National MP Jami-Lee Ross, who is taking leave from Parliament for health reasons, is reportedly "highly pissed off" that National Party leader Simon Bridges characterised his health issue as "embarrassing".
"A senior source inside the National Party got hold of me yesterday to say Jami-Lee Ross, who stood down for personal reasons, is 'highly pissed off' with Bridges for saying the matter was embarrassing," The AM Show host Duncan Garner said.
"The source went on to say what is embarrassing is National's internal polling which has Bridges' internal favourability collapsing."
Mr Bridges described Mr Ross' health condition as "perhaps actually embarrassing. A lot embarrassing, potentially", during a press conference on Tuesday.
When questioned about why he'd used the word several times, he backtracked.
"Maybe that's not the right word. We all have our own views on these things, actually it's not really for me to characterise it," Mr Bridges said.
Jami-Lee Ross will leave the National Party Caucus to focus on his wellbeing and be with his wife and young children for an indefinite period of time. Mr Bridges indicated Mr Ross could be away for several months.
"Recently I have been dealing with some personal health issues," Mr Ross said in a statement.
"There are times in life where you have to put your own health and family first. As a husband and a father I need to do that at this time."
The timing of Mr Ross' departure is raising questions - the National Party is currently investigating the leak of Mr Bridges' expenses, which involves all MPs handing over their communications from February onward.
Last week, external party staff were informed the investigation would include looking into their communications too.
Mr Bridges insisted Mr Ross' departure is unrelated to the leak investigation.