Jacinda Ardern's curt response to the vicious rumours her partner has been subjected to almost certainly belies her deeper feelings.

"I won't comment on dirty politics," she told the Herald.

"It's just not what I'm here for."

False Clarke Gayford rumours: PM Jacinda Ardern, Police Commissioner respond


The fact is that the rumours have been a distraction for the Prime Minister and her office, in terms of time, energy - and emotion.

The intention of the low-lifes in promulgating the rumours was doubtless to inflict maximum damage.

For a new Prime Minister with an image as wholesome as motherhood and apple pie, being distracted by persistent and false rumours is as damaging as the reputational damage.

The fact that Police Commissioner Mike Bush saw fit to issue a statement saying Clarke Gayford had never been under investigation by the police, or charged with an offence, underscores how grave the situation had become.

For the conspiracy theorists in our society, such reassurances will simply be evidence of collusion between institutions of state.

But for reasonable members of the public, who have received a piece of gossip from an anonymous source in social media and not know what to believe, they now have something to believe from a named and reputable source.

No MP ever sits by calmly when a member of their family is somehow hurt through their association with politics. It is often the time when we get to see the true grit of the politician.

Ardern will have the sympathy of every party in Parliament and all but the most stone-hearted MP.

That makes her calculated reference to "dirty politics" in her statement unfair on National.

As she well knows, 'dirty politics' is no longer a generic phrase, but was the title of the Nicky Hager book about some low-life operatives associated with the former government.

Ardern has no reason to cast a slur on the National Party by innuendo.

That is to stoop to the standards of the peddlers of rumour.