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National’s Jami-Lee Ross problem

Written By: - Date published: 8:59 am, January 23rd, 2019 - 56 comments
Categories: national, paula bennett, same old national, Simon Bridges - Tags:

Jami Lee-Ross has resurfaced.

Clearly he is not going to disappear. And National must be sweating.

He has written this very personal facebook post which makes it clear he is not going anywhere.

I just can’t be driven by hatred anymore, or the pursuit of getting even with Simon Bridges, Paula Bennett or anyone else in the National Party. Life is too short for that. My time and energy needs to be focussed on doing everything I can for my family, my constituents and my country.

And an olive branch of sorts is offered to the National Party leadership. Although it is an olive branch soaked in a passive aggressive put down of their skills.

I don’t have hatred or animosity towards Simon or Paula anymore for the way they treated me. At the time they were doing all they knew how to do with the skill set they have.

But I still take responsibility, because it wasn’t fair on them. It wasn’t fair on Simon and Paula for them to be put in a position where they had to choose between helping someone with a health issue, or to put that person under more pressure because it was the better political move to make.

He suggests however that the Newsroom story into allegations of inappropriate behaviour by him was a National plant.

I have received a personal apology from one of the women that was sent to the media by Paula. I am grateful for her apology, but I more feel sorry for her that she was put through that traumatic experience. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for her to have her boss request she hand over all her personal text messages. Then to also be asked to talk about her personal life so National could “combat” me during that week – it can’t have been easy.

And he says this about National’s polling.

Simon has had nearly a year as leader and he’s tried his best. You can’t blame him for trying. But I was in his leadership team and I was one of about half a dozen that saw the full polling we were doing each week – the detailed polling report that the rest of the Caucus isn’t allowed to see. It didn’t matter how much we tried to do, each week Simon’s personal favourability kept going backwards further and further.

His comments about the leaking report are interesting. I agree that it presents less than a compelling case that he was the leaker.

When that PWC report was released to the media, I had only been told of it about an hour earlier. I hadn’t had a chance to read it, to understand it, or to seek advice on it. To this day the full report with the QC’s opinion hasn’t been released to me.

I didn’t know at the time that Simon and Paula talked to the media (because I hadn’t read the report) that it never actually identified wrong doing on my part. It never identified me as having done anything. What it did was draw together communications, which were unrelated, and formed a view that should never have been able to be formed, as well as saying that the evidence was not conclusive.

And Ross is definitely not going anywhere.

I am reminded at this time of a famous Mandela quote from his time leaving prison on Robben Island: “as I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”

I am still the same person that has been proud to work hard for Howick and Botany for a decade and a half. But I can admit, last year, I didn’t get everything right. I am sorry. I will do better.

It looks sort of like a peace offer and certainly represents a change in style and tone on his part but things are clearly not all hand holding kumbaya in the ranks of the right. In what appears to be an attempt to maintain media presence yesterday Ross disclosed that the infamous text from an MP he had an affair with is now the subject of a police investigation.

Police have confirmed they are investigating a text message sent to Ross.

I don’t know why it has taken so long. A normal investigation would involve reading the text and taking statements from Bridges and the sender of the text.

Section 179 of the Crimes Act may come into play but in the circumstances of the case I would not expect a conviction to be warranted.

And in the interests of unity and solidarity Bridges Ross could ask the police not to take the matter further. Although it is up to the police to make that decision I suspect they would be sympathetic to the request.

National will now have to make a call on using the waka jumping legislation power. Either it tolerates Ross’s continued presence or it is branded as hypocritical for exercising a power under legislation that it vehemently opposed for “principled” reasons.

Basically National is stuffed either way.

56 comments on “National’s Jami-Lee Ross problem ”

  1. rata 1

    Jami-Lee Ross has to be an American female country singer surely :).

  2. Ankerrawshark 2

    It’s worst than hypocritical if they instigate the Waka jumping Bill. It could look like kicking a man when he’s been down

    • Ross 2.1

      Yes and of course JLR may have more secret recordings hidden away for a rainy day. Having said that, if he doesn’t behave I suspect National will turf him out.

    • veutoviper 2.2

      And still hypocritical as well, considering the National Party’s complete opposition to the waka jumping bill when it went through Parliament at the same time as the whole JLR saga was taking place last year.

