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Labour supporters were 'derisory', 'disrespectful' to Samoa in last night's debate - Judith Collins

National leader Judith Collins says she stands by her comments about Labour leader Jacinda Ardern disrespecting Samoa in last night's debate, and today she had a crack at Labour supporters too following the exchange.

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Ardern and Collins clashed over Samoa’s Covid-19 response during last night’s Press leaders’ debate. Source: 1 NEWS

During the Stuff debate last night, Ardern said it was "factually incorrect" that Samoa went harder and earlier against Covid-19 a month earlier than New Zealand did at the beginning of the pandemic.

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'Don't disrespect Samoa' – Collins fires up at Ardern as they debate NZ and Pacific's Covid-19 response

The exchange began with Collins suggesting the Government had been slow to act on Covid-19.

"That is factually incorrect," Ardern interjected, which drew an angry response from Collins.

"It did so, and actually don’t disrespect Samoa, they kept it out, they kept Covid-19 out and they kept it out and they test anyone who wants to go on a plane there," she said to a mix of jeers and applause from the crowd in Christchurch.

Today, Collins was asked about the incident during a walkabout on the election campaign trail in Auckland's Ponsonby.

"I thought her audience that was there were extremely derisory about Samoa and I thought that was actually very disrespectful," she told reporters.

On March 19, Ardern announced New Zealand's borders would close to anyone who is not a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident from 11.59pm that night.

A day later, Samoa declared a state of emergency would come into effect at midnight that night. The order included the shutting down of the border for all except returning Samoan citizens.