Labour leader Jacinda Ardern and National Party leader Judith Collins were asked for their views on meat consumption in Newshub's Leaders Debate.
When asked if they would consider eating less meat to lower their carbon footprint, Ardern replied: "I already consider that we're probably eating on the fairly low end of the spectrum."
"If everyone is scaling back on the amount of meat that they're consuming... by [also] being a country that is fulfilling their climate obligations, that alongside our farming community is showing the world what climate-friendly agriculture looks like," Ardern said.
"For health reasons I think there's nothing wrong for New Zealanders cutting back on meat. But for our exporters, actually, we produce such a small portion. For health, I have no problem with it."
Collins, on the other hand, said people can make their own minds up.
"If you're going to eat meat, eat New Zealand meat because our meat producers are the best in the world and we have the lowest level of carbon emissions for our meat. So if you're going to eat it, eat New Zealand meat."
"And no," Judith added, "I'm not going to tell people when they're going to eat their meat, I'm not into communism, I'm actually into democracy."
"People can make their own minds up. It's their money, it's their meat, it's their bodies. Give people a bit of freedom."
Watch the video