Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, has apologized for insulting a political competitor in parliament.
Following a question from David Seymour, leader of the opposition ACT party, the nasty remark was caught up by microphones.
Mr. Seymour objected to the comment and requested it is pulled from the House of Representatives.
Ms. Ardern, whose party has slipped behind in polls in the last year, later apologized.
During a heated debate on Tuesday, the prime minister objected when Mr. Seymour asked her to name an example of her “making a mistake, properly apologizing for it, and repairing it.”
Ms. Ardern stated that her Labour administration had admitted several times that there had not been “perfect solutions,” including a crucial component of the country’s Covid reaction.
“For example, we have openly indicated that [managed isolation and quarantine] was very difficult at the time, that individuals were affected by it, and that we would do things differently if faced with it again.”
She went on to say that she supported her government’s work during its tenure.
“We’ve always made decisions that we believe are in the best interests of New Zealand at the moment,” she said.
Ms. Ardern was heard quietly stating after sitting, “Such an arrogant jerk.”
Ms. Ardern has since apologized to Mr. Seymour, according to a representative for the prime minister’s office.
For much of her two periods in office, the prime minister has won international recognition for her rigorous approach to the Covid epidemic and has enjoyed high approval ratings.
However, with New Zealand set to hold elections in late 2023, Ms. Ardern is under increasing political pressure.
According to recent polls, the Labour Party is almost five percentage points behind the opposition National Party.