Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has taken Mike Hosking to task after the Newstalk ZB host claimed that her Government is soft on the war against drugs.

Ardern was face to face in the studio with Hosking this morning when he criticised the Government’s stance on drug laws.

Hosking began by stating that the price of methamphetamine “has never been cheaper in this country, there has never been more meth available in this country”.

Ardern responded by stating that after recently visiting Customs staff, she learned there had also been a record amount of seizures of drugs, before adding that it was also manufactured within the country’s borders which had been an “additional part of the challenge”.

“Here is the problem for your Government image-wise in that you are pro drugs, you’re loose on drugs, you’re soft on drugs, you want to vote on drugs,” Hosking said.

“You want to drug test at festivals and you want us to legalise cannabis.”

Ardern then said, “Mike, do you know how ridiculous you sound right now?

“It’s not ridiculous,” Hosking replied. “It’s all linked.”

“It is ridiculous,” Ardern replied.

She said her Government had put money into an additional 1800 police officers – which Hosking countered was “ambulance at the bottom of the cliff stuff”.

“Bottom of the cliff. If you’re trying to stop supply that’s where you need to go,” Ardern said.

Hosking said it was well-known that young people started on soft drugs, such as cannabis, before getting into harder drugs.

“Nope, I absolutely disagree with you,” Ardern replied.

“It is outrageous and I’m personally offended that you would suggest that.”

Hosking continued, saying being a parent of a teenager, she was “seen as soft on drugs”.

“I’m going to stop you right there,” she replied. “First of all, this is a conversation that started with methamphetamine. It is a scourge on our society and on our communities… and if we want to make sure that we do something that works in this space the first thing I’m going to do is make sure that we crack down on supply.”

Hosking said it was the role of the Government to set boundaries for society, “and the difficulty with setting your sort of boundaries is that you create more problems”.

Ardern replied: “You’re suggesting that someone who goes to a festival and takes a pill of some sort which they often don’t know the content of is then the next day going to become a meth addict and I would have to push back on that.”

The Prime Minister said she had been told that the majority of people who do get their substances checked at festivals end up tipping them out.

“But what I’m saying is you’re creating an environment in this country where drug taking is normalised,” Hosking said.

“You’re not cracking down on it hard enough.”

Ardern denied that and said police continued to focus on supply chains.

Meanwhile, Hosking put to Ardern that she, together with NZ First, were anti-foreign investment with “the irony being, the four largest private landholders in this country are now foreigners”.

“No, we are not against quality foreign direct investment in New Zealand,” Ardern responded.

“What we were opposed to was it all going into our residential housing market, that doesn’t benefit anyone.”

When asked if there were too many forests at the expense of farming land, Ardern said there wasn’t as the country had lost forestry land into conversion agricultural land and not always “land that was appropriate to agricultural land”.

“We were losing… something like 7000 hectares per year with trees being ripped out and converted into ag. Now we’re seeing a bit of a transition back … we will not lose what should be land that should be used for food production in New Zealand.

“Right tree right place.”