JLR, the media and a difficult mental health question

There have been a number of puzzling aspects about how the health of Jami-Lee Ross has played out in public. One obvious one is that it has played out in public as it has – Ross has come newsworthiness as an MP, but people with mental health problems tend to deal with them as privately as possible. Ross is not the first MP to have mental health problems they have had to deal with, it is a very stressful environment to work in.

The media have reported on this as they should, and I’m aware of the trickiness of reporting on someone’s mental health, especially when attempted suicide is mentioned. But I am surprised how they have done it unquestioningly. They seem to have taken Ross’ word for how things happened and how it affected him.

And I was surprised to see media (2) jump in with coverage of a Ross tweet on Saturday where Ross replied to a tweet from Bridges, saying “Are you sure you’re the right person to be criticising others on the topic of mental health??”

Stuff: Jami-Lee Ross takes Simon Bridges to task over mental health tweet

Newshub: Jami-Lee Ross rips into Simon Bridges in mental health tweet

One could easily assume that this is exactly the sort of publicity that Ross was aiming for – helping him attack his former parliamentary colleague and leader, despite Ross claiming some time ago that he bore no grudges.

Stuff went to Ross for further comment:

Ross told Stuff on Saturday afternoon he would be using his platform as an independent MP to “raise issues which are important”.

“Mental health services in New Zealand urgently need more funding,” he said.

“The government Simon and I were part of let the sector down and let the system reach crisis point.

“We now owe it to patients and mental health practitioners to work with the government constructively.”

I think this raises an important issue – how much should the media assist Ross with publicity?

And a more important one – should they do this without scrutinising Ross and his mental health claims. Ross chose to go public on mental health, and he continues to use mental health as a way of criticising his former leader and party.

While the media seems to have avoided questioning Ross’s mental health claims, some questions have been raised at Kiwiblog before now, and again yesterday.

I’m happy to take the downticks but I call “bullshit” on jlr’s “mental illness”.

I am not “mental health expert” but have had a couple of mates over the years suffer from a mental issue and a couple of my eldest’s school friend as well. Some involving committal and if that tosser claims he was “committed” then released after 24 hours then he’s full of shit. Plus, it was over a weekend so there would have been less “professionals” on duty to assess, commit and release.

I wondered at the time about how quickly Ross was released from care after he was committed after claiming to have attempted suicide. It had seemed like a very rapid recovery. And it was followed by a sustained attack on Bridges, Paula Bennett and National – that seemed an unusual thing to happen when someone was suffering from a severe mental health problem.

And:

My mental health meltdown happened in early November 2017, and I have only returned to work on a part-time basis since December 2018. Unsurprisingly, I am sceptical about how quickly Ross has supposedly recovered.

I can understand that media would be cautious about what they report on with Ross for fear of precipitating mental health problems, especially with talk of suicide in the mix.

I find it more difficult to understand some media giving Ross publicity in his ongoing attacks, without looking further into what Ross has claimed.

For example, is Ross the right person to be criticising others on the topic of mental health? And is it fair for him to use his mental health issues as a weapon against others? Bridges has vowed not to respond to Ross’ ongoing taunts, which is wise, as he would be at risk of Ross using that against him as he has done with other things.

Cameron Slater was going hard out on Whale Oil presumably on behalf of Ross attacking Bridges and Bennett and National until Slater had his own serious health problem.

While Slater is no longer posting at Whale Oil it was perhaps of interest to see Juana Atkins post yesterday, ironically What a tangled web we weave, applauding the media attention given to Ross.

If Simon Bridges thinks that the Jami-Lee Ross and Sarah Dowie story is going to go away he is wrong. The media are not going to let it go away.

He told the caucus on Thursday that what Jami-Lee Ross said about his staff member being put up to talking to the media by Deputy leader Paula Bennett was all BS. He clearly hasn’t considered the possibility that Jami-Lee Ross may have taken very, very detailed notes. If he keeps repeating that assertion, he may live to regret it.

This is similar to claims and threats that Slater had been making. Slater has a history of making claims and insinuations of having damning evidence, but failing to front up with any evidence.  A trick he shared with Winston Peters was attacking people and making insinuations, and trying too get the media to find the evidence they claimed to have.

