Attack on Bridges, attack on National part of a bigger strategy?

Are we witnessing a planned strategy to get Simon Bridges dumped, disrupt and split National, Trash National’s healthy polling, drive a wedge between National and Chinese and Asian voters to open the way for a Jami-Lee Ross win in the Botany by-election (an electorate with a lot of Asian constituents)?

After two days of all out attack on Bridges and the National Party by Jami-Lee Ross (and, it seems, shadowy political mercenary Simon Lusk) I felt that if this is how dirty politics gets I didn’t want to be a part of it, even from my remote interest. I wondered whether i should just pack up and walk away from political discussion.

Bridges was always struggling as leader, and this attack may destroy his chances of becoming Prime Minister. On it’s own forcing him out and forcing National’s hand on getting a new leader may do National a favour , except that Ross/Lusk are also waging a war on National.

Ross and Lusk are attacking democracy – I think that most people will deplore this sort of attack politics, and it is likely to turn even more people away from having an interest in politics and from voting.

But I’m going to keep at it, because I suspect this is a part of the Ross/Lusk plan (I don’t know how involved Lusk is but to me this has his modus operandi and goals written all over it), and I think that needs to be confronted.

It looks like current onslaught may have been planned for some time. It may have began months ago after Plan A, for Ross to be rewarded with helping Bridges win the leadership with extraordinary power, as suggested by Richard Harman at Politik:

POLITIK is independent; no ads, no sponsors and no corporate owners. Instead it relies on subscriptions. That’s why it is a breach of copyright to copy an article. You may, however, share it through email, Facebook or Twitter.

A failed near megalomaniac grab for power appears to be the real reason that Jami Lee Ross fell out with National Leader Simon Bridges.

POLITIK has learned that Ross sought big rewards for his support for Bridges during the National Party leadership contest in February.

POLITIK is independent; no ads, no sponsors and no corporate owners. Instead it relies on subscriptions. That’s why it is a breach of copyright to copy an article. You may, however, share it through email, Facebook or Twitter.

(from http://politik.co.nz/en/content/politics/1452/How-ambition-brought-down-Jami-Lee-Ross-Jami-Lee-Ross-Simon-Bridges-National-Party-National-Party-caucus-suspension.htm)

So when Bridges won, he moved to claim his reward.

POLITIK has learned from multiple party and caucus sources that Ross wanted to be Shadow Leader of the House; Chief Whip and to sit on the front bench.

Along with those posts he also also wanted to be on the party board and to be in charge of party polling. In effect, he would have been a quasi-deputy leader with as much power as the leader himself.

Bridges said no and thus appears to have provoked Ross’s campaign against him.

That was in February. We now know that Ross was recording private conversations with Bridges in May. The recording that Ross has already released has hints of being a set up with the intention of using it later against Bridges.

Ross’ involvement in obtaining and dealing with donations in association with Bridges could feasibly also have been a part of the set up.

Then there was the leak of bridges expenses on August 13. The motive at the time was puzzling as the expenses were due to be released publicly on August 15 anyway. It seemed most likely to be a deliberate attempt to undermine Bridges – not by revealing information that would be made public anyway, but through the act of leaking to demonstrate instability in the National caucus and lack of confidence in Bridges’ leadership.

Following that were the multiple leak inquiries began, and on August 16 a text sent to Bridges, the Speaker and Newshub reporter Tova O’Brien on August 16, in which the anonymous sender (claiming to be a National MP) confessed to the leak and asked for the inquiry to be called off because they said they were at risk due to mental health issues.

This really stirred up speculation and motives, and put a lot of pressure on Bridges who pledged to continue his own inquiry into the leak after the Speaker dropped his inquiry.

Was Ross advising or encouraging Bridges on what to do at this stage? This festered on, until 2 October when Ross and bridges announced that Ross would take leave from Parliament for several months on medical grounds. From Ross’ statement:

Recently I have been dealing with some personal health issues.

There are times in life where you have to put your own health and family first. As a husband and a father I need to do that at this time.

That is why I have asked to have some time off on medical leave for a few months.

He asked for leave ‘for a few months’ to put his ‘own health and family first’. That ended up being two weeks – a remarkably quick recovery.

Parliament resumed from a recess this week. The PWC inquiry organised by Bridges was made public after Bridges and Paula Bennett showed it to Ross. Ross seemed to be remarkably well prepared for what unfolded over the last two days.

