New Zealand's Speaker of the House has hit back at MailOnline columnist Dan Wootton, after he criticised the country's new draconian Covid-19 measures introduced after just nine cases of Omicron were detected.
Writing Monday as new measures - announced a day earlier by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern - came into force, Mr Wootton called his country of birth's Covid-zero policy 'crazy' at a time when the rest of the world is learning to live with the virus.
Mr Wootton's column struck a nerve in New Zealand, including with senior politicians, resulting in Speaker and Labour MP Trevor Mallard personally responding to the ex-pat.
'Known family for 45 years. Admired your father's work,' the MP wrote on Twitter. 'I know you want clicks but I prefer an approach that values lives especially the old, the young and the vulnerable.
'We have lost less than 10 per million while UK has lost 350+ per million. Maybe that doesn't matter to you,' he added.
Reacting to the MP's comments, Mr Wootton told MailOnline: 'Speaker Mallard - who was actually one of my local MPs growing up - is a decent man, but that’s why I’m so stunned he is continuing to be a spokesman for Ardern’s inhumane, cruel and nonsensical Covid policies.
New Zealand's Speaker of the House hit back at MailOnline columnist Dan Wootton (pictured) on Monday, after he criticised the country's new draconian Covid-19 measures introduced after just nine cases of Omicron were detected
'The aim of the New Zealand government is to scare monger constantly and compare its death toll with the UK,' he continued.
'But we are nearly two years on from March 2020. New Zealand is 90 per cent vaccinated. It’s the middle of summer. If they can’t open now, then when?
'How long does Mallard intend on backing a policy where the million New Zealand passport holders overseas - including me - are illegally barred from entering the country?
'How long does New Zealand intend to stay a hermit kingdom banning business people from travelling abroad if they want to return home?
'But what’s most amazing is that since I wrote the column on Monday I have been messaged by literally thousands of New Zealanders, who are fed up with Ardern’s approach. I am confident this is a country rising up to the insanity.'
Some, such as former All Black legend Zinzan Brooke, publicly hailed Mr Wootton's article. 'Completely agree with Dan here,' the retired rugby player, who played for the national team for 10 years, wrote on Monday.
In his original column, Mr Wootton had predicted that some of his fellow Kiwis would not take kindly to his column, writing that they 'will call me a traitor'. Regardless, he argued that it was time for a different approach from the government.
He called Ardern's announcement a 'myopic response', said New Zealanders were being brainwashed by her 'superwoke-but-authoritarian' spin, and wrote personally of how the policy impacted both him and his family who still live in the country.
Mr Wootton - who had once been a constituent of Mr Mallard's before moving to the United Kingdom when he was 21 - even referenced the speaker in his article.
Taking to Twitter, Speaker and Labour MP Trevor Mallard personally hit back at Mr Wootton, who had once been a constituent of his before moving to the United Kingdom when he was 21
'Known family for 45 years. Admired your father's work,' the MP wrote on Twitter (pictured). 'I know you want clicks but i prefer an approach that values lives especially the old, the young and the vulnerable. 'We have lost less than 10 per million while UK has lost 350+ per million. Maybe that doesn't matter to you'
He reported that the speaker had