A smart journalist would hound Paula Bennett until she says again that she had no involvement in setting up the Newsroom hit job on Jami-Lee Ross. Her continued lying is going to get her and Bridges into an awful bind that will likely cost them their jobs when the truth finally comes out.

Smart journalists should be very sceptical about encouragement to take particular lines of inquiry in this.

Smart journalists should have been asking why Slater and Whale Oil and Atkins have been either working with or using Ross so much in their joint attacks on National.

And I think it would be fair for smart journalists to be asking about the actual mental health situation with Ross.  So far Ross has been able to dish out free shots with the willing help of some media.

Ross has chosen to continue to go public using mental health as a political weapon. This deserves further scrutiny.

Something else that deserves further scrutiny (from Kiwiblog comments):

peterwn:

Interesting, Jami effectively has a ‘hot line’ to the media via his Twitter account since various journos ‘follow’ him. What do you have to do to get a similar ‘hot line’ to the media

Keeping Stock:

I suspect the “hotline” is not so much from Ross as from one of the people who is “advising” him.

And speaking of Ross; is there any truth in the allegation he had an extra-marital relationship with a journalist, and if so, isn’t it as much in the public interest for the journalist to be named as it was to name Sarah Dowie?

This is pertinent given that journalists have aided Ross with his attacks and claims from the start of this with the reporting of the leaking of Bridges’ expenses.

Journalists are still helping Ross with his attacks.

It’s not just Ross’ mental health that they are not questioning. It is also the complicity in Ross’ affairs of at least one person in their own ranks that they are sweeping under the carpet.

52 Comments

  1. artcroft

     /  February 11, 2019

    If Ross is genuine about this (and he’s not) he’ll spend plenty on time critiquing the COL govt, who are actually in power. But seeing as he’s all about himself and revenge, I suspect we’ll just see barbs aimed at National.

    • Blazer

       /  February 11, 2019

      he has been on the inside and will have a lot of potentially embarrassing revelations if he isn’t ‘handled with care’.

  2. Gezza

     /  February 11, 2019

    Simply not responding to Ross, the media or his tiny group of allies over any of Ross’s calculating jabs & pinpricks is the smart thing for Bridges, Bennett & National to do. There’s nothing surprising about some in the media leaping on to any opportunity to stir the pot in the hope of generating more sensational or ongoing stories – they’ve certainly got their money’s worth out of it to date.

    But my reading of what the outcome has been so far for Bridges is that overall it has generated more support for a flailing Bridges last year than anything else did.

    It’s damaged Ross & Dowie – especially Ross – the most.

    Unless the police investigation into the donations allegations results in a conclusion Bridges or National broke the law I think the more Ross indulges in attacks on his former party leaders (& effectively their organisation as collateral damage) the less sympathy he will get from a general public which mostly finds the whole affair sordid & not worth much more than an eyebrow raise & a tut tut now.

    • PDB

       /  February 11, 2019

      Newshub poll tonight might be interesting – their advertising seemed to focus a bit on Collins so expect her to be very close, if not ahead of Bridges as far as preferred PM.

      People underestimate Collins who despite her rhetoric has a lot of close friends on the left of the political divide & is someone even Winston could do business with.

      • Duker

         /  February 11, 2019

        yeah, she used to be a labour supporter ‘when young’..before Rogernomics… thats not the modern left

  3. Finbaar Rustle

     /  February 11, 2019

    Starting new political parties and “opening up
    about depression/mental illness” are endemic.
    John Kirwin got dropped from the All Blacks and claimed he got depression.
    I just believed in myself and developed “recovery skills” said John.
    Well that and the fact that he was a Nationally recognized rugby star,
    was paid well from his Italian club, had married a beautiful Italian wife,
    had kids and a beach front Lake Taupo home.
    Most folk with depression do not have such “skills” to fall back on John.
    Kirwin got in on the ground floor of depression marketing and now
    runs a successful business and received a knighthood for it.
    Brian Tamaki John Kirwin Mike King are some of the new gurus of feel good
    who have become rich from peoples anxieties and dreams of grandeur.
    But they are not the only scammers.
    Online social media sites offering happiness are multitudinous these days.
    Mental illness is a multi billion dollar business with therapists
    earning $200 for 30 minute consults and drug companies distributing billions of pills.
    Selling good old Kiwi values (National) and Wellbeing (Labour)
    are just two more of the scammers in the market place.
    Happiness and success are only a vote or a call and a credit card number away.
    And if you call before noon today I will give you your first consult free.
    But wait there’s more…

  4. alloytoo

     /  February 11, 2019

    So JLR claims to be an independent MP and is going to follow an independent agenda.

