Simon Bridges: Jami-Lee Ross is 'no longer my problem'

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 24 Oct 2018, 7:45am
National Party leader Simon Bridges and Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross

Simon Bridges: Jami-Lee Ross is 'no longer my problem'

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Wed, 24 Oct 2018, 7:45am

National leader Simon Bridges says Jami-Lee Ross is "no longer my problem" because he is not a National MP anymore.

The Botany MP was released from a mental health facility yesterday after being 'sectioned' following an unprecedented week of political turmoil for the National Party, as Ross laid a police complaint about alleged electoral fraud and traded insults and accusations with Bridges and the party.

Bridges told Mike Hosking today that they are focusing on the party, not Ross.

"He is no longer, in a sense, my problem because he is not a National MP because caucus unanimously expelled him, and I suppose we will just take every day as it comes with Jami-Lee Ross."

Bridges said he hoped Ross was getting the support he needed - but insisted that expelling him from the party was the right decision.

"I know that I did the right thing at every step of this, and it was the right thing to ultimately go through this process and expel him," the National leader said.

"He needs to think about where he's at and what he's doing. I hope he is getting the support and help he needs to get well."

Bridges said National did not have any plans to immediately use the new waka-jumping law - which his party opposed - to kick Ross out of Parliament.

"We are not going to use it [the waka jumping bill] while he's not well.

"After that, I suppose the reality is we can always have a discussion but, as you will have seen, I think every National MP has spoken against the bill, so I think it's fairly unlikely."

When asked about the latest Colmar Brunton-TVNZ poll, Bridges said they have had "the toughest week in politics for a National Party", but the party's strength is coming through.

National slipped two points - down from 45 to 43 per cent, while Labour was up three points to 45 per cent support.

Bridges' already abysmal rating as preferred Prime Minister slipped further, from 10 to 7 per cent, while Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern went up, to 42 per cent.

"The underlying strength of us comes through very clearly under my leadership in this poll," Bridges said. 

National had been working against a "pretty hopeless Government".

"It's the party vote poll that matters and under me, it's incredibly strong."

Meanwhile, Newstalk ZB political editor Barry Soper told Mike Hosking given the week National is actually doing fairly well.

"Considering the opinion poll was taken right in the middle of the storm for the National Party, I think that is a pretty remarkable result."

"It's a party without a partner, even John Key with all his popularity couldn't do it on his own, and that is National's biggest problem at the moment."

However, Soper disputed Bridges' claim that Jami-Lee Ross was no longer his problem.

"He will be no doubt turning up to Parliament at some stage and he has got the key to the closet where all the skeletons are.

"He knows everything about the National Party being the former whip, so I still think he is a problem."