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William Wood, 18, apologised yesterday for the image, which was taken four years ago when he was aged 14.
The photo, which has been reported on by media since surfacing online, shows Wood posing like Hitler with what appears to be a painted on small moustache.
It appears to be a photo he sent to a friend – or group of friends – which appears to have been leaked.
Collins said today that Wood, National's candidate for the Palmerston North electorate, had faced severe bullying since the incident emerged.
"He's been targeted and bullied and I will not stand for that either," she told reporters today.
Collins described the fallout as a "shocking attack on a young man".
The fact he had promptly apologised yesterday was a sign of "immense maturity".
"And I would like to say to him don't worry, we've got your back," she said.
Rival MPs excuse 'Hitler' case as young man's mistake
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters and Act leader David Seymour both expressed some sympathy for Wood.
"We all make mistakes when we were young – I would think it's part of the growing up process," Peters said.
But he did quip that "by the looks of it, he's still growing up".