The National caucus met too consider Ross’ future in the National Party on Tuesday, but Ross set up a media conference to pre-empt them dumping him by resigning from the Party and from Parliament. He said he would stand for re-election in the by-election as an Independent. He seemed remarkably well prepared.

Ross also made serious allegations against Bridges (and National), and promised revelations.

Yesterday he made sure that media were aware of when he would arrive at a police station to make complaints about Bridges, claiming electoral law corruption.

Ross had promised to release a recording that would prove corrupt practice by Bridges, and he did that after talking to media at length after his visit to then police. It turned was regarded as not a ‘smoking gun’ as promised, and Ross was criticised for over-promising and under-delivering.

But the way things have unfolded this may have been deliberate. It had attracted media attention, and it looks to have been designed to cause disruption and division in the National caucus, and also may have been designed to drive a wedge between National and Chines and Asian supporters, donors and voters.

This could be a strategy to try to win the Botany by-election, where there are a lot of Chinese and Asian voters.

(Ross’ comments in the recording about Chinese and Indians may not have been good for getting their support though).

So this all could be a planned strategy to trash Bridges, trash National support, drive a wedge between National and Chinese financial and electoral support, and to win Botany as an independent.

But is that all? Remember that Lusk seems to be involved.

Back in 2013 from Stuff: Seriously happy to upset the status quo

Mr Lusk refers to himself as a “general strategist”. He is a National Party member, and “sometime volunteer”.

He says he prefers to work for individuals – and only those on the Centre-Right.

However, he saves his most scathing criticism for National: “They are only interested in preserving power for their existing MPs, and do not care about the future beyond this administration.”

He accuses the party of substituting “tenure for talent”.

That could mean talent that Lusk approves of.

“When the National Party came whispering to me that being associated with Cam was bad for my career I told them that Cam’s tenure meant he was too important to drop as a career,” Mr Lusk says.

That talent is somewhat discredited – notably Slater seems to have been largely left out of the loop on the current play.

Mr Lusk is dismissive of the current leadership. “I act for individuals, not the party, which gives me the latitude to do what is best for them and the values we share, not what is best for the current party hierarchy . . . I am far more interested in advancing pragmatic, moderate, Centre-Right policy over the next three decades than I am helping any government cling to power.”

Slater did campaign last year to try to discredit National and have them dumped by voters. He promoted Winston Peters. Slater has largely been a tool of others so may have been encouraged there.

In 2014 (Newshub):  Labour MP Nash wanted own party

3 News has obtained an email showing MP Stuart Nash wanted to set up a rival party with help from a key figure in Nicky Hager’s book.

The email links Mr Nash to Simon Lusk, a notorious right-wing political operative, who usually works with National, is a close ally of Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater and a key figure in Mr Hager’s book, Dirty Politics.

Nash was in Opposition then. Ross is in Opposition now.

So what is the aim of Ross and Lusk now?

Cripple National? Looks a likely aim. Drive a wedge between National and Chinese and Asian supporters. A possible aim.

Win Chinese and Asian support in Botany? Win Botany is a stated aim.

What then? Is this the beginnings of a plan to get a new party set up? No party has succeeded in getting into Parliament without a current or recent MP. Winning a by-election is an obvious toe on the door. It wouldn’t be difficult to build on that over the next two years ready for the 2020 election.

They might try to lure some National MPs across, so there may be more attempts at division there.

Such a party would be the right of National. Lusk has no doubt been studying the resurgence of right wing parties around the world.

I think there is obviously much more than a campaign of utu against Bridges going on.

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60 Comments

  1. Reply
    • Gezza

       /  October 18, 2018

      Now this has come up this morning on the AM show:

      Jami-Lee Ross: Four women speak out
      Over the past year, Newsroom investigations editor Melanie Reid has been looking into the background and behaviour of former National MP Jami-Lee Ross. She has talked to a number of people who have given detailed accounts, recordings and documents of their close working and personal relationships with the controversial politician.

      Post on this: https://yournz.org/2018/10/18/four-women-claim-harassment-by-jami-lee-ross/

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  October 18, 2018

      Mikey Hosking’s impartial assessment of the released recording.

      Jami-Lee Ross a ‘duplicitous, dishonest, conniving, feral little scumbag’
      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12144416

      Reply
      • duperez

         /  October 18, 2018

        We don’t know what Ross said to the police. If the totality of what he offered them was that tape, it would seem that Bridges (and anyone else) has no worries about being charged with anything related to the Electoral Act.

        If Mike Hosking thinks it likely that the totality was the tape, there was no other information giving a context to the tape, I think he is simple.

