Controversial MP Harete Hipango has "learnt her lesson" after being snapped trying to edit her Wikipedia page, according to National's new leadership team.
It was revealed last week that Hipango, who lost her Whanganui seat to Labour at the election but returned to Parliament on National's list in May following Nick Smith's resignation, instructed a staff member to edit the 'controversies' section of her Wikipedia page.
Allegations emerged that Hipango was trying to edit the selection of prior controversies, after a person making edits to her Wikipedia page identified themselves as her staff member.
"I am Harete Hipango's staff member and am editing her page on her behalf. She's stated that much of the information in the "Controveries" [SIC] section is false, and is causing a lot of distress to her family," the editor said.
Other Wikipedia editors judged that this meant the editor had a likely conflict of interest and therefore undid the changes made to Hipango's page.
It was Hipango's second controversy this year, after she deleted a post earlier this month showing her attendance at another COVID-19 anti-vaccine mandate and lockdown protest.
Hipango said in a statement to Newshub: "I recognise that this was an unwise decision and I regret that it may be distracting from what we should be focused on, which is holding the Government to account."
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, National leader Christopher Luxon said Hipango's actions were "pretty silly and unwise", and that she'd been spoken to by deputy leader Nicola Willis.
While she wouldn't go into detail about the conversation, Willis told reporters on Monday at National's caucus retreat in Queenstown that Hipango had "learnt her lesson".
"I'm confident she's learned her lesson. It's a private conversation so I'll leave it there," Willis said.
Luxon added: "Harete apologised, my expectations have been really clear, and we're just looking forward to having a great two days."
Hipango was tight-lipped about her conversation with Willis.
"Any conversation that I had with any members of my caucus, they're confidential and private," she told reporters.
"May I also say, thank you for your interest. I appreciate the concern. But to share that we all have a concern for New Zealanders and New Zealand and that's where my focus is and that's where my colleagues' focus is and that's where it needs to stay.
"Anything other than that, it's with good will, it's with good intent, it's not about me, it's not about any of us as individuals. The care, the concern and the regard has to be for New Zealanders and New Zealand and that's where my focus is and that's where it will stay."
She then walked away before answering other questions.
Luxon said his focus is on earning back the public's trust.
"For us it's the year about saying 'we're back' and it's about proposing ideas that we can excite the New Zealand people about and actually solve some of the biggest problems we've got in this country," he told reporters.
"For us it's about getting into the work and making sure we've got good ideas. We want each of our portfolio leaders to come up with proposals that New Zealand can think about and if we do that right, we'll fundamentally be able to earn back their trust and confidence and go forward from there."
The latest TVNZ-Kantar poll shows 42 percent approval of Luxon's performance as Opposition leader and 20 percent disapproval, compared to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern whose performance has earned her 52 percent approval and 37 percent disapproval.
Ardern's net approval - worked out by subtracting her disapproval rating from her approval rating - is 15, compared to Luxon's 22. But Labour is still leading on 40 percent compared to National on 32 percent.
Luxon's major challenge as leader is earning back public trust after various scandals that have plagued National in recent years - scandals that no doubt contributed to Labour's historic win in 2020.
Luxon was elected National leader in late November after then-leader Judith Collins was ousted by the caucus in a vote of no confidence. The caucus turned on Collins after she sent out a shock late-night press release announcing she'd demoted her rival Simon Bridges over an allegation of "serious misconduct".
It turned out it was MP Jacqui Dean who, about five years ago, complained to then-Deputy Prime Minister Bill English about comments of a sexual nature Bridges made in front of her and other colleagues.
The caucus did not approve of Collins dismissing Bridges without discussing it first.
Bridges, in the end, stepped aside to let Luxon lead. Speaking to reporters in Queenstown, the finance spokesperson said he hoped for a smoother year.
"We had a reset, we've got a strong leader, we've got a good leadership team, and I'm very excited for National's prospects this year," Bridges said.
"What I've been hearing just this morning and last night talking with various colleagues is a real sense of dissatisfaction with Labour. I actually haven't seen in my career people coming up on the street making clear how dissatisfied they are, and they want us to do better.
"We owe it to New Zealanders to do that. I feel great under Chris Luxon that we can do that."