Former National Party President Michelle Boag is defending Bill English after he said he would march in the streets for his own right to govern.
The National Party leader drew criticism for his response to the quick-fire question from Patrick Gower during the Newshub Leaders Debate, who asked Mr English and Jacinda Ardern: "What would you march in the streets for?"
"For the right to govern this country", Mr English responded.
Ms Ardern, on the other hand, said she would march the streets to end homelessness.
But despite criticism over Mr English's self-focused answer, Ms Boag says it is Ms Ardern who made the blunder.
"If you want to march down Queen St for child poverty, that's not bringing one child out of poverty... Governments are there to do stuff.
"What Bill English has put in place with his policies has actually done the work to get children out of poverty.
"He said, 'I would march to continue doing the work that I do'."
But Ms Boag was most critical about the debate host, Mr Gower, awarding him "stupid question of the night".
Left-wing political commentator Chris Trotter says Ms Ardern took out the question, answering "without a moment's hesitation".
"It's a measure of her relaxation in the role, which I find quite extraordinary."
But Mr Trotter believes Mr English came out on top overall.
"I scored it as if it was a boxing match round by round, and when I tallied up the points at the end, he was ahead.
"We saw a Bill English who was reinvigorated, who was passionate and in the round about poverty, he actually beat her. Now that shouldn't happen."
Right-leaning political commentator Matthew Hooton agreed.
"I think that just stating that in Jacinda's point of view she has vision and plans, I don't think sufficient at this time."
"There are very big questions about her attitudes towards tax… and she simply isn't telling the truth about her plans for tax."