Sam Uffindell sends support to Kiri Allan, says it's 'bloody tough in the spotlight'

National Party MP Sam Uffindell has sent his support to former Minister Kiri Allan, saying politics is a "pretty brutal place" and it can be hard to be in the spotlight.

Uffindell, the MP for Tauranga, faced scrutiny last year after it was revealed he had assaulted a younger student while he was studying at Auckland's King's College as a teen. There was also an independent investigation into his behaviour while he was a student at the University of Otago. He was booted from National's caucus while this investigation was completed, although he was later welcomed back after being cleared of bullying.

On Tuesday, speaking on Allan's car crash and arrest during the weekend, Uffindell said he feels for the former minister.

"It's pretty tough when the sun shines brightly on politicians, as it does sometimes, and I feel for Kiri," he told reporters.

He and his wife sent a text to Allan on Monday that he said was along the lines of: "G'day mate, I hope you're doing alright. We're thinking of you. It can be bloody tough in the spotlight, so keep your chin up."

Asked if there's anything that can prepare politicians for the scrutiny they face, Uffindell said leaning on your friends and family is important.

"You come in here, hopefully appreciating that it's a pretty heavy place, but when things go wrong, you've got to have those networks and you've got to be able to fall back on those to get you through it," he said.

"It's a pretty tough environment, it's a bit of a blood sport. You can do really well here, and you can get punished as well."

Sam Uffindell.
Sam Uffindell. Photo credit: Newshub.

Earlier on Tuesday, Allan said she wouldn't put herself forward for re-election for her East Coast electorate because she needs "time to heal myself and chart a new course for my life".

"I have let my electorate down, my party down, and all those that relied on me," she said in a statement on Instagram.

"Being the representative for the East Coast has been the greatest privilege of my life. But my actions have let everyone down."

She also apologised to Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, saying she had "undermined" him and the trust he placed in her to "do an important job for New Zealand". She then apologised to her colleagues and party members.

Allan went on to thank the "awesome people" of the East Coast for their messages of love and support.

"I am so proud to have been your representative in Parliament, and I am so sorry to have let you down in a time when our region is hurting so much. I will continue to serve you as a MP until October and my offices are open with our arms wide open."

Allan said it was "time to step out of the arena". 

"I'm not sure how long for, or if I'll return, but my focus is now on trying to find a different kind of strength to serve our people and our place."