Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said greater care needs to be taken around the mental health of MPs.

Speaking on Newstalk ZB this morning, Ardern said the mental health of people within parliament is currently something that is talked about "from time to time" but that there was "a long way to go" to significantly address the issue.

"It is a pretty robust place and I think it needs to be better in that regard," Ardern said.

"A lot of the stresses that are put on people and their families in this place does come from the way we sometimes do politics.

Advertisement

"It is often about the man, not the ball. We should be discussing and debating issues but there is still a degree in which you are considered successful if you have claimed the scalp of another politician and I just don't think that is what the public wants from us.

"I talk a lot about trying to do politics differently. We have stayed out of what has happened in the past week because of that belief, but we have a long way to go," she said.

The discussion comes after former National Party MP Jami-Lee Ross was sectioned to an Auckland mental health facility.

His mental health came into question following a tumultuous week in which he traded insults and allegations with the National Party and came clean to his wife about extra-marital affairs.

Former National MP for Botany Jami-Lee Ross was sectioned to an Auckland mental health facility. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Former National MP for Botany Jami-Lee Ross was sectioned to an Auckland mental health facility. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Ross, a former member of the National caucus' senior team, quit the party and was expelled from the caucus after being accused of being the person who leaked Simon Bridges' travel and accommodation expenses.

Ross also accused Bridges of "unlawful activity" when it came it party donations, stating that a $100,000 donation from businessman Zhang Yikun had been divided up on Bridges' instruction to avoid it being declared.

Bridges has vehemently denied the claim and said any investigation would clear him and his party of any wrong-doing.

Despite the allegations, Ardern said she didn't think there needed to be an inquiry into political donations and foreign influence.

"Every election the Select Committee does some work around the operation of the last election, so the Select Committee did a review of what happened in the 2017 election," she said.

National Party Leader Simon Bridges said allegations made by Ross were wrong and he was lashing out. Photo / Mark Mitchell
National Party Leader Simon Bridges said allegations made by Ross were wrong and he was lashing out. Photo / Mark Mitchell

"We haven't had any evidence of interference in our 2017 General Election and we already have a protocol in place for the NZSIS and the GCSB should they become aware if foreign interference in our election.

"We also have limits on donations and pretty robust electorals and we rank number one by transparency internationally around lack of corruption – but we have got to be vigilant, though, and not be complacent. I think that is important."

When asked about whether the anonymity of donors should remain, Adern questioned the practicality of such a change.

"We then have to look at the vast number, not the numerical value, but the number of our donations which actually come from quite small donations online and things like someone buying a tea towel or sausage sizzle.

"I know that sounds benign but literally that is a part of the way we gather our donations, so would we want a system where, if you made a $10 donation online, you would have to then be on a public register? a) that would be quite unwieldy and b) I think it would probably put people off supporting democracy," Adern said.

"I would love a situation where we didn't have to campaign and fundraise for our campaigns, but we do. I don't think there is a social license that exists out there for us to have state funding, so it is about being really practical whilst also being transparent.

"Where do we put the line in the sand and what's the value that we think is significant enough that we then have to declare?"