    How about he start with testing his mandate in a Botany byelection.

    And until he does that his credibility is ZERO.

    He’s a narcissist prick who will never take responsibility for anything, that IMHO is his only mental illness. Unfortunately there’s no real cure.

    • Duker

       /  February 11, 2019

      have you heard of the off switch ?

      Bridges credibility will be zero if he uses the anti waka jumping legislation

  5. Duker

     /  February 11, 2019

    Why question the circumstances of his ‘committal – “it was only over the weekend”-
    What the hell – its was triggered by a national MP AND Bridges Chief of Staff ( whith Bridges hiding behind the curtain whispering) contacting his psychiatrist who under standard protocol contacted the police.
    Bridges didnt ‘commit’ himself- it was set off by those in national

    Im not surprised some people are trying toe rewrite history in their vendetta against Ross, when I mentioned the same sort of allegations were raised some time back against Rodney Hide to a female member of his caucus- the paste over it brigade soon arrived trying to tell a different version

    The chain of events which put Jami-Lee Ross in mental health care began with a concerning text to a former lover-
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12148840
    “The message apparently contained content which gave the woman cause for concern over Ross’ wellbeing – so much so she was driven to alert others in the party to its contents.

  6. Duker

     /  February 11, 2019

    I cant believe this nonsense is coming from you PG

    “This is pertinent given that journalists have aided Ross with his attacks and claims from the start of this with the reporting of the leaking of Bridges’ expenses.
    Journalists are still helping Ross with his attacks

    And national aided different journalists over the years in their attacks on their opponents, including their orchestrated pushback on JLR by Melanie Reid when they were just after the leaker of limo expenses.

    They were using a hammer to crack a nut, and that involved 4 anonymous women -Dowie, 2 women who now work in Bridges Wellington office and a press gallery journalist.

    In the wider sense , that is how political journalism works in NZ , mostly a politician comes to them with a story on a plate.

    people who dont know that are living in a cave somewhere

    • Mother

       /  February 11, 2019

      It is actually incredibly hurtful to have this stuff constantly brought up.

      It’s not Mr Ross’ recent tweet which damns anyone or anything. Mr Ross still holds his mandate to perform his duty as an MP according to his own conscience.

      PG, whenever you delve into this saga you give no credence to the timing of the various events nor to the fact that msm are just behaving like scumbags.

      Our way of life in Aotearoa is terribly judgemental. That’s a paradox. We are supposed to judge all things, but on the other hand….

      Whale oil people are right – so right about lots of things – and the trouble with that is that it makes them all wrong.

      I can only repeat that we need, as individuals, to think carefully about what our values are. “Do we want to be a Christian country, starting with me?”

      • Griff.

         /  February 11, 2019

        “Do we want to be a Christian country, starting with me?”

        We had a country that was “Christian”.
        It was one where what happened between loving consenting adults in private could get you arrested and jailed .
        It was also one where raping your wife and beating the crap out of your kids was perfectly legal.
        Going back there?
        No thanks.
        Morality is not owned by Christians. The golden rule both predates and exists independently from religion.

        • Mother

           /  February 11, 2019

          In free countries people generally are only ‘Christian’ enough to warrant ‘getting’ enough of God’s blessings.

          It is the prayer warriors who do the most meaningful work.

          I am asking people to think carefully about adhering to Christianity, or not.

          So long as we remain a free country of course our ‘version’ of Christianity will be fraught with hypocrisies. It’s to be expected.

      • Duker

         /  February 11, 2019

        Mother should use her guiding hand to ‘fix’ the institutions of the Christian Churches , as they have all the issues that parliament does – and then some.

