National Caucus votes to expel Jami-Lee Ross

National Party leader Simon Bridges.

The National Party Caucus has voted unanimously to expel Jami-Lee Ross.

This was the strongest possible action the Caucus can take and reflects the seriousness of the issues and the fact we are united and focused on the interests of New Zealanders, says a statement released by the Opposition Party today.

"It is clear Jami-Lee Ross was not.

"We are not going to tolerate the kind of lies and disloyalty we’ve seen from Jami-Lee Ross who has put his own interests above the National Party and those of New Zealanders.

"The lies, the leaks and other allegations about his conduct are unacceptable," says Simon Bridges.

"I also entirely reject the allegations Jami-Lee has made around the handling of political donations.

"I invite Jami-Lee Ross to take these matters to the Police and I invite the Police to investigate them fully and promptly. They will find the allegations are baseless.

"We as a caucus are going to now draw a line under this. We will be resolutely strong and focused on the things that matter to New Zealanders."

The latest announcement comes after Simon identified Jami-Lee as the person who leaked National Party information earlier this year. Read more here.

Jami-Lee Ross' side

National MP Jami-Lee Ross is to resign his seat and step down from the National Party, and will stand as an independent in any by-election for his Botany seat.

Speaking to media at Parliament in a stand-up that lasted almost an hour, he alleged Mr Bridges had broken electoral donation law and said he would put in an official police complaint.

Mr Ross said he had had a mental breakdown as pressure was ramped up on him to leave the party.

Mr Ross was speaking as MPs met in caucus to decide whether to suspend him after leader National leader Simon Bridges yesterday identified Mr Ross as the likely leaker of his travel expenses. Minutes before this was revealed, Mr Ross went on Twitter with a range of allegations against the leader.

Mr Ross said today it was clear he'd had a falling out with with leader Simon Bridges.

He said he once thought Mr Bridges was capable of being Prime Minster, "but now that I see what he's really like it is clear that he's not".

"Simon is a flawed individual without a moral compass."

Mr Ross said Mr Bridges breached electoral law several times, and that it was not acceptable.

"I believe Simon Bridges is a corrupt politician," he said.

He alleged Mr Bridges had carried out unlawful activity relating to election donations, including activity which Mr Bridges denied yesterday.

"Certainly I reject any allegation of the sort in terms of unlawful activity, it's simply not true," Mr Bridges told media yesterday.

Mr Ross claimed that Mr Bridges asked him to collect a $100,000 donation from a wealthy businessman and was at pains to point out the donation should not be made public. He said the donation was split into smaller amounts below the $15,000 declaration threshold.

He said he would release photos to prove the meeting between the businessman and Mr Bridges took place.

Mr Ross said his dramatic falling-out with Mr Bridges was the reason he was the target of a campaign to push him out of the party.

The campaign started three weeks ago, he said.

He was "marched to Simon Bridges' office" where he was told four women had approached deputy leader Paula Bennett, claiming Mr Ross had harassed them. He said Mr Bridges asked him to resign his portfolios, leave Parliament, and return to the backbench at the beginning of next year.

He strenously denied allegations he had harrassed anyone.

Mr Ross said was deeply hurt that Mr Bridges characterised his health problems as embarrassing.

He said his mental health was better now, and a doctor had told him he was fit to make his own decisions about his career.

Mr Ross said he did not leak Mr Bridges' expenses, but he leaked the text message from the person who did, which said the person who had leaked the information was in a fragile mental state, and asking for the inquiry into the leak to be called off.

He said the Botany by-election would be a referendum on Mr Bridges' leadership.

-Additional reporting from RNZ


5 Comments

Concerns

Posted on 19-10-2018 14:47 | By Merlin

My concerns over these events. 1.The donation was banked in Botany electorate account and what happened to it after that. 2.The claims about the matters about Ross and woman was dealt with by confidential agreements to avoid it embarrassing National which the confidentiality was broken anyway. 3. It appears you can ask for a List MP position by making a large donation to the National Party. These matters need answers rather than the personal attacks that is going on at present.

Tick tock

Posted on 17-10-2018 00:44 | By Slim Shady

The end is nigh. Despite the team huddle, the public bullying, the spin and the denials, there is something rotten in the state of a Denmark. Even if the allegations are not true, you’re goneburger. If they are true, pack a toothbrush.

Dirty, rotten, traitor

Posted on 16-10-2018 18:48 | By Mommatum

There is no other way to describe Jamie Lee Ross, and his playing the mental health card is a cunning tactic to mitigate personal responsibility and garner support from that lobby. Much as Meka Whaiterei was able to utilise ethnicity. As for impugning the integrity of our MP SImon Bridges he should be facing libel charges, and the people of Tauranga need to stand behind him 100%. I’ve known Simon Bridges since he first stood as Nationals candidate when he helped my family out of a very dangerous situation and he is one of the most honest people I know. I’m proud he’s my local MP and I am appalled at how keen the media is to side with master manipulator Ross.

Quite obviously

Posted on 16-10-2018 18:27 | By R1Squid

As John Key modelled his leadership style on Barrack Obama, Simon Bridges is modelling his leadership style on Donald Trump. Seems likely that both Donald and Simon may fail at the mid term elections.

For the few, not the many

Posted on 16-10-2018 14:28 | By red

’We are united and focused on the interests of New Zealanders’.... hmm, I think not. There’s a seat ready for you on the backbenches Simon!

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