I have been listening to the audio that Jami-Lee Ross promised the public.
It certainly doesn’t look like Ross has the goods that he said he had. It’s certainly not the zinger recording that he has been claiming to have.
If it was a zinger it would be an audio recording in which Simon Bridges tells Jami-Lee Ross that he wants him to split up the donation into smaller bits, or in which Ross tells Bridges he will split it into smaller bits and Bridges says ‘yay, that’s great’.
That is not what Ross has. He has an audio recording of him telling Simon Bridges that they have the $100,000 donation, that it is sitting in the Botany electorate bank account. Bridges acknowledges it, he says it is a lot of money. But nothing about splitting it up.
Bridges talks about using it for attack ads but otherwise nothing about the donations being split up, which was crucial to Ross’ argument.
However, this is not good for Simon Bridges on another front.
Even though Jami-Lee Ross has failed to deliver the goods on the donations he has managed to deliver the goods in terms of damaging Simon Bridges.
Because in the audio, Bridges is heard discussing some of his MPs. He names Maureen Pugh and he describes her as ‘f***ing useless’. That is incredibly by for Bridges.
Not only is it bad for him in front of his caucus, for them to hear him talk about one of his colleagues like that, but it is terrible for his voters to hear him talk about one of his team like that.
It is bad reflection on his character.
However, as far as I’m concerned, if Jami-Lee Ross hasn’t got the audio in which there is an explicit discussion about splitting of donations, he is going to struggle to actually prove his claims, and they’re big claims, and they could backfire on him.