Labour MP Willie Jackson insists he doesn't have a "crush" on Judith Collins, despite about half of his recent posts on social media being about her.
Collins' struggles have dominated politics headlines lately, including clashes with journalists, bad polls, rumours she's about to be toppled by one of her one MPs and her "big fat" feud with microbiologist and New Zealander of the Year Siouxsie Wiles.
Jackson has been all too happy to share negative news about the National Party leader on his Facebook page. On Wednesday he shared an interview with Collins' former press secretary Janet Wilson "that gives insight into how toxic and dysfunctional the National Party has become", and on Sunday he sided with Dr Wiles, calling her a "hero" and accusing Collins of peddling "venom and awfulness".
He also criticised her combative appearance on TVNZ's Breakfast earlier this month, saying if she "can't handle a mild questioning on live TV, there is no way she could handle a quarter of what our Prime Minister does every minute of the day".
Appearing on The AM Show on Thursday, Jackson was asked if he was becoming obsessed with Collins, or had a crush on her.
"I just want to wish her all the best at this time. As we all know, she's really going through a tough time," Jackson said.
"Politics is a tough game - we all know that. It's never anything personal, it's just politics, you know? They try and take us out, we try and take them out, and Judith knows that better than anyone.
"So things are not going too well for them at the moment, for their party, but at a personal level I wish her all the best anyway. You probably wouldn't believe that after reading my Facebook posts."
Things aren't going too well at all. A new poll carried out by Curia, a company run by National-aligned blogger David Farrar, had National on 21.8 percent - only just ahead of ACT on 14.9. It's the lowest result National's posted in any credible poll since Collins assumed the leadership in 2020, and well below the 35 percent mark she once said would be her trigger to resign.
Jackson was unrepentant about giving Collins a kicking while she's down.
"That's politics though, isn't it? You know what Judith says about the Labour Party. I've got to give them a crack every now and then, keep them honest. It's going to be fascinating to see what happens over the next few days and next few months."
In addition to posts about Collins, Jackson has taken a number of digs at ACT leader David Seymour, as well as praising Aussie rugby hero Quade Cooper and promoting Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori.