The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) says it's "disappointed" in Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins after neither knew how much a new nurse earns.
The leaders of Labour and National were asked during a quickfire round during The Press Leaders Debate on Tuesday night what the starting salary for registered nurses is. Neither was able to pinpoint the correct answer - $54,000.
Thousands of nurses have taken part in repeated strikes over pleas for better pay, which got the attention of politicians. And with nurses also working through the COVID-19 pandemic, NZNO Kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku said the leaders not knowing their starting salary was a "what the heck" moment.
"The role of nurses through COVID-19 has been really key to keeping this virus at bay. To not know the starting wages of nurses - it was really disappointing."
Also during the quickfire round at the debate, Ardern and Collins couldn't correctly guess a teacher's starting salary ($49,000). They did, however, know the price of Netflix's cheapest package ($11.99).
Neither knew the cost of two litres of milk or the price of a two-kilogram leg of lamb.
Ardern said the milk costs $4.50 and Collins said $6, when it's actually $3.40, according to the debate's moderator. On the leg of lamb, Collins said $28 and Ardern said $20, but instead the correct answer was $42.
Following the debate, neither leader would declare themselves the winner.
"I never declare winners - that's ultimately for the viewers," Ardern said.
"I think that politics won. I thought we both did very well," Collins said.