Finance Minister Grant Robertson shook his head in disapproval as ACT deputy leader Brooke van Velden blasted Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern over her border exemption promises.
Van Velden took aim at Ardern during a Business NZ video conference on Tuesday where political parties had the opportunity to pitch their ideas on helping the economy through the COVID-19 slump.
Van Velden criticised the Government's border measures, accusing them of "making up rules as they go" after it was revealed Australian rugby players would only have to spend six days in quarantine after arriving in New Zealand.
It came after Newshub revealed that Rugby Australia had made a formal request to New Zealand Rugby to snatch two proposed Bledisloe Cup test matches planned to be held in New Zealand next month, due to the strict quarantine measures.
The Prime Minister confirmed to The AM Show on Tuesday that she made a late-night phone call to her Australian counterpart Scott Morrison in a bid to keep the games in New Zealand, which van Velden questioned.
"It's great for New Zealand that the test matches will be played here, but common sense only prevailed because Scott Morrison had a direct line to Jacinda Ardern," van Velden said.
Robertson could be seen on the video conference call shaking his head in disapproval of van Velden's comments.
"Hospitality businesses, especially those in the South Island, would be wishing they too could just call up the Prime Minister and sort out the rules," the ACT deputy leader said.
"I'm sure there are many businesses listening in today who also wish they could just pick up the phone and get the workers they need through the border."
Ardern told reporters in Timaru on Tuesday that Australia posed less risk in terms of COVID-19 than the other rugby nations, mentioning Argentina and South Africa.
"The decisions around health and quarantine for these rugby matches are risk-based and so for Australia risk is lower so the view is that for training after three days and a difference in squad numbers was appropriate," she said.
Ardern said she regularly speaks to Morrison.
"We often have conversations on a fairly regular basis, not least often to place wagers on rugby matches. We of course have agreements on both sides around making sure games are played in Australia and played in New Zealand," she said.
"This was a chance for me to check in with him on some of those arrangements and make sure that both Australia and New Zealand benefit from those games."
Van Velden also criticised Labour for promising to enable a 10 percent quota at managed isolation and quarantine facilities for critical workers if Labour is re-elected.
"I think it's outrageous that the Prime Minister said on Friday at this Business New Zealand conference that if you re-elect Labour they might let more workers in," van Velden said.
"We shouldn't be politicising COVID. If it's safe for firms to bring in employees now, they should just do it. We need the Government to be setting out clear rules for everybody acting as a referee and not a player."
NZ First deputy leader Fletcher Tabuteau also had a go at Labour over Cabinet's decision to extend alert level 2 across New Zealand - a move NZ First leader and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters disagreed with.
"Yesterday we questioned the decision and made it clear to the country that the health response is working and now is the time for the rest of the country to open up and go to level 1," Tabutaeu said.
"It's no good sticking your finger in the air and measuring the economy that way. We know it's hurting the economy and one of the best ways to move forward for our businesses is to give them that opportunity to get on with business."
Robertson said the country has seen strong economic activity despite the restrictions.
"While it is undoubtedly tough for many businesses, the overall statistics show that heavy and light traffic movements and retail card spending at level 2.5 in Auckland is similar to what it was at level 1, and the rest of the country at level 2 we're close to or above 2019 levels on those measures," he said.
"None of that is to deny the extraordinary impact of COVID-19 on businesses and on people's livelihoods but it does underscore the resilience of the New Zealand economy that will get us through this."