  3. Sacha 3

    Bridges could ask the police not to take the matter further. Although it is up to the police to make that decision I suspect they would be sympathetic to the request.

    Political interference in a police investigation? No thanks.

    [Oops I meant to say Ross. Now corrected – MS]

    • ianmac 3.1

      Jamie Lee said, I think, that the police decided on the text message investigation, and not him.

      • Chris T 3.1.1

        Police only investigate complaints

        • veutoviper 3.1.1.1

          Chris t, you should really check your facts.

          NZ Police are able to investigate and lay charges, even when a victim does not want them to. For example, in cases of assault and domestic violence and similar circumstances, which this one would probably fall into considering the nature of the past relationship between the two persons involved.

          Here is just one (simple language) sample of information on this.

          How do police decide whether to lay charges?

          In deciding whether to charge the person, the police will consider your views and whether or not there is sufficient evidence to prove the case in court.

          But if a serious offence like assault or domestic violence has occurred, the police can decide to lay charges even if you don’t want them to.

          http://www.victimsinfo.govt.nz/police-involvement/laying-charges/

          There is plenty more information on this on the net, including the relevant legislation, but I will leave you to find it yourself.

  4. ianmac 4

    “one of the women that was sent to the media by Paula.”
    If that means that Paula exposed the women to engage with Newsroom, isn’t that pretty scurrilous?

    • Cinny 4.1

      Yes, and it’s unsettling.

      Makes me wonder how much pressure was put on these women to do what paula says.

    • Sacha 4.2

      Seen no evidence yet that the Newsroom article and later media stories are about the same “4 women” – that number being mentioned in both instances seems to have encouraged conclusions.

  5. ianmac 5

    And this is pretty awful:
    “It wasn’t fair on Simon and Paula for them to be put in a position where they had to choose between helping someone with a health issue, or to put that person under more pressure because it was the better political move to make.”
    Unscrupulous?

  6. Mavourny 6

    JAMIE LEE CAUSED HIS OWN MENTAL PROBLEM =very good exscuse disloyal to his wife and party==I would say first priority his family =

    • Dennis Frank 6.1

      We actually don’t know his personal history of mental illness, although there was a media report that mentioned him acknowledging he had prior history of such. Some folks grow up vulnerable to pressure in that respect. Hard to mature when you lack suitable parenting! Note the childhood missing father & mother unable or unwilling to rear him: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jami-Lee_Ross

      • veutoviper 6.1.1

        “Hard to mature when you lack suitable parenting!”

        From all accounts, JLR had a very stable upbringing with his grandmother, coupled with his years at Dilworth School which has an excellent reputation of providing stability and role models etc as well as good education and sporting/outdoor etc opportunities, JLR has spoken very highly of both his grandmother and Dilworth. IIRC he has also had contact/built a relationship with his mother, and possibly also his father, over the years.

        • Dennis Frank 6.1.1.1

          Ok. Good to know. I recall him acknowledging his grandma’s positive influence, and I’m aware of Dilworth’s reputation via family experience. It will be interesting to see who gives him political support from now on!

      • Sacha 6.1.2

        There was media reporting that the *original leaker* had some history of mental illness. Still no evidence that person was JLR.

      • Chris 6.1.3

        The nats must see him as a ticking time bomb. It’s a matter of when not if he unleashes upon those he sees as having wronged him. The waka jumping rules are far from guaranteed protection. Bennett, Key and a few others aren’t out of the woods yet.

    • Michelle 6.2

      oh really did cameron slater cause his stroke too mavoury?

  7. Brutus Iscariot 7

    It’ll be a Harmful Digital Communications Act prosecution i assume.

  8. veutoviper 8

    Excellent post, mickysavage – very well balanced compared to some elsewhere.

    In view of the ‘soft spot’ you mentioned recently (lol), I thought you would not mind if I let people know that if they can’t or don’t want to access Facebook, JLR’s post there linked to in your post above has been reproduced in full n PG’s YourNZ blog in his post on the subject:

    https://yournz.org/2019/01/23/jlr-didnt-get-everything-right-i-am-sorry-i-will-do-better/

    Re the police investigation into the text sent to JLR, my reading of the various reports of this were that it was under the Harmful Digital Communications Act provisions as suggested by Brutus Iscariot at 7 above. It would not surprise me if the Police do nothing in the end. As an aside, I don’t know whether you noticed the (slightly naughty) last para in my 4.1 on your recent Chinese Herald post. Timing is interesting …

  9. Peter 9

    The PWC report presenting a less than a compelling case that he was the leaker?

