'Foolish' for Jacinda Ardern to think she handled information better - Judith Collins

Judith Collins says it's "foolish" for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to think she handled sensitive information about a National MP better than Collins did with a tip-off about a Labour MP. 

The Prime Minister on Wednesday stripped Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway of his ministerial portfolios after she found out he had an "inappropriate" relationship with a former staffer over a 12-month period. 

It came after National leader Judith Collins told The AM Show's Duncan Garner on Wednesday morning that she had passed on to Ardern a tip-off she had received about a Labour Party minister.

That was four hours before the Prime Minister went public. 

Collins denied she should have given the Prime Minister more time to deal with the situation and insisted she did not politicize it. 

"That is complete rubbish. When I'm asked a direct question as I was by Duncan Garner this morning, he got a straight answer - I wasn't going to obfuscate."

It follows the Prime Minister being tipped off about ex-National MP Andrew Falloon sending unsolicited indecent images to women. 

"The Prime Minister took two days to inform my office of information that we needed to know. I've taken just over an hour to let her know," Collins said. 

Both leaders are claiming they handled the information better. 

"The leader of the Opposition has received information and obviously has chosen to deal with that differently. That is her judgment. I made mine - she's made hers," Ardern said. 

Collins responded, "I think that would be foolish for her to say that."

Newshub asked the Prime Minister if there was a degree of dirty politics at play. 

"That's a question for the leader of the Opposition."

Both Ardern and Collins are desperate to talk about anything else.

"I've dealt with it," Ardern said. 

Collins said she hoped the country would forget about the Andrew Falloon scandal. 

"Most New Zealanders don't know who Andrew Falloon is and hopefully will soon forget."

The Prime Minister said on Wednesday she lost confidence in Lees-Galloway which is why he was booted from her Cabinet. 

"His actions have ultimately led me to lose my confidence in him as a minister."

His actions were laid bare by the Prime Minister: a consensual affair with one of his department officials who used to be his staffer.

"The minister has shown a lack of judgment over a period of 12 months," Ardern said. 

It's not the cheating that ended Lees-Galloway but that he was a boss, and that it lasted so long, until several months ago. 

"The sustained period, the issue this could've led to actions inappropriately using his office given his role as Minister of Work Place Relations and Safety," Ardern added. 

Lees-Galloway bailed from Parliament and refused to be interviewed. Some of his social media pages were taken down, including his Labour Party page which talks about the importance of integrity.

His electorate office has shut up shop. He won't need it much longer, because his constituents will soon have a new MP as Lees-Galloway will not seek re-election. 

In a statement on Wednesday, Lees-Galloway accepted the Prime Minister's decision, saying: "I have acted completely inappropriately in my position and can't continue as Minister.

"I have apologised to my family for letting them down... I also apologise to anyone who has been hurt by my actions."

His actions have done the beltway rumour rounds - but the Prime Minister said she wasn't aware until she was informed by Collins. 

"I had not been - obviously, I am aware of that now."

She also says a lot of gossip around Parliament is garbage.

"I would also share the caution here… working in this place, often rumours and allegations will circulate many of which will not be true," Ardern said. 

Though, not this time.