Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins should pay more heed to rumours they hear about misbehaving MPs, a political commentator says.
The rumour mill about sacked Cabinet minister Iain Lees-Galloway had been "working overtime for months", Newstalk ZB political editor Barry Soper wrote on Wednesday, after the MP's parliamentary career came to an abrupt end thanks to an extramarital affair with a staff member.
The affair was exposed when National Party leader Collins went to the Prime Minister with the allegation, the same day one of her own MPs - Andrew Falloon - was outed as sending lewd images to a teenager.
Ardern sacked Lees-Galloway, saying he had "opened himself up to accusations of improperly using his office".
Political commentator Trish Sherson, a former ACT Party staffer, told The AM Show on Friday security teams "have been going around and putting extra padlocks on all the closets to stop any more skeletons falling out".
"You can hear the rattling - every election they start coming out."
Rumours and innuendo are rife in politics.
"There are rumours that circulate around Parliament about MPs, about journalists, about ministers, about people who work in the building, and I take all of them with a grain of salt," senior Labour MP Chris Hipkins told Magic Talk on Wednesday.
"It's just idle people gossiping and often making things up. It would be a sad day if we got to the point where we ended up with every one of these 'rumours' being treated with a degree of credibility that they don't deserve."
But Sherson said Ardern should perhaps have been more receptive - Collins too, considering several women have now come forward with allegations against Falloon.
"Both leaders... did very well in how they handled this. But the bigger question for me is whether the leaders of the parties need to sharpen both their seeing and their hearing around rumours in Parliament.
"I get what the Prime Minister said - there are rumours flying around there all the time - but when you hear something or your staff hear something that should set the alarm bells ringing, surely that's the point you should call your minister in for a chat."
She fears the "really grubby" revelations of the past week will overshadow the election campaign.
"[Voters] are just tired and they're disappointed. The reputation of Parliament was already so low. What I'm worried about is it will make people less engaged."
Former National leader Simon Bridges, appearing on The AM Show earlier, expressed similar concerns.
"It's messy, it's unacceptable - use the word you want. I would just say to New Zealanders look, if they're fed up, we're fed up as well. It's very disheartening for most MPs who... actually go to work with good intentions, work hard and aren't involved in all of this carry-on."