Jami-Lee Ross staying in Parliament is a nightmare for National but a lifeline for Simon Bridges - at this stage, says Jenée Tibshraeny

Jami-Lee Ross.

By Jenée Tibshraeny

What a week in politics!

Before an episode of House of Cards: The New Zealand Edition had ended, another had started, featuring a different twist and new set of characters.

The latest development is that Jami-Lee Ross is no longer resigning from Parliament. 

While Ross has been expelled from the National caucus, he will remain in Parliament as an independent MP for the Botany electorate.

This means he can continue his crusade against the Party, while being protected by parliamentary privilege. So he can’t be sued for defamation in relation to anything he says in the House or a parliamentary committee.

Ross is proving to be a cockroach that just won’t die.

Waka jumping legislation unlikely to be used

National has responded to the news saying it's "considering all its options".

Further to the Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill, or waka jumping bill, passing at the end of September, it could get Ross booted out of Parliament if it manages to prove he has distorted the “proportionality of parliament”.

Barrister and electoral law expert, Graeme Edgeler, reckons Ross’ behaviour to date doesn’t meet this test.

He says National could have a case if, for example, Ross votes against a bill National supports, or simply doesn't vote.

He notes that because Ross doesn’t appear to have any mates in Parliament to vote on his behalf, he’ll have to turn up to vote on proposed legislation himself.

Edgeler explains that if National manages to make a case, it would need to let Ross know and give him an opportunity to respond.

If from this point two thirds of the National caucus agrees, the leader would send a letter to the Speaker of House saying Ross had distorted the proportionality of parliament. His Botany seat would become vacant and there would be a by-election.

Ross could however seek an injunction preventing National from expelling him from Parliament.

Given National so strongly opposed the waka-jumping legislation, it would have to suck up its pride and cop a lot of flak if it was to use it.

No silver lining in sight

Ross has made it clear he’s going to keep drip feeding recordings and text messages to the media to bring National into disrepute.

At this stage Bridges and the party seem safe from a legal perspective.

Ross’ evidence has failed to prove his allegation that Bridges got him to divvy up a $100,000 donation from a Chinese businessman to disguise the donor’s identity.

There’s still a chance the evidence Ross has given the police might lead to a different conclusion.

However morally, brand ‘National’ has been tarnished.

Regardless of the fact it was Ross who made the remark in the recorded conversation with Bridges that two Chinese candidates would be more valuable than two Indians, a large chunk of National’s support base has good reason to be offended.

Yes, the reality of politics is that parties owe donors favours and elect candidates based on their financial and human capital – how much money they can bring in and whether they fit the quota in terms of age, gender, race and so on. But hearing this discussed so frankly will not bode well with many.

Indications of foreign influence in New Zealand's domestic affairs are hugely concerning. 

Then there are the allegations that National Party President Peter Goodfellow helped broker a "peace agreement" that included a confidentiality clause between Ross and a woman who felt threatened by him.

And worst of all, there’s the fact Ross managed to make it to number seven on the party list when he’d earned himself a reputation for allegedly manipulating, bullying and sexually harassing so many women. 

A lot of damage has been done to National this week, and it’s anyone’s guess as to what’s to come.

Leader role now more of a poisoned chalice than it was before

Bridges’ leadership is safe for now, but not by his own doing.

With Ross on a mission to cause trouble from within Parliament, the leadership role is even more of a poisoned chalice than it was before.

Furthermore, there simply isn’t an obvious alternative that’s worth the party rocking the boat for at this stage.

Ross has for now dashed Judith Collins’ hopes of becoming leader, as she’s tied up with the same bunch of Dirty Politics characters as he is – the likes of blogger Cameron Slater and spin doctor Simon Lusk.

While the public might not be aware of this crowd, I can’t see the party thinking this is a particularly good time to highlight any connection to it.

Now so more than ever, it needs to have a united front and preserve the image of Ross being a lone wolf.

This shouldn't be too hard (even by political standards). There's nothing like a common enemy to create some sense of unity.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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68 Comments

This guy is pissing weedkiller everywhere. Surely the Nats are groping for the flush button. Based on his behaviour he has made himself unemployable, but seems to dumb to realise it.

He is lucky he lives in NZ. I shudder to think where he would be right now if NZ operated like Saudi...

Averageman. You may have been joking about NZ operating like Saudi yesterday, but today Jamie Lee Ross has been taken off by the police to a mental health centre? I wonder when we'll see him again?

http://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/national/jami-lee-ross-taken-to-mental-hea...

'If' we'll see him again?

'The cockroach that won't die' - Do the Chinese eat cockroaches?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94LVdEGZbuQ

Apparently they do!

I would not be too confident about Bridges not using the waka jumping law, before the sh*t completely hit the fan, he said himself that he would not rule out using it.
I think it will get too difficult not too

The MP for Invercargill might be a good replacement for Mr Bridges.