    Two subsequent leaks (at least) from the National caucus with Ross off the caucus scene, showed, shows there’s a leaker there who isn’t Ross. Were all caucus members given the same scrutiny that he was?

    Get super sleuth Mark Mitchell onto it!

  10. Michael 10

    Nice to see Ross comparing himself with Mandela. I suspect his rampant egomania and narcissism isn’t yet totally under control.

    • veutoviper 10.1

      So “being reminded of” a quote from someone you admire and seeking to emulate that person is comparing yourself to them?

      Weak – try again.

      • Chris T 10.1.1

        If you think this isn’t comparing himself then it is a very niave thing to think

        “I am reminded at this time of a famous [Nelson] Mandela quote from his time leaving prison on Robben Island: “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”

        I am still the same person that has been proud to work hard for Howick and Botany for a decade and a half. But I can admit, last year, I didn’t get everything right. I am sorry. I will do better.”

  11. DJ Ward 11

    Firstly somebody has made a complaint to the police and it wasn’t Ross.

    The content of the text deserves a conviction. To say it shouldn’t is just bigotry. As a MRA I am perfectly aware of the consequences for men in relationship breakdown situations when men do the same thing, or for far less than what the woman MP did. Technically the woman MP can be expelled from parliament. The offence carries up to 3 years in prison. Considering the harm caused, including significant real risk of suicide requiring police intervention, a light, gynocentric sentence is not acceptable. Some home detention time.

    Any person who says Ross should go for having an affair, cheating on his wife, should demand the same from her. Having an affair cheating on her husband.

    Ross claiming Paula was a driving influence in the appalling character assassination attack Ross was originally subject too (alluding to him being a sex offender) is of no surprise to me. Originally the story was presented as a reporter had put together stories from some women independently of political influence, over a year. Majicaly of course, as how would these independent from each other women come together with stories that nobody knew about.

    Ross was not talking to the reporter getting the info from the leaker. That’s shown in the report. Ross was only ever talking to a different reporter. Who was talking to the reporter, publishing the leaks?

    • McFlock 11.1

      Not sure what the case law is for sentencing on incitement for suicide. But (ignoring all the dick-waving) it is indeed a career-ending conviction for a politician.

      • veutoviper 11.1.1

        An interesting area. I have just had a brief chat with Chris T at 3.1.1 and 3.1.1.1 on the fact that NZ Police are able to investigate and to lay charges if they think it appropriate, even if a victim does not want them to.

        Your comment sent me down another rabbit hole – a short one as I am due out – but here is what I came up with on googling “incitement to suicide nz”.

        Must rush and haven’t had time to check the items it produced as yet, but here is what emerged:

        https://www.google.com/search?q=incitement+to+suicide+nz&rlz=1C1LDJZ_enNZ499&oq=incitement+to+suicide+nz&aqs=chrome..69i57.11503j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

        Some interesting links on the very first page. I will go down the rabbit hole further later tonight.

        • McFlock 11.1.1.1

          The case that comes up in that google search is interesting – the jury was instructed to acquit because some people say things they don’t mean in the heat of the moment. If the defendant had consistently wanted to be rid of the person and repeatedly told them to do it, the intent would have been clear, but just saying it doesn’t mean you want it to happen.

          So a one-off text in the midst of a relationship breakdown probably wouldn’t cut it.

          Interesting.

          • DJ Ward 11.1.1.1.1

            Yes very. New legislation so hard to tell.

            What if one event doesn’t qualify for conviction?
            It tells people who behave like this that they are allowed to do it once. Doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. I can say I’m reducing my expectations just a little based on the idea of sustained behavour vs one off. We don’t know however what the other communications are.

            In the past, and obviously today this behavour was grounds for a Temporary Protection Order. A Permanent Protection Order would be granted with a text as evidence or if the Judge was satisfied a verbal event most likely took place. Along with some other supporting stuff as well.

            If a Male MP had a Protection Order placed against them they would be finding a new job.

