the last three years and all they have been is a dishevelled rabble."
Asked if he thought he could be Prime Minister, Richardson said: "Yeah, I mean, I could actually do a better job than this current lot".
The real Prime Minister has now responded, questioning how Richardson would run New Zealand in an interview with The Rock.
"I wonder what New Zealand under Mark Richardson would look like," Ardern said.
"I don't know if that's just because he does mornings, and mornings are tough, but he's a pretty angry person."
The station's radio hosts could be heard laughing, saying that while Ardern had a "utopian vision", Richardson had a "dystopian" one.
Ardern and Richardson have frequently sparred, with the sports reader not shy to express his support for the Prime Minister's opposition, the National Party. Most infamously, the pair argued in 2017, briefly after Ardern became the Labour Party leader, about whether women should be required to inform employers if they are planning to have babies.
"I think it's a legitimate question for New Zealand, because she could be the Prime Minister leading this country. She has our best interest at heart. We need to know these things," he said on The AM Show in August 2018.
Later that morning, Ardern said it wasn't an appropriate question, before pointing at Richardson.
"It is totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace. That is unacceptable in 2017. It is the woman's decision about when they choose to have children.
"It should not predetermine whether or not they get the job."
The pair have found some common ground amongst their squabbles, however, including on climate change.