Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she would not have used the word "embarrassing" to describe the health issues that National MP Jami-Lee Ross and his leader cited as being the reason for Ross' time off from Parliament.
This follows National Leader Simon Bridges using the word three times during a press conference yesterday.
Ardern said she would not have used the word "embarrassing" to describe the situation.
Asked what she thought of Bridges using the word, she said: "We all get judged individually for the way we lead our own teams."
"I'm responsible for the way I lead mine and I hope I do that in a way that really does look after our team's wellbeing."
But she said this was a matter for Bridges and the National Party.
"When it comes to the health and wellbeing of our team members, all I can do is wish Jami-Lee Ross well as I would hope would happen if I ever had the same situation in my caucus," she told media in Auckland today."
She said would not comment on speculation Ross might be behind the leaking of National's expense records last month.
Bridges said Ross' departure was unrelated to the on-going leak investigation.
On Tuesday, Ross said in a statement he was taking some time off to focus on "personal health issues."
It was a decision that surprised Bridges, who told media it "came out of the blue."
Jami-Lee Ross, the MP for Botany, said there were times in life where you had to put your own health and family first.
"As a husband and a father I need to do that at this time."
A lot is unknown about Ross' situation. Bridges said in a press conference he did not want to characterise it.
But he said the situation could be "potentially embarrassing" for the 32 year-old MP.
When pressed about the comment, Bridges admitted it might not have been the right word to use.
Meanwhile, National MPs are rallying behind their leader despite criticism over his performance at the press conference.
Papakura MP Judith Collins said Bridges had been faced with a "very difficult situation" yesterday and when asked about his use of the word "embarrassing" she said she supported the leader.
Hutt South MP Chris Bishop said Bridges also said it was a difficult situation and he would be reluctant to criticism anyone.
List MP Nicola Willis said Bridges' press conference was "a job that needed to be done" and she wouldn't comment about the "embarrassing" word.