New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says the new reality TV show The GC, illustrates the gap between lifestyles in Australia and New Zealand.
The reality show, which follows a group of young Maori living and working on Australia's Gold Coast, has been panned as much for its content as for the $NZ419,408 ($A329,451) taxpayer funding it received from New Zealand On Air.
But in a speech to a Victoria University political science class, Mr Peters said the show gives an insight into the ongoing exodus of New Zealanders to Australia.
"The GC might as well be National's youth policy. In 2012, the reality is we are educating and training an entire generation of young people for a life in Australia. That is how dire things are," Mr Peters said on Monday.
"The drinking and partying lifestyle afforded by high incomes and first world living standards is in stark contrast to life back home in Aotearoa."
He told the students they'd be better off training as nurses or builders to take highly paid jobs in Australia.
"When things get really grim here, trade the nuances of political science for nursing. Learn to drive a bulldozer. Train to become a carpenter, an electrician, fencer, concrete floater, steel fixer or roofer, or nurse," he told the class.
Mr Peters also repeated his opposition to the sale of state-owned assets, urging the students to also voice their opposition.
He said NZ Prime Minister John Key "laughed at" thousands of protesters who marched on parliament last week against asset sales.
"It's up to all of us to wipe that smile off his face and tell him that New Zealand belongs to its people, and keep reminding him and his cronies, that our country, and your future, are not for sale."