Free audio stream, including stories that are padlocked on our site. Listen on any device, anywhere. Updated twice daily. The audio stream takes several seconds to start on Android devices.Launch Radio player
Labour is calling on Prime Minister John Key to apologise for saying Whale Rider star Keisha Castle-Hughes should stick to acting.
Castle-Hughes is an ambassador for a Greenpeace climate change campaign urging the Government to sign up to 40 percent emissions reductions.
"My advice to Keisha is this: stick to acting," Mr Key told a business gathering of 500 people in Brisbane on Tuesday.
Since then Castle-Hughes has offered to meet Mr Key to discuss her concerns.
She said she knew a lot more about the issue than he gave her credit.
In Parliament, Acting Prime Minister Bill English was questioned about the remark.
Labour's Charles Chauvel asked: "Does the Prime Minister agree with Keisha Castle-Hughes that telling her to `stick to acting' is really odd, given that he had previously encouraged her to make a submission to the Minister for Climate Change Issues on New Zealand's pollution reduction target?"
Mr English said the PM "wholeheartedly" supported Castle-Hughes' right to have a public view about New Zealand's climate change policy.
Mr Chauvel then asked if the PM thought other actors supporting the campaign including Lucy Lawless, Robyn Malcolm, and Cliff Curtis, should stick to acting.
"And has he advised Michael Jones to `stick to rugby and keep out of politics', or do different rules apply to potential National Party recruits?"
Mr English said those in the group were all eminent New Zealand actors.
"And sticking to acting may well be a recipe for further success for them."
He said an ad campaign did not replace serious analysis and a 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2020 would seriously hurt the economy and people's livelihoods.
In a later statement Mr Chauvel said Mr Key should apologise.
"Young New Zealanders, whatever their profession, should never be discouraged from taking a stand on issues they feel passionately about and the Prime Minister's decision to criticise the Kiwi actress for doing so to an overseas audience was a bad call."
He said Mr Key was not asked for an opinion on Castle-Hughes' views when he made the jibe.
"Shame on you Prime Minister. You've set a bad example. It's time to do the right thing and apologise."