As you are alluding to, I think she has more on her mind right now than leading a party. What I’m hoping now is that this shines a strong light at any adulterous behaviour at parliament. My wife believes that men are lazy and will not jump out of the marital bed unless they have a new companion. To my mind that would implicate a lot of current MPs in all parties. Let’s do this.

Men who aren't manipulative, men who aren't trying to exert control over women, men who aren't basically misogynists, narcissists or sociopaths don't jump out of the marital bed, not because they are lazy, but because they do not need to in order to satisfy whatever perverse thing it is that drives them.

Too many double negatives. My basic point is that I suspect there’s some parliamentarians right now who are hoping like hell the light isn’t shone in their directions and I’d shine it strongest on the second marriage ones as a starter for 10, based on experience.

I am sure there are more, just challenging what looks like your wife's tendency to cherchez la femme in anything like this

What about Erica Stanford, she's got "the look" to counter Ardern. Nice looking family too.

*Whoosh*

Oh, ....really??

She's got that Michelle Obama look about her, but 20 years younger and minus the furrowed brow.

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Well, you know what they say about cockroaches, where there's one in plain sight, there's more in the shadows...

Well cockroaches show up when there is scrap within the vicinity. ... and there is quite a bit within the National party

Crikey, National might have to have a proper leadership contest and actually ask the party what they think. Never could see why the remaining bunch of second raters chose Bridges. It's a sorry look if he is the best they can do. I wonder who the party members would go for.

Politicians just hate letting the people in their party have their say.

They probably don't know either, apart from Judith Collins, she knows who she would go for

This seems to be a fundamental problem across the Western world. The failure of representative democracy.

If the politicians elect the leader we tend to get a centrist, managerial style that believes in nothing but getting votes by any means.

If the party members get to choose they often choose "someone who will get things done", whether it's a Putin, a Trump, or a Corbyn, as a reaction to the abject failure of the centrists who, believing in nothing, achieve nothing.

Hey Roger, great idea! That's what Labour did - got the Party to elect their Parliamentary leader. That's what led to David Cunliffe! Hmmm perhaps not such a good example. Well, that's what led to Andrew Little! Ok ok, I'm sure it's a good idea tho.

This all broke into the light of day with the Bridges 'embarrassing condition' faux pas. Followed up by outing Ross as The Leaker. Both of those mistakes count Bridges out for any future senior role in Government. I mean; would we want someone as prone to foot-in-mouth disease as that representing us on an international stage?

This whole debacle is down to one man and his mouth, and Jamie-Lee Ross it isn't....

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JLR exposed the rot in National, further enquiry into groups buying favour, back room deals, and people lining their pockets at the expense of the tax payer requires thorough investigation. Major concern for our homeland security.

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Yes, the bigger story in all of this is showing how much influence the CCP has in NZ politics and business.
And how seemingly unconcerned NZers and media are.

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yes and national are donkey deep in it, this on top of doing deals for movie producers , we are finding that the last nine years we have been led by the ultimate salesman that would sell anything and everything he could to better himself and his close supporters

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https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/107915296/alleged-national-donor-...

I'm not sure how I feel about this bit that appears in the article
"In a speech to the association he said: "We hope that the younger generation of Chaoshan people in New Zealand will inherit the entrepreneurial spirit of their Chaoshan seniors, and create a new world in the land of the long white cloud.""

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Yes. Had it said 'new life' - no worries, but "new world" reminds me of Columbus' discovery of America, and we know what happened to the extant population there.

Yes, you are right, that is the difference. Now I know why it made me feel quite uncomfortable

It's possibly a quirk of translation that's making it sound extra-sinister, but I don't like the implication that kiwis are in the way of somebody's manifest destiny.

A good overview of issues that our political parties and most media do not wish to discuss.
On political influence from outside states. And the significant overlap between politicians/politics and external business ties.
https://www.thespinoff.co.nz/politics/19-10-2018/the-ross-v-bridges-affa...

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National Party is now shown to have disregarded NZs independence.
https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/107915296/alleged-national-donor-...

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Are people that dumb not to realize that before, unless they benefit from it

Oops sorry, just posted the same link, I also singled out a few lines that concerned me in it.

NIc you are probably to young to remember George Parr, but sometimes it the nail on the head.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvmHfHUZs3A&t=12s

Why would you quit a free loading job, when the dole is hardly worth mentioning.
with free Accommodation,

Please name one of the real benefits of people talking around in circles, Committees,...and who need a Whip, to keep em in line, who give em selves pay rises, before any one else, Who run deficits...not surpluses...cost a fortune in BMWs, travelle, whilst heavily invested and leveraged to the 'Taxpayer Induced Scam' they invited the Asians to participate in, for your eternal servitude and debt....to keep their PARTY...going.

