Independent MP Jami-Lee Ross has fired a shot across the bow of the National MP who is considering launching his own party and rumoured to be thinking about running in Ross' Botany electorate.
But National Leader Simon Bridges was quick to shut down speculation, saying he was not interested in an electorate deal in the safe National seat.
On Friday, the Herald reported National MP Alfred Ngaro was weighing up the prospect of splitting off from National and forming his own Christian values-based party.
Ngaro has not commented on the issue, except to say he will make his intentions known in the future.
Bridges, however, told media today that Ngaro was "considering" forming the party.
Following speculation that Ngaro could run in Botany, Ross attacked Ngaro in a press release, sent to media this afternoon.
It refers to a Facebook post, Ngaro shared, encouraging people to attend an anti-abortion rally on Tuesday.
The post said that abortion was "not an issue. It is a travesty of justice and has become an unholy holocaust in our nation".
Ross said: "MPs in this country should be denouncing anyone that trivialises the Holocaust, not giving endorsement to those views."
According to the Abortion Supervisory Committee's 2018 report, there were 13,285 abortions in 2017 – up roughly 500 on the year prior.
But the number of abortions has been decreasing over the years and has dropped from 18,300 in 2007.
In recent weeks, the controversy surrounding the abortion debate has been heightened, after law makers in the US state of Alabama passed very restrictive abortion laws.
Asked if the press release was essentially drawing the battle lines for any challenge from Ngaro in Botany, Ross said he just thought it was an issue Botany voters should be aware of.
But Bridges today shut down any speculation that National would do any sort of deal with the would-be party in Botany.
"That's not something on the table, we want a National candidate in Botany.
"I'm not interested in electorate deals – that's certainly not something I have canvassed with Alfred or anyone else for that matter."
Bridges said he would be giving Ngaro some time and space to "see what he does" went it comes to the new party.
He said in theory, the prospect of a Christian values party has "some allure".
But he said he was under no illusions as to how hard it was to get a new party off the ground.
"I think it is an interesting idea, but it's not something that National is driving. If it happens, that's interesting, if it doesn't then that's fine too."
But he said there was a "gap in the market" for a Christian values party.
Asked about a potential electorate deal for Act in Epsom, Bridges said he would be making a decision on that at the end of this year, or the beginning of 2020.
He said he would also be making it clear to New Zealanders at the start of next year which parties National would work with when it comes to forming a coalition Government.