New Zealand First MP Shane Jones believes Simon Bridges' days as National leader might be numbered.
Appearing on Newshub Nation on Saturday morning, Jones was asked if National's refusal to work with NZ First would hurt the party's chances of attracting votes in this year's election.
"It just depends whether or not Simon Bridges is outed in this upcoming court case," Jones replied, talking about the charges laid against former National Party member Jami-Lee Ross and three Auckland businessmen who donated to the party, but allegedly split their donations to avoid being named.
Ross was a National MP at the time the donations were made, and infamously released a recording of a conversation he had with Bridges about how to handle a $100,000 donation, believed to be from one of the businessmen also facing charges.
Bridges has not been charged. NZ First was entrusted with Ross' vote while he took time out of Parliament, before returning as an independent MP.
"It depends what the nature of the evidence is that's going to be put before the court," Jones said on Saturday.
"Everyone at the moment is piling on Jami-Lee Ross, but if Jami-Lee Ross and these donors can show that the leader of the National Party is absolutely across the detail, then he won't be the leader of the National Party."
It's not clear if Jones was hinting at a possible deal between National and NZ First, should Bridges be replaced as leader. Bridges and NZ First leader Winston Peters have bad blood between them.
Bridges told Newshub that National would "not work with NZ FIrst, no ifs, no buts or maybes".
"The case involving Mr Ross has always been about a vendetta by him. The trial against Mr Ross will involve evidence which will inform the public of the true facts."
Ross earlier this week said he would "trust the justice system in this country to establish" his own innocence.
"The National Party trolls have already started to mobilise and have mounted a campaign to take me down and to turn people against me... People in the end will see through their manipulation and their lies."
Bridges has struggled in the preferred Prime Minister polling, only recently breaching double-digits, but has kept his party's polling above that of Labour.
But National will likely need a coalition partner if it's going to retake power.