National Party leader Simon Bridges emphasised this morning that Sarah Dowie, the MP whose alleged text to former colleague Jamie-Lee Ross has been blamed for his mental breakdown, does have a future with the National Party.
Police are looking into the text, sent last August, in which Ms Dowie is alleged to have told Mr Ross he "deserved to die". It is against the law to encourage or incite anyone to commit suicide.
Mr Ross, the embattled MP who says he had an affair with Ms Dowie, said the message caused his high-profile breakdown two months after it was sent.
Speaking on TVNZ1's Breakfast today, Mr Bridges said he still has confidence in Ms Dowie - although he admits she will be having a "tough time".
"I don't condone the text, but I think pepole can see, as I've said, that context of it and now there's a police investigation," he said.
"Ultimately, I don't get involved in the private lives of anyone...There is a context of a personal relationship that has gone very bad."
Mr Bridges said Ms Dowie is a hardworking, effective member of Parliament who will continue to "champion" her electorate of Inverargill.
He also said the party is unlikely to use the Waka-jumping bill to leverage Mr Ross out of Parliament.
"We don't like that law, we think it was a bad law and it's very unlikely we would use it," he said.