All by wannabees who have the temerity to warble on about Houses being affordable
Why do you think they are all there in Par-liar-ment...for 'Your" benefit......or "theirs ..Ours not to reason why, but to pay up...or die.

Want to be Mortgage Free......at last??. Get rid of em all, not a hope in sight......you brainwashed citizens of NZ. ...I could ruin this country for far less......than they are.............ya dozy dolts.

Is that clear enuff.

Oh my.. a Labour Weekend Rant....I feel so much better...this National Holiday...for Sum...serfs.

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Indications of foreign influence in New Zealand's domestic affairs are hugely concerning.

Indeed they are. But on Newshub Nation this morning that aspect of the matter didn't even get a mention. The conversation was purposefully directed/focused on the #MeToo aspects of the revelations.

This is scary - as it is almost as if, since the Chinese authorities came out with their official denials of exerting influence, a quiet directive from the bosses has been sent out to the big media outlets to downplay the idea of CCP money/influence. It does make you realise that the Auckland economy most certainly - and wider NZ to a lesser concentration - is totally reliant on the continued inflow of Yuan investment and spend - and the big guarantors of that inflow to Auckland/NZ have United Front connections.

There is a petition to Parliament already lodged seeking to have this aspect of foreign influence investigated - as was done recently in Australia - suggest those concerned sign it;

https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/petitions/document/PET_80558/petition-of...

Definition of ##METoo.....Guilty without trial.
Man size kleenex gone replaced with extral large,no more man of the match...it is madness.

Kate - how do you propose we find a good balance between the harmful effects of nationalism, while at the same time not selling ourselves (or the have nots) short by embracing globalisation?

I reckon the new coalition are indeed finding that balance - via amendments to the Overseas Investment Act, via strengthening our Labour Inspectorate, via changes to int'l education and immigration policy, via strengthening our regional economies, via up-resourcing MFAT and so on and so forth.

It requires a whole-of-government perspective to restore that balance that you refer to. From the outside, I think they are getting on top of their understanding of the problems and the vulnerabilities.

I'd be a lot happier if our relationship with Australia improved from here. I think our immigration policies of the past (i.e., the NZ back door to Aus) has really set us back in that regard. And we have some concerning credibility issues to resolve within the five eyes alliance.

Great points Kate - no disagreement (as per usual...)

Not sure if you follow Ray Dalio, but some interesting insights from the think tank at Bridgewater in this interview regarding above topic:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5C43i3yclec

Thanks, that was interesting. Seems to understand the problems well and he is worried about their unequal society, but his best/only suggestion for 'how to' make capitalism work for everyone seemed to be public-private partnerships (and tellingly, he himself didn't seem that convinced either).

I got the impression that in the back of his mind - there was an unspoken thought that when we "hit the top of the ninth inning" (and the next big recession happens), the wealth gap will widen even further and the middle class and the poor will end up far worse off than present.

Pensions, as he mentions are the big worry - when they fail - it doesn't even bear thinking about.

The other thing that was interesting, is that he mentioned how there is a lot of cash around at the moment (which was why he felt we were in the 7th inning out of 9 in the cycle, and hence the recession is about 2 years away).

I think he was referring to corporate America having a lot of spare cash. And therein lie part of the solution on 'how to' make capitalism work for everyone - they (big corporate America) need to start spending up large on R&D and personnel expansion and higher wages - NOT on repurchasing/inflating the value of their own stock whilst the population continues to spend on imported goods.

Jobs, jobs, jobs - in that sense Trump's got it right (and Dailo mentioned that) - but what are the big corporates doing with his tax cuts? Dailo didn't go so far as to put that question up.

That petition to Parliament has doubled in numbers of signatures inside the last day (i.e., when I signed). Still very small numbers but I suspect with greater profile it should take off.

interest.co.nz ought to interview the originator of the petition.

Just signed it and somewhat stunned by the low number. Expecting a thousand fold increase.

It needs more profile. So far, only Newsroom have linked to it in a single article that I have seen.

The petition article has now been republished with permission by Newsroom on Stuff;

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/107964066/Calls-for-inquiry-in...

Still only one signature per hour since I signed. I know it is a long holiday weekend but surely the honesty of the NZ govt is a higher priority than that!

An objective, sound piece. In pleasing contrast to the hysterics from much of the MSM including the recent strident calls for Bridges to resign simply on the basis of wild eyed allegations.

Again, yesterday, Allison Mau dramatically described how ‘bile immediately rose in her throat’ when reports began circulating that the Nats had ‘gagged’ a complainant with a NDA and a payment. Little compelling evidence was presented to validate her reaction, it was simply enough that a whiff of MeToo possibly existed.