        Hosking summarises, “The difference between what he talked up Tuesday and what unfolded yesterday are two very, very different things.” That could be the case but for that to be factual
        Hosking would need to know what unfolded, what was unfolded behind closed police doors yesterday.

        Still it’s enough for the label ‘duplicitous, dishonest, conniving, feral little scumbag.’ It is good that Hosking comes out full frontal with his judgement and opinion.

        That it’s half-baked, emotional and shallow is no surprise.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  October 18, 2018

          I hope that Mike H didn’t say anything about the adulterous affairs; that would be most hypocritical.

          Reply
  2. Blazer

     /  October 18, 2018

    If its a new party with Ross as leader ,the appeal to the politically ambitious would be=0~!

    Brendan Horan and Gilbert Myles could be …contenders.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  October 18, 2018

      Ross has caused several prominent Chinese New Zealanders to ‘lose face’. Man he’s going to regret that like no one has ever regretted before (hat tip to Trumpy).

      Given my comment above it’s clear the rat has no self-awareness: a narcissist with no moral compass.

      Reply
    • High Flying Duck

       /  October 18, 2018

      Chuck in Colin Craig and the effervescent Gareth Morgan and it would be a powerhouse vote magnet.

      Reply
  3. Reply
  4. Reply
  5. PartisanZ

     /  October 18, 2018

    This ain’t an attack on democracy …

    This is an expose of how the decrepit ‘Swamp Thing’ we currently call ‘democracy’ really works …

    Hopefully it’s part of ‘democracy’ shedding its skin in an evolutionary, transformative process

    Reply
  6. David Fisher has had similar thoughts:

    Ross’ falling out with Bridges meant his time with National was finished. When Ross spoke on Tuesday, he questioned what Botany voters wanted – a backbench National MP who achieved nothing, or him?

    An independent MP with no party infrastructure is capable of achieving little more.

    If Ross was successful in winning the Botany seat, it would give a springboard to try to build support and launch a party to contest the 2020 election.

    Funding would be required – Lusk is known for an ability to identify donors. Capable candidates would also be necessary, which could offer opportunities for ambitious aspirants placed low on current party lists.

    Has Lusk devised a long game for Ross?

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12144204

    Reply
    • Pickled Possum

       /  October 18, 2018

      “Has Lusk devised a long game for Ross?”
      Probably.
      Didn’t Ross ring Lusk yesterday morning for his latest orders,
      I mean for a talk fest?

      “Ross admitted that he had been speaking with Simon Lusk, as recently as today. He said Lusk, who helped Ross’ strategy to win the Botany by-election in 2011, was a friend and someone he had known for a long time.
      Lusk’s name, along with Cameron Slater and the WhaleOil blog, featured prominently in Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics.”
      That David is a good investigative journo alrighty.

      I wonder if Ross loves Lusk the way that Trump said he loves Kim Jong-un
      Supreme Leader of South Korea and Leader of the Workers’ Party of Korea

      Reply
      • PartisanZ

         /  October 18, 2018

        Ae and Aye PG … “An independent MP with no party infrastructure is capable of achieving little more.”

        Yet surely any sensible, comprehensive, fair and just system of MMP-style democracy would make allowance for independent MPs?

        It stands to reason IMHO.

        Independent voices are an essential part of social organisation.

        One might almost make a convincing case for some form of ‘affirmative action’ to maintain some independent voices in ‘Parliament’ … (which will one day have its name changed to something else: Marae Ture/Legislative Assembly?) …

        Reply
      • Corky

         /  October 18, 2018

        Chur, my cuzzie. I think those will be peripheral issues at the moment. Of more interest to me is whether his electorate will vote for ACT should they run a candidate ?

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  October 18, 2018

          Of more interest to me is whether Simon Lush records all his conversations and messages for future use. One would assume so. Could be very handy. Provided one knows to upload them somewhere hard to find.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  October 18, 2018

            *Lusk

            Reply
          • Corky

             /  October 18, 2018

            I have no doubt he may do that. However, by chance, I’m in court at the moment, both open and small claims – now called The Disputes Tribunal according to my lawyer who looked down her nose while telling me this( my guess, good breeding and a girls only school).

            I asked her about that scenario. She said the government was working on Cloud legislation and that any trail leading back to posted allegations or surreptitious illegal recordings can be prosecuted under present law.

            As an aside, did you know that The Tax Revue Group has looked at taxing the beach bach whether income is generated from it or not? Sir Michael will not be happy until he makes rich pricks pay.

