ACT leader David Seymour today said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern should be in Sandringham after the fatal stabbing of a dairy worker there - but Ardern said she needs to consider both the active police investigation and the family's grief.
Ardern was in the Chatham Islands today to announce a new grant.
She is MP for Auckland's Mount Albert, an electorate that includes Rose Cottage Superette where the dairy worker died on Wednesday.
Seymour said in a statement that "the Prime Minister and MP for Mt Albert has shown a complete lack of judgment by going to the Chatham Islands today instead of supporting her local community".
"This should be a turning point where the government finally takes retail crime as seriously as it deserves," he said.
"That it happened in the Prime Minister's electorate should be the final straw that makes the Government respond decisively."
Seymour said Ardern could have "easily postponed" the Chathams trip, and the PM should be more focussed on retail crime.
"Jacinda Ardern should be in Mt Albert today and nothing should have got in the way of that."
'There's a time and place'
Responding to Seymour's criticism, Ardern said she contacted Sandringham community leaders and others affected yesterday.
"It is my local community, so I will be looking to be present there as soon as I'm able to but I'm also very aware there's a family grieving, and there's a police active investigation into a homicide," she said.
"I do need to delicately balance being in the right place at the right time when it comes to those two issues."
Responding to critics who say the Government isn't doing enough to support shop owners, Ardern said she would "obviously reject that".
"We need to do as much as we can to prevent these kind of incidents and we will keep doing that, but again, within these circumstances I also need to be mindful of the human beings that are involved right now as well."