National Party leader Judith Collins says the Prime Minister needs to "stop being so woke" and should acknowledge the new Opposition leader.
While speaking to Magic Talk host Ryan Bridge on her first day as the party's leader, Collins said she believes Jacinda Ardern is playing around by not speaking more on National's new leadership team.
The Prime Minister briefly acknowledged Collins' new position on Wednesday, but said she's more focussed on the COVID-19 recovery for New Zealand than who the new leader is.
"I absolutely accept that there is an election this year and there is no avoiding that. But at the moment, really it's taking a bare minimum of my thinking because we are still in the middle of a global pandemic.
"I accept there will be politicking this year, I accept we have an election, but if I'm being brutally honest, my mind hasn't been particularly focussed on that to date," Ardern said.
Collins believes Ardern is "playing games" by not fully publicly recognising she's the new leader.
"If Jacinda Ardern hasn't noticed that I'm here and leader of the National Party, then perhaps maybe she should stop being quite so woke and wake up a bit," she says.
"Jacinda Ardern knows fully well that I'm there, so I think she's just playing games. I'm not a kid, I don't play games."
Collins also laid down a challenge to Ardern to debate her on Bridge's show.
"Of course I'll debate Jacinda Ardern on your show… I think that if she refuses to do so then she's probably running a bit scared."
It comes ahead of the official leaders' debates held in advance of the General Election.
Collins also critiqued Ardern's calls for kindness, saying she doesn't have to keep telling everyone she's kind in order for it to be true.
"There's an old saying that says something like 'the more that the man told us he was honest, the more we checked our pockets'," she says.
"I actually think part of being kind is being effective and not wasting people's time and treating them as though they don't know what's going on."