Winston Peters and Simon Bridges have clashed in parliament today over Labour's backdown on the proposed repeal of the Three Strikes law, after failing to get support from coalition partner New Zealand First.
Mr Peters today answered questions for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern over the Government's failed attempt to scrap the law, after his own party pulled the plug on the proposed repeal.
Prime Minister Ardern, who will be staying in Auckland ahead of her baby's due date, was asked in question time today by National Party leader Mr Bridges about the proposed repeal and if Justice Minister Andrew Little followed adequate consultation processes around the proposal.
Earlier today, NZ First released a statement that said the law "provides a firm framework to deter recidivism, and sends a clear message to our most serious offenders".
However this morning, Mr Little called the law on Radio New Zealand a "high watermark of policy stupidity", but said New Zealand First "got to the point where they said they could not support it at this time".
As deputy Prime Minister, NZ First leader Winston Peters answered the question for Ms Ardern.
Mr Bridges asked if the Three Strikes repeal was still ultimately on the table.
"This is a matter that's off the table, for now," Mr Peters said on behalf of Ms Ardern. "This is a government for the long term."
Mr Bridges asked Mr Peters if the PM agreed that the Three Strikes law is the "high watermark of policy stupidity?", quoting Mr Little's RNZ interview.
"Every member of this parliament is entitled to their view, it's the hall mark of a democracy," Mr Peters said.
Mr Bridges asked if Mr Little "followed good consultation processes", or did NZ First Ministers "simply change their minds on the repeal of Three Strikes."
"Minister Little is a reforming Minister, probably the most reformist Minister we've had in decades," Mr Peters answered. "And because he has been putting all these ideas out into the public, there's no reason for him to shrink from any of his statements at all. It looks like, and it is, an open government."
At one point Mr Peters suggested Mr Bridges had "a listening problem", prompting chuckles from his side of the house.