National's Asian MPs defend Simon Bridges' comments

New Zealand First says Jami-Lee Ross' secret recording of Simon Bridges highlights how the National Party views its ethnic MPs as cash machines.

But National MPs are defending their leader, saying he was entrapped and exhausted when the comments were made.

New Zealand First deputy leader Shane Jones says the recording confirms what many suspected.

"The National Party is a powerful group of white men. He's described [Asian MPs] as ATM machines."

But while Mr Jones was all guns blazing, Minister of Ethnic Communities Jenny Salesa was less forthright about the recording.

"It's not an issue for me or for the Labour Party, it's an issue for the National Party."

National MP Jian Yang made headlines last year when he admitted he taught Chinese spies for the Communist Party.

But he didn't want to make any headlines over his party leader's comparison between Chinese and Indian MPs, simply saying 'no' when asked if he was concerned.

There were similar responses from other Asian MPs in the National caucus.

"I have no concerns and I have no comment," said Parmjeet Parmer.

"As for Simon Bridges, he's my leader and I support him 100 percent," said Melissa Lee.

Jacqui Dean denied National has an ethnic quota, although suggested she herself could be in the party on a quota.

"I'm proudly here as a woman," she told Newshub.

National MPs insisted again and again they support their leader.

"Simon Bridges is fine, Jami-Lee Ross is the problem," said Barbara Kuriger.

"They were probably flippant sort of comments in a generic conversation," said one-time leader hopeful Mark Mitchell.

"It was clear to me that Simon was exhausted, he was tired and he was being set up," said Judith Collins.

Instead of talking about the oil and gas ban or taxes and petrol prices, National MPs spent another day defending their leader and the party's backroom dealings.

It was another nightmare day amidst a nightmare week for the National Party.