Judith Collins says she felt sorry for Clare Curran "as a human being" as the embattled minister struggled to put a sentence together in Parliament earlier this week.
National MP Melissa Lee asked Ms Curran on Wednesday what Government business had been conducted using her personal email account.
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"To the best of my recollection, um, ah, ah, I haven't, um, I haven't used my, um, I've answered, um, OIA, uh, uh - OIA responses and personal, um, and parliamentary questions correctly and to the best of my recollection, um, uh, you know, that - that has - that's what I've done," Ms Curran replied, in a performance described by Newshub political editor Tova O'Brien as "catastrophic".
"It was actually quite painful to watch," Ms Collins, no stranger to being dumped from Cabinet, told The AM Show on Friday.
"I thought this is someone who seriously needs to think about whether or not they want to come back into that environment. I felt quite sorry for her, and even though it's our job to hold her to account - and Melissa Lee's done an excellent job - I think we that we all felt a bit sorry for Clare as a human being.
"She should have been relieved of her posts properly a couple of weeks ago."
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Ms Curran lost her Government Digital Services and Open Government ministerial roles and was booted from Cabinet last month after it emerged she'd kept meetings off the record, but kept the Broadcasting role.
Fellow Labour MP Kris Faafoi, appearing alongside Ms Collins on The AM Show, said it's a portfolio she's "dying" to keep.
"She is still the Minister of Broadcasting because she has a passion for that… She'll be back to tough it out because that's her nature."
Ms Collins says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern should have dumped Ms Curran as a minister altogether, and her fumbling in the House on Wednesday should have been the final straw.
"I've never seen that before in 16 years."
She gave her blessing to Mr Faafoi, sitting alongside her in The AM Show's Wellington studio, to take on the role.
"The good thing with Kris is he can actually string two words together - he would know how to actually perform the job."
But Mr Faafoi was quick to recognise a poisoned chalice.
"Start a new poll, Duncan," he told host Duncan Garner. "I think my stock is heading south."