Judith Collins is defending her comments about prominent microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles.
The Auckland University Covid expert has faced criticism for taking her mask off, while she and a bubble mate were alone on an Auckland beach.
But Collins has also come in for criticism, for calling Wiles a "big fat hypocrite".
The National leader told Mike Hosking she wasn't referring to Wiles' weight, and the controversy is politically-motivated.
“Sometimes when you tell the truth about something that’s happened, when it’s someone like Siouxsie Wiles or someone else that they’ve decided that they love, you’re going to get a backlash.”