        Whats makes me curious is that if Mother takes any part in reforming/improving the problems of HER particular church and stop the moralising about ‘the nation’

        BTW does your church have a name ?

        • Mother

           /  February 11, 2019

          I’ll answer you on that Duker if you would please first tell me what you think of my testimony as shared in my two guest posts.

          And I am not “moralising” the nation. That’s silly.

          “HER” church. You are so off whack Duker.

          I’m busy for the rest of the day. Initiate with me in social forum this evening if you are serious about wanting to know the name of the Church fellowship I belong to.

          You reckon that Parliament has the same issues as the church fellowships? That could only arise, surely, if we are indeed a Christian people struggling with our Christianity. Therefore, we need to think (individually) carefully about our Christianity, or not.

          • Duker

             /  February 11, 2019

            Your church , that if there is one, has structures, leaders, institutions..failings moral lapses.
            Is there a reason you avoid discussing “it’ directly

            • Blazer

               /  February 11, 2019

              Mother s perennial escape clause…’I’m busy for the rest of the day.’

            • Mother

               /  February 11, 2019

              Duker, I gave you a definite answer. I will check in social forum this evening.

              Blazer, no wonder we have childish politicians.

      • alloytoo

         /  February 11, 2019

        @mother “Mr Ross still holds his mandate to perform his duty as an MP according to his own conscience.”

        I disagree, even Ross disagreed at one point.

        He said he would resign, and invite a new mandate from the Botany electorate.

        He didn’t.

        I can only conclude that:

        a) Ross is a liar.
        b) Ross knows damn well he won’t re-elected in Botany as an independent.

        The above notwithstanding, it’s my belief that Ross doesn’t actually have a conscience, and there’s a fair amount of evidence to support that.

        • Duker

           /  February 11, 2019

          Its called changing his mind.

          Didnt another politician- wearing a pink shirt- say he too had changed his mind on gay marriage
          Lying is when you deliberately say something you know is false – thats what you are doing

  7. Blazer

     /  February 11, 2019

    no we don’t want to be a Christian country and we do not want politicians like JLR.

    • Mother

       /  February 11, 2019

      At least I speak for myself Blazer. Who are you? The next PM? Anyway, your answer just shows everybody that spiritual talk touches you. Go ahead – be a secret Christian. Any little bit is better than nothing.

      I find YourNZ educational, but sometimes I get caught up with needing to speak my mind here.

      PG’s foray back into this horrible saga has really upset me – so I got to thinking – and I’ve come up with a good idea:

      We could all agree to stop talking about mental health and start talking about sex, because sex (the fornication/adultery/lust/family hating versions) is what this saga is all about. Let’s talk about positive sex.

      Then we could come up with some actions/solutions to help us out of our mess. We could start with our education system.

      • Blazer

         /  February 11, 2019

        well get started about ‘positive’ sex…I haven’t read the Kama Sutra.

        • Mother

           /  February 11, 2019

          I don’t know what the Kama Sutra is.

          By positive sex, I’m mainly talking about how to educate children and youth, since what we already introduced into their sex education needs some positive tweaking. It doesn’t need to be ‘moral’ tweaking (since that seems to frighten/annoy people).There is science at hand to add to the sex education we already have. Facts.

          BTW – I think people get annoyed about being ‘moralised’ because of their poor mental health.

          • Blazer

             /  February 11, 2019

            ‘I’m mainly talking about how to educate children and youth, since what we already introduced into their sex education needs some positive tweaking’

            Go on….

          • PDB

             /  February 11, 2019

            “BTW – I think people get annoyed about being ‘moralised’ because of their poor mental health.”

            You’re either a very poor spam account (we get that here) or a nut – maybe both.

            • MaureenW

               /  February 11, 2019

              Both!!

            • MaureenW

               /  February 11, 2019

              The objective appears to be to spam every thread with it’s religious nonsense, while claiming the blog offers free speech. I wonder what type of character would be interested in testing that? In fact I wondered and concluded some time back and generally try to avoid it.

      • High Flying Duck

         /  February 11, 2019

        Were you just as upset at the treatment Ross handed out to Katrina Bungard?
        He apologised for that, but didn’t seem to learn anything.
        Very upsetting indeed.