            • McFlock 11.1.1.1.1.1

              It didn’t seem to be a count as opposed to how serious the threat seemed, and frequency is an indicator of whether the person means it.

              TPO/PPO are different to criminal convictions. You’re sliding again, from someone receiving a conviction that would procedurally make them ineligible for parliament to doing something that might lead to a protection order in some cases and that protection orders might make someone’s position in parliament untenable even if they still have a procedural eligibility to stay.

              As for your MRA obsession, you seem to be making a chain of comparisons and assuming it runs in a straight line – what “other supporting stuff” are you talking about? Do you know of any protection orders against any MPs? What if JLR doesn’t apply for a protection order?

              • DJ Ward

                Men rarely apply for protection orders even when the DV they experience is at the worst end of DV. Most male DV protection orders are from men who have previously experienced them in some way and understand there use in getting child custody.

                Other supporting stuff would be the usual spectrum of DV behavours.

                I never expected JLR to go the Protection Order path as I have never heard any the supporting stuff that justifies getting one. Plus in a social perception toxic masculinity way, he would look like less than a man if he got one.

                I’m not aware of any protection orders on or by male MPs. JLR went the Restrianing Order method with one of the females that complained about him. It’s also my recommendation for men in DV situations as it avoids the Family Court which routinely rejects male applications, and will do everything to bankrupt any man that comes near it.

                You should read the Backbone Collective submission to the Family Court Review. Then you will see the bigotry us MRAs are up against. 100% of women never lie and are never DV in any way. If they had there way like Women’s Refuges veiw men would just be automatically banned from children’s lives on request.

                • McFlock

                  So now you’ve gone from “the content of the text deserves a conviction” to… whatever…

                  Congrats on pointing out that toxic masculinity also is toxic to men, though. We all need to be the best we can get.

          • veutoviper 11.1.1.1.2

            Yes, the one-off nature of the Aug 11 text* combined with the fact that the woman concerned was apparently the one who alerted people to JLR’s critical condition some months later that led to him being found and taken into mental health care would probably be taken into consideration – or rather imo should be.

            I am of two minds and a bit conflicted in that I (a woman) believe that it takes ‘two to tango’ and that the two parties in this particular relationship have not been treated equally, with one being subject to massive public exposure and the other ‘hidden in sight’ with a lot of support and none of the same level of full public exposure.

            Going on past form I don’t believe that the NZ Police will take their investigation to the point of laying charges which bugs me for the above reasons; but in fact is probably the reasonable thing to do …. Time will tell.

            * sent a few hours after a good night had been had at an occasion in the Banquet Hall in Parliament promoting a particular part of the South Island.

  12. Tamati Tautuhi 12

    Grab a big bucket of your favourite flavoured pop corn and watch this thing unfold, it is going to be great to watch.

  13. ken 13

    Has JLR saved the best for last?
    Only time will tell.
    Soimun, Paula and all the other nasties can sweat it out right up to the next election.

  14. JustMe 15

    Don’t you worry Jamie Lee Ross in regards to no longer having any hatred let alone getting even with Simon Bridges, Paula Bennett etc, etc, etc. The remaining National MPs still carry that mantle of hatred and getting even. It sits so comfortably upon them that they don’t notice it anymore.

    Just be prepared that they will not be forgiving as it too is something that doesn’t sit comfortable with them.

    JLR has experienced what is has been like for many NZers who lived under a National government for 9 years too long. He has seen how nasty his former colleagues can be to another who criticised or deeply questioned what National did and still are doing.

    Lets hope JLR rises above National. He needs to consign National to the history books. He has learnt from the Party but it’s time for him to move on.

    I wish him well but I get the feeling those in National that he thought as friends are really his enemies.

  15. Sacha 16

    Media name Southland’s Sarah Dowie as the Nat MP who sent the txt being investigated by police:

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12195642

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2019/01/national-mp-sarah-dowie-under-investigation-by-police-over-sent-text-to-jami-lee-ross.html

    (and RNZ mentioned during 7am news, no link yet).

  16. Robert Guyton 17

    Todd Barclay somehow managed to avoid his police investigation. Sarah Dowie’s not so lucky. They were great mates, those two.

    • Sacha 17.1

      Perhaps Todd’s mischief would have exposed someone more valuable to the party than hers. Certainly put a lot of effort into thwarting public accountabiity.

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