National supporter says a 'smear campaign' is underway to rid Simon Bridges

Drive 14/08/2018

National MPs and their supporters are defending Simon Bridges' big spend up during a nationwide roadshow.

On Monday night, Newshub broke the story that Simon Bridges had spent $113,000 on Crown limos and accommodation.

The information had been leaked to Newshub's political editor Tova O'Brien ahead of their expected public release.

When asked what they thought of leader Simon Bridges' spending on Crown cars and hotels, MPs had suspiciously similar answers.

"He's getting out there talking to people", "He's busy getting out there and listening to New Zealanders."

"He's working hard", "Busy", "[he's] clearly hard working."

Mr Bridges has called for a full forensic investigation into who leaked his expenses to Newshub - even though he says it's "no biggie".

Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard says the leak isn't a good look.

"It doesn't reflect well on the organisation as a whole," he told Newshub.

The Speaker has requested a list of exactly who had access to National's expenses.

Simon Bridges' roadshow expenses have been revealed. Getty.

That list includes the speaker himself, Parliamentary Services, Parliamentary library staff, and each party's whip gets sent their own expenses which they can send to their MPs.

Right-wing PR man Matthew Hooton told RadioLIVE Drive there is a "despicable smear campaign underway" against the National Party leader.

"Aid and abetted by an extreme left-wing, anti-National Party journalist called Tova O'Brien, who is a disgrace to the profession and a disgrace to Newshub, and is running a personal campaign to get rid of Simon Bridges."

Both sides of the house, however, are blaming each other.

"This hasn't come from National - I'm confident about that," Mr Bridges said.

Prime Minister and Labour leader Jacinda Ardern believes her party is not behind the leak.

"It certainly is not something we had access to and even if we did it would be totally inappropriate."

Pulling together all opposition leader's expenses over the last decade shows before Ms Ardern and Mr Bridges, no one since Phil Goff in 2009 had spent anywhere near as much as Mr Bridges' $113,000 dollars.

Watch the full interview above.

Drive with Ryan Bridge and Lisa Owen, 3pm - 6pm Weekdays and streaming live on'rova' channel 9 - available on Android and iPhone.