A National Party MP has deleted a tweet calling Winston Peters a "s*x maniac" with the ability to "f**k a whole country at once".
Chris Penk, the MP for the sprawling north Auckland electorate of Kaipara ki Mahurangi, made the comment after the New Zealand First leader described members of his former party as "sex maniacs".
Peters, who lost his place in Parliament at last year's election, this week returned to the political arena. NZ First held its AGM at the weekend, and on Monday the 76-year-old made headlines when he was asked why he chose to form a coalition with Labour rather than National in 2017.
"You look at the sex maniacs and the mess that they're in now and tell me, what option did I have?" he told Newstalk ZB.
He didn't elaborate on which National MPs he considered to be "sex maniacs".
Penk took to Twitter on Monday afternoon to hit back at Peters.
"Winston Peters is the real s*x maniac because he can f**k a whole country at once," he wrote, in response to a tweet by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's former chief of staff Neale Jones, who said he "can't stop laughing" at Peters' comments.
The asterisks were Penk's own, leading some to suggest he wasn't being crude at all.
"The full tweet is 'Winston Peters is the real sax maniac because he can funk a whole country at once'," joked user @edmusik.
Penk deleted the tweet on Tuesday morning.
Newshub contacted the National Party, which said the "tweet was removed" and any further questions should be put to Penk.
Penk told Newshub he "decided to delete it because the language was a bit out there and I wouldn't want to cause offence".
It's not the first time Penk has made his animosity towards Peters clear on Twitter. In 2019 he was on the same Auckland-bound flight as Peters, who was asked by a flight attendant to write a message for a friend.
"Naturally I write her a message of my own on the back of my boarding pass: 'Dear [name] Please tell your friend that Winston Peters is a charlatan and I'll be Prime Minister before he is. Cheers, Chris Penk (MP, Helensville).'"
Penk told Newshub Nation last week he wouldn't be challenging Judith Collins for the National Party leadership any time soon, but wouldn't rule out a run in the future.
"Not anytime soon. I certainly wouldn't put my hand up before I felt ready. We would see - potentially in the future."