Such strident advocacy masquerading as journalism no doubt keeps the author’s groupies revved up but contributes little to the conversation about this most serious of political events and also reinforces why so many turn away from conventional media outlets.

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Ross is just another example of a useless politician who went into local and central politics too young. Reading his biography it seems he has done nothing in life other than being a politician. Too much power and respect too young. So many commentators on this site said the Coalition would implode and no one more than The Boy. He is very quiet of late. I doubt he is sleeping at all. Ross is gifting The Coalition another term in the very least. The Coalition has handled last weeks hand grenade well. They are just sitting back and smiling and saying nothing. All they need to do now is start working on how they gain a third term. What a nightmare for those who thought the new government would not last. Life is so full of surprises.

Where's the Boy when you need him?
you know, the guy who has been whinging about how incompetent and dysfunctional the government are...
Clearly, his Nats are soundly functioning. well governed and led model of a political party....

The Coalition are not only steering the country, they're running it. Look whos threatening self detonation by way of airing toxic laundry now. The resident political gloomsters couldn't have got it more wrong if they'd tried!

I think I am on record well and truly that National in the last half, at the least, of their government lost touch with the “man on the street,” in their passion for their creation of government as “Corporate New Zealand.” Some would say with some justification that there never was any such touch. And so it went forth. Fletcher Challenge, crash. Fonterra, crash. National Party crash. So perhaps their ambition has been realised. Now I was no fan of Muldoon or his manner(s) or policies but at least he was there for the man on the street a heck of a lot more than this sorry lot. There was Rob’s mob and then, Key’s cronies!

Nah National lost touch with the "man on the street" when they reneged on John Key's promise of not increasing GST, reneged on "solving the housing crisis" that John Key campaigned on. They're a bunch of fkwits, the whole lot of them. I gave them the benefit of the doubt by voting for them for 2 terms.

I can proudly say they only got mine for one!

Honorary mention on this American website
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvxQditrSiY

Fast forward to around the five minute mark for the NZ content.

Yes, they looked tired in that last term and from what we've seen this week, they are sick & tired. I'm a Nat voter, always will be, but not too happy just now. Thank God they're in opposition. Another woeful week ahead(?) and it has got all the makings of start again stuff. Re-branding at least.
And we thought all the action was in Washington?

LJM, ditto. Have always voted National except for 1984/7 & 2017. Perhaps there is more to it than that . For instance Mr W.C. Fields was quoted as something like, he never voted to get anyone in, just to get someone out.

The Boy has been found.
To be fair it doesn’t worry me one iota about what is happening with National at the moment.
I said that Simon Bridges won’t be the leader of the next National bovernment in 2 years.
Hardly my fault Gordon If National has a nutter in their midst as all the parties have them.
All it is doing is allowing the coalition to continue to stuff things up without the limelight on them!
What’s happening with the cost of living with petrol being so damn high is going to cost the average family heaps in extra living costs.
Where are we at with Labours electioneering promises???
KiwiBore is just not alleging
Pike River yeah nah
Etc.etc.
Gordon bought a new rental just before we went overseas and had no trouble renting it to a lovely couple.
Christchurch is Becoming more and more popular by the day!

TM2. A very salient point. “ Every party has their nutters.” I totally agree with that. The scary question is though, what the hell is any one nutter doing in parliament. Does that mean the electorate now has to differentiate selectively between nutters on offer between respective parties when casting a vote?What calibre of democracy do we have about us in that case?

What makes the biggest difference to living costs?

Pushing up house prices and down wage growth, or a bit extra petrol tax? The number one expense a family has is the cost of housing.

Another 8 years The Boy. No leader, no party to get them over the line and no policies to attract voters. Labour can sleep walk and will remain in power. Just as well a couple more people have arrived in town as that recent STUFF article certainly told us your town has built and repaired too many houses for a stagnating population. You certainly are a glutton for punishment. And a narcissist as the thread of this article is not about property.

I’m of the opinion too many of our politicians have mental health issues. Aren’t the strongest meant to be leading our Country?

Harsh but fair imo.

Truth to be told, we probably all have our iss-shues. And what is strong, anyway? Is it the chest beating, ooga booga strongman, is it the quiet achiever, is it the man or woman next door who has been through hell and come out the other side, is it anyone of us, iss-shues and all? What shall we do to find out who is really strong, a tug of war of something similar, maybe? Please do not say, the one with the most money, because I reckon that you need to be certain type of unhinged to seek riches for their own sake (e.g. Colin Craig, Donald Trump).

National is not fit to be the Government

Ross is exposing the rot in National, Bridges has no credibility to Kiwis, he has lost their trust, he is not honest but very deceitful,

What type of leader is that

Labour must be so happy, its beyond their wildest dreams and if this carrys on they may win a 2nd term, they can watch all the fun, Ross not resigning is a big problem for National, he will keep them honest,