3 Oct 2018

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern circumspect over National MP's sick leave

12:53 pm on 3 October 2018

The prime minister says she wishes National MP Jami-Lee Ross well as he takes medical leave from Parliament, but has little other comment about the situation.

Jami-Lee Ross, MP for Botany

Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

The MP for Botany is taking several months' leave to deal with what he says are personal health issues.

National's leader Simon Bridges says his MP is dealing with something deeply private, and for the sake of his well-being needs time away from Parliament.

When responding to questions yesterday, Mr Bridges said Mr Ross first approached him about the situation last week, and as party leader he had tried to be as open and transparent as possible.

"I'm working through this, what is sensitive, perhaps a bit embarrassing, maybe a lot embarrassing potentially, does take some time," Mr Bridges said.

Speaking to reporters in Auckland today, Jacinda Ardern said the only information she had was what has been reported in the media.

"But when it comes to the health and well-being of one of our team members you know all I can do is wish Jami-Lee Ross well, as I would hope would happen if I ever had the same situation within my caucus."

She was also asked about using the word "embarrassing" when talking about an MP who's had to take sick leave.

"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 well-being but that's up to each of us as leaders."

She would not have used the word in that context, Ms Ardern said.

"That's a matter for him [Simon Bridges]... we're each responsible for our own teams."