Maureen Pugh stands by Simon Bridges despite 'useless' criticism

Despite being labelled "f**king useless" by her own party leader, Maureen Pugh is standing by Simon Bridges.

The little-known National MP who is 54th on the party list was thrust into the spotlight on Wednesday when Jami-Lee Ross released a recording of a conversation he had with Mr Bridges in June.

In the recording, Mr Bridges makes unkind remarks about several of his MPs, including Chris Finlayson and David Carter, and doesn't disagree with Mr Ross' criticism of Nicky Wagner.

However, he saved his harshest words for Ms Pugh.

"Maureen Pugh is f**king useless."

Ms Pugh is National's Associate Spokesperson for Children.

She served as Mayor of the Westland District for nine years and was the first female mayor elected on the West Coast.

Soon after the audio was released on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Bridges announced he'd met with Ms Pugh to apologise in person.

He told media he didn't mean what he said about her in June, and praised the work she'd done for her district.

Now Ms Pugh has given her side of the story - and she's sticking with her leader, just as Mr Ross said earlier that National MPs will always do.

"Obviously I was disappointed to hear today's comments," she wrote on Twitter.

"But Simon has apologised and I have accepted that."

She even seemed to justify Mr Bridges' comments, saying she's "probably annoyed Simon at times" due to her fierce advocacy for the West Coast/Tasman area.

"I'm always in his ear, at times pushing the envelope for what is right for my community."

She then condemned Mr Ross for releasing the recording "that he knew would embarrass me", and said she's glad he's been expelled from caucus.

"I continue to back Simon and we'll both move on from this now."

Ms Pugh is towing the party line, disavowing the rogue MP and throwing her support behind the leader. Her comments echoed those of Mr Bridges, who earlier called Mr Ross a "terrible person"

"We're going to put him behind us," he told media.