Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett gushed about her admiration for Prime Minister Bill English today, saying she had a political crush on him.

Bennett was responding to reporters' questions about why so many speakers at the National Party conference in Wellington were praising English's leadership at the end of a traumatic week for English.

"He is just a man admire so greatly and every time I see him working," she said at the conference.

"I have worked so closely with him for such a long period of time and watching him thrive as the Prime Minister of this country and enjoy it as much as he does and actually work hard for New Zealanders is a buzz that I can't help sharing.


"So sorry, you are probably going to hear a lot of that from me and hopefully for the next few years."

Asked if she had a crush on him, she said "I do. I've got a political crush. Let's just admit it. Put it out there.

"He's just got this amazing big brain - just the complexity of issues that he can tackle - and then he has an innate ability to cut it down into caring about an individual community."

English spoke briefly to the conference and only hinted at the political traumas of the past week.

"It has been a tough and interesting week in politics this week, actually for both major parties," English said in reference to Labour's foreign intern programme.

"And if you needed a reminder about how challenging the next three months are going to be then this last week, you had it.

"We will be tested on all aspects of our organisation, of our policy and of our behaviour. And if we pass those tests, then we will deserve to win."

He said there were no grounds for complacency or for "a shred of arrogance".


English was this week forced to release his police statement revealing that Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay had recorded his electorate agent's phone conversations last year.

That forced the resignation announcement of Barclay, who is not at the conference.

Bennett said the events of the past week had had barely any affect on the party.

"We are a party that is 81 years old. We've taken some bumps along the way. We've been knocked down and we've always got back up and I don't think the last week was a fatal blow.

"In fact it feels like it was barely a tap."