Outgoing National MP Paula Bennett has lashed out at the Government's calls to "be kind" amid New Zealand's latest COVID-19 outbreak, claiming it has the opposite effect on Kiwis.
The politician, who is retiring from politics after next month's scheduled general election, made the remark while hosting Magic Talk on Wednesday morning.
The Government's coronavirus advertising has picked up in recent weeks as the number of cases globally has surged, and is likely to increase further after Tuesday's announcement of a new community transmission outbreak on New Zealand soil.
The Unite Against COVID-19 public health campaign is characterised by a range of practical advice to help New Zealanders stay safe amid the pandemic, accompanied by the 'be kind' mantra.
But it's this mantra - which Kiwis see and hear in the form of billboards and online, radio and TV ads - Bennett says is patronising and ineffective.
"Can we please not have signs on the motorway and on my TV telling me to be kind?" she said.
"For crikey's sake, I don't know about you but it does the complete opposite to me.
"I mean, I'm doing okay - I'm a polite person, I care about others, as do most New Zealanders - but being patronised and being told to be kind all the time just irritates me and does the complete opposite.
"Treat us like adults. Do you really think that unkind people are going to see a sign like that, or that voice on TV telling them to be kind, and it's gonna turn them into kind people?"
When the Government's public health campaign was first launched, shortly after the first cases of coronavirus were reported in New Zealand back in March, it highlighted five main ways to "unite against COVID-19".
These were, 'be kind', 'wash and dry your hands', 'financial support', 'self-isolation', and 'stay home if you're sick'. In a section on the Government's coronavirus website, it described kindness as "incredibly powerful".
Examples of being kind included checking in on elderly or vulnerable people, looking after those needing help, dropping supplies to the sick, talking to friends, whānau and neighbours, and connecting with local clubs and societies.
On Tuesday, New Zealand's 102-day streak without a case of community transmission was broken when it was revealed four people from the same south Auckland family had contracted the disease.
Auckland's was escalated to COVID-19 alert level 3 at midday on Wednesday in response, with the rest of the country moving to alert level 2.
Auckland's level 3 lockdown is scheduled to end at midnight on Friday, but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has not ruled out extending it further if required.