Winston Peters attacked what he called the media's "malicious, malignant, vicious tripe" and accused an Australian journalist of asking a "silly question" during a fiery press conference after the New Zealand First caucus met at parliament for the first time since Saturday's election.
Mr Peters is king or queenmaker after the election left National needing his party to form a two-party coalition and Labour also needing NZ First and the Greens if it's to form a three-way coalition.
Mr Peters was at pains to stress his hands are tied until special votes are declared on October 7 before he can decide what he's going to do.
"All I'm asking for is a bit of understanding rather than the tripe that some people are putting out - malicious, malignant, vicious in the extreme of the nature which they were doing before the election without me being there and now they've continued it on," he told reporters.
He said it's possible he will meet with National leader Bill English and Labour leader Jacinda Ardern before October 7.
Asked if it will be a face to face meeting, Mr Peters said: "Well anything's possible."
"I had the unusual circumstance of getting in a queue this morning at Auckland Airport to have the next person behind me the person I'm meant to despise according to one of the so-called media authorities in this country, namely Steven Joyce (National's finance spokesperson).
"We had a brief conversation about that of course. He was as understanding of the character of the person who wrote that as I am."
An Australian reporter touched a nerve when he asked the New Zealand First leader what his policy priorities will be when he kicks off the negotiations.
"Where are you from?" Mr Peters asked.
"Australia," the journalist replied.
"Yeah it shows. Next question please," the NZ First leader retorted, most of the press pack seeing the funny side.
"Don't come and ask a silly question like that. What are your policy priorities going to be. I've been around for 21 years, this party, made a whole lot of sacrifice and been demonised and cinderellaised and marginalised by everybody, and don't you come over here and start."