            Ruined my damn dinner.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  October 18, 2018

              Bastards, Corks. There seems no end to his treachery.

              Is this the Tax Revue Group?

  7. Blazer

     /  October 18, 2018

    I can see Ross becoming ‘unwell’ again further down the ..track.
    Wonder what his wife says…

    Reply
    • High Flying Duck

       /  October 18, 2018

      Ross may only know what his wife says through lawyers after this morning.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  October 18, 2018

        If it was my husband, he would have found his clothes and possessions outside, neatly packed in suitcases to show that I was not small-minded, and the door locks changed.

        Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  October 18, 2018

      If he had my wife he would be seriously unwell already after today’s story.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  October 18, 2018

        I suppose it’s always possible she might agree to sit down and hear his side of the story?

        Reply
  8. robertguyton

     /  October 18, 2018

    “National is being torn apart by the forces of Dirty Politics, that bastard child of a political technique born and nurtured in the former Prime Minister’s office”

    Reply
  9. PartisanZ

     /  October 18, 2018

    Here’s the rub … if anything positive for ‘democracy’ in Aotearoa New Zealand is gonna come out of this …

    ‘Follow the money and the influence’ – Newsroom

    “Bernard Hickey calls out our politicians for being soft on China and its attempts to influence our politics. He argues for inquiries into electoral finance rules and China’s activities here.”

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/10/17/280568/follow-the-money-and-the-influence

    Reply
  10. Gezza

     /  October 18, 2018

    Jami-Lee’s now dropped more poos onto the ceiling fan:

    Jami-Lee Ross releases text messages between him and Nats general manager Greg Hamilton
    “You will be interested I am sure in any comment on the Newsroom article. I make no comment on that. I am considering my legal options.

    “I won’t be doing a stand-up today. I am no longer in Wellington.”
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12144792

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  October 18, 2018

      And … I’m not seeing anything in that but an attempt to entrap Greg Wotsisname.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  October 18, 2018

        *Hamilton

        Reply
      • High Flying Duck

         /  October 18, 2018

        Again, there is nothing in there that is remotely dodgy.
        In fact, the texts show the party was trying to ensure it was compliant.
        Not sure what JLR is thinking.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  October 18, 2018

          He is thinking like a classic psychopath from what I’ve see so far. Has no conception that he’s done anything wrong or that people won’t see him as he see himself – a brilliant individual wrongly persecuted.

          He is viciously attacking everybody he can with no idea he is exposing himself as a manipulative probable liar caught out.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  October 18, 2018

            Is he just following Lusk’s instructions and thereby self-destructing in the service of his handlers?

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  October 18, 2018

              Yes, that’s certainly possible, given what Lusk himself advertises as his skills. But if what these women say are true (and given other aspects of JLR’s & his wife’s political history now) Lusk needed someone with a temperament & personality like Jami-Lee’s to work with if he aims to destroy National or people within the party. Ross is obviously not slow on the uptake, so Lusk would have needed someone congenitally convinced they were so clever and so special they could get away with anything, and then just had to massage such an ego.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  October 18, 2018

              Lusk seems to spend quite a bit of time massaging his own ego. I presume either he is also self-delusional or in turn serving another master.

            • Lusk quoted in Dirty Politics:

              “I’m just motivated to cut throats. Unfortunately the biggest buzz I get is when I wreck someone, only done it three times, but I was on a massive high”

              I wonder if he is on a high from wrecking Ross (or at least aiding and abetting the wrecking).

        • Blazer

           /  October 18, 2018

          must admit I am surprised at how circumspect the Nats are re donations.

          Reply
  11. High Flying Duck

     /  October 18, 2018

    Reply
  12. PDB

     /  October 18, 2018

    Not sure if this is true but would be no surprise as Cameron Slater (great mate of Lusk) was all pro-Winston in the 2017 general election campaign.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  October 18, 2018

      Newsroom:
      Public also losers

      Other parties should not be revelling in any schadenfreude, however: it’s almost certain they have had the same conversations around their own candidates, even if they were fortunate enough not to be taped.

      Apology from Bridges or not, there will be flow-on effects beyond candidate selections: a review of our electoral funding seems like a necessity, given the issues that have been raised around public disclosures and the possibly outsized influence of donors.

      The public deserve that much, given they are also losers here: Ross’s implosion is not the only instance of MPs failing to meet the standards we should rightly expect from them, as Clare Curran and Meka Whaitiri demonstrate (albeit for very different reasons).

      Since the resignation of Metiria Turei last year, it feels like there has been a non-stop cavalcade of political scandal and in-fighting at the expense of more important issues.

