Former National MP Jami-Lee Ross is forming his own political party

Author
Jason Walls, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 29 Apr 2020, 3:09PM
Jami-Lee Ross speaks to the media with his lawyer Ron Mansfield, outside the Auckland District Court, in February. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Jami-Lee Ross speaks to the media with his lawyer Ron Mansfield, outside the Auckland District Court, in February. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Former National MP Jami-Lee Ross is forming his own political party

Author
Jason Walls, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 29 Apr 2020, 3:09PM

Former National MP, turned independent, Jami-Lee Ross is starting his own political party ahead of this year's election and is calling it Advance New Zealand.

In one of his semi-regular newsletters, Ross last night asked his supporters if they would join with him in starting a "new political movement".

"I want to see a democratic country that has brave voices in the middle that speak truth to power," he said.

In late 2018, Ross quit National – just before he was kicked out – after a report concluded that he was most likely the leaker of confidential party information.

Ross has always maintained he was not the leak.

The fallout between Ross and his former party was dramatic. Ross called his former leader, Simon Bridges, a "corrupt politician" and accused him of orchestrating a cover-up of donation fraud.

Bridges and National denied this and, in February this year, Ross was named as one of four people facing charges concerning two $100,000 donations to National.

Ross, who was given name suppression, maintained his innocence and said he was painted as a "scapegoat".

Although the case is still ongoing, Ross appears to be looking to his political future.

He faces a tough battle to keep his Botany seat in September, squaring up with National candidate – and former Air New Zealand boss – Christopher Luxon.

But Ross is hoping a new political party which he leads will help return him to Parliament.
He told the Herald it will be called Advance New Zealand.

"Our democracy no longer represents middle of the road average Kiwis – there are two blocs of parties with a handful of minor parties subservient to their big brother and sister."

He said none of the established political parties have been prepared to speak out against the new risks the country is facing from the Chinese Communist Party.

"We are about to feel the economic effects of aligning ourselves so closely to China."

And he thinks that his previous political experience will give him the edge.

"No new party has made it to Parliament without a current or former MP leading it."

Although Advance New Zealand has not officially launched yet, he's sounded out his supporters to gauge their perspective.

"The emails overnight have been welcoming so far."