The Act Party has damaged itself by dumping deputy leader Heather Roy -- and for reasons leader Rodney Hide isn't prepared to reveal.
Mr Hide was tight-lipped at a press conference yesterday, which followed a crisis caucus meeting where first-term MP John Boscawen replaced Mrs Roy as deputy.
"John Boscawen put his hand up to be deputy leader. That required a vote in caucus. Avote was held. John Boscawen succeeded in becoming the deputy leader -- those are the facts," was all Mr Hide would say.
Mrs Roy immediately resigned her ministerial portfolios and went on two weeks' leave amid a spate of rumours about faction fighting within Act's five-member caucus which are likely to further erode the party's dismal poll ratings.
Last year Mrs Roy was accused of working with fellow MP Sir Roger Douglas against Mr Hide's leadership and it is understood she was again rallying sentiment against him.
Whether Mrs Roy wanted the leadership herself isn't clear, and if she did it makes little sense because Mr Hide is Act's lifeline through the Epsom electorate seat he holds.
Without an electorate seat, Act would not have gained any MPs at the last election because it couldn't crack the 5% threshold of the party vote, winning just 3.65% which gave it five seats.
Mr Hide said his leadership wasn't challenged yesterday and the sole focus was on the deputy position.
Mr Boscawen said it was his own decision to challenge Mrs Roy.
"I believed that I could better assist Rodney in running our election campaign up until the election next year," he said.
Mr Boscawen has taken over Mrs Roy's consumer affairs portfolio and an associate commerce role previously held by Mr Hide.
The associate defence portfolio Mrs Roy held is vacant.
Prime Minister John Key confirmed the changes and Mr Boscawen will be sworn in as a minister today by Governor-General Anand Satyanand.
Mr Key said he knew nothing about the reasons behind yesterday's events.
"I don't understand the reasons why, I have been given no explanation by the leader of the Act Party," he told reporters.
"It's fundamentally of no consequence to me, I am not part of the Act caucus, it's not for me to be aware of those details."