      With a Botany by-election, the prospect of further information dumps from Ross and the results of the police investigation lying in wait, Christmas can’t come soon enough.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  October 18, 2018

        That seems to be stretching after today’s events. Wishful thinking by the Lefty media. Lusk/Ross seem to be the ones crashing, burning and going down in flames. Looking more likely the only there there is a severely deluded and malignant individual.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  October 18, 2018

          The full article gives a bit more background to that final para. Ross has entrapped Bridges into making candid, I think quite realistic and honest appraisals which I don’t find either surprising or anything but pragmatic – but they are damaging remarks used out of that context & do destroy what little chance he already had of making it to the election as National’s leader.
          https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/10/18/282067/losers-abound-in-a-bad-week-for-nz-politics

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  October 18, 2018

            I don’t think they are significantly damaging at all. Asians are far from stupid and understand politics and transactions better than most.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  October 18, 2018

              Have you looked up how many Asians are in NZ and how many Chinese? Maureen Pugh’s mum’s got it in for Simon now and so had some people on the street who looked like they might be National voters. It’s hard to say. We’ll have to wait for the next lot of polls to get an idea because I’m not entirely certain your view would be representative enuf to draw any solid conclusions on this.

            • Gezza

               /  October 18, 2018

              “National MP Maureen Pugh’s mother has come to her defence, writing in to The AM Show to call Simon Bridges a “dumb arse”.

              Former National Party MP Jami-Lee Ross released audio of a phone call between himself and Mr Bridges on Wednesday in which the party leader called Ms Pugh “f**king useless”.

              Maureen Pugh stands by Simon Bridges despite ‘useless’ criticism
              Simon Bridges mocks ‘useless’ National MPs in just-released audio
              June Brigg says her daughter is not useless at all, and works incredibly hard for the party.

              “I would like to say something about Simon Bridges and the remark he made about my daughter Maureen Pugh,” she wrote.

              “He really must be a dumb arse as my daughter is a hard worker for National, she got more votes for them than any other [National Party member] on the West Coast, and to call her useless is insulting and a lie.

              “As far as I’m concerned, he can go suck eggs and he’ll never get our vote as long as he’s in power.””

  13. Gezza

     /  October 18, 2018

    I’ll have a look at what 1ewes makes of it. From the questions she was calling out at his stand-up outside the cop shop yesterday, Jess Mutch-Mackay was more interested in the sordid details of Ross’s affairs than his allegations about electoral finance skullduggery.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  October 18, 2018

      Yep – several women lift the bedsheets is their headline…

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  October 18, 2018

        Item 2: a long one. Slammed the pair of them.

        Included coverage of Simon out in the regions trying to rescue his reputation among ethnic communities. Coverage negative. Included people in the street interviews, most them disgusted with what he said about Pugh and others, featured one man commenting the only question now was how long before Simon went.

        Also featured overseas coverage of Simon which has focussed on his inappropriate remarks about Maureen and others.

        Time for that gif again:

        I’ll have to try & find a different one. This one’s destroying National’s Caucus Room ceiling.

        Reply
      • Gezza

         /  October 18, 2018

        Oh, yes, the 1ewes item also made quite a thing out of what had been done when one woman reported Ross’s behaviours to the National party hierarchy. This chap’s name came up:

        Reply
  14. MaureenW

     /  October 18, 2018

    The circus has come to town early. Whoever is behind it should get a new occupation. Thank heavens I haven’t had to listen to John Campbell breathlessly describing the next non-event being spilled to the ravenous media pack.
    Maybe I’ll learn to appreciate baby Neve stories – what was Gayford wearing?
    Enough

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  October 18, 2018

      Enuf? Don’t be silly, Maureen. The msm’s full of boring local stuff and women’s mag lifestyle articles. They’ve been living off Trump and the unfortunate Mr Khashoggi in the absence of anything more interesting than petrol prices and werkinggruppes.

      There’s nothing but shite on telly at the best of times and the local and imported soap operas are more far boring than this one.

      This explosion of scandals has got it all. I’m currently waiting for Mrs Ross to appear in disguise throwing Jami-Lee’s stuff out the door, pouring petrol on it, setting it alight, and then being heard phoning a Saudi consulate.

      Reply
  15. Reply
  16. Zedd

     /  October 18, 2018

    Breaking NEWS; i hear that one ‘party leader’ prefers Chinese over Indians ! :/

    Reply
  1. Attack on Bridges, attack on National part of a bigger strategy? — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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