        • Mother

           /  February 11, 2019

          I thought Katrina Bungard did very well. Sensible, de escalating, keeping herself out of media, normal Kiwi sort of behaviour.

          • Mother

             /  February 11, 2019

            Also BTW, YourNZ is very unfriendly to Christians. I keep thinking I will quit on you but something keeps drawing me back.

            I have only met PG once, with a short phone call. I asked him then if he would mind if I commented on Christianity. He said, “not at all.” Our brief emails were re my guest posts. He has ignored me since.

            I think you ought to be more open minded about what Christians might like to say. YourNZ is not a club – is it? That’s what’s wrong with the churches. I’ve persevered with YourNZ because I wanted to know whether the Lord would make a worldly ‘free speech’ club work for me. The churches don’t make sense because they are clubs of infants who crush free speech.

            I have got that answer. If there’s such a thing as prevailing in communication, I have done that on YourNZ because I belong to Christ. It can be no other reason. Every time people have misrepresented or sometimes abused me, I have taken it back to Jesus and He helped me continue. I kept expecting that PG would ask me to quit. But he hasn’t.

            I know it’s Jesus who helps me. I have no help but what He gives. Some people here caused me to shake.

            Duker, after all I suffered at the hands, and from the minds, of my fellow ‘Christians’ (including my birth family) your comment above is perceived by me as sort of mocking – and it hurts. You cannot know how much I loved the churches, and my family.

            I’ve been clear about my motives on YourNZ. I just wanted freedom of speech.

            I think some of you might like to grow up a bit. Perhaps a measure of that could be if other professing Christians began to contribute on Your NZ.

            Christians in Aotearoa need to grow up too. I think that is what God is waiting for. If enough Christians matured, others who are secret Christians or Christian sympathisers or people who intend to become Christians ‘later’ or Christians who still dabble a little in paganism would be freed up for positive action politically.

            There’s nothing like the name of Jesus Christ to get people’s hackles up. Yet my motive for claiming His name is not to provoke. Never. I hate confrontation and I don’t like attention. All I wanted was free speech. Free speech is a very spiritual matter. It’s actually worth appearing foolish for, if you love the children.

            • Gerrit

               /  February 11, 2019

              Maybe it is time to start your own blog?

            • Mother

               /  February 11, 2019

              Gerrit, that’s silly. Why would I start my own blog when my goal was to see if I could have free speech on PG’s?

              I have noticed that when I comment, if anyone responds to me it is usually to go off tangent onto religion, or snideness. In fact (from memory) it’s only PG who seems able to communicate the point with me. Why don’t you follow his example, or just ignore my comments?

              Stop getting sidetracked onto religious issues.

              Some of you must be more spiritually minded and searching than you like to let on.

              I repeat – I’m not seeking an audience. I’m enjoying free speech.

              The JLR saga brings out confusion in people. I wish it would end. However, it seems to be a sort of test case for people morally. I hear a lot of self righteousness. No doubt there is hypocrisy lurking too.

            • Gerrit

               /  February 11, 2019

              You have free speech here, so mission accomplished.

              Question for you is, does anyone care about your speeches?

              Snide remarks? Get used to those on ALL blogs. There is no immunity in regards remarks from the snide and the sad. You need to filter them and learn to ignore (but then again you told me not to tell you what to do once, so ignore that filter).

              Why do you think the JLR saga bring out the confusion in people? Are they confused because they don’t follow your proscribed “freedom of speech”?

              Surely your right to free speech is equal to everyone else’s right to free speech?.

              You don’t agree with what people say, argue the toss, don’t call them confused. The very thing you rally against (snide and sad remarks like confused) you don’t filter out of your free speech. Perhaps explain why we are “confused” is a better form of communication?

              We are all self righteous, you, me, PG and all the other commentators.

            • Mother

               /  February 11, 2019

              And if you and others must hammer on about Mr Ross’ strange behaviour – His bad behaviour with Ms Bungard appeared to belong to the same season as his bad behaviour with his cohorts.

              Few people look at the time line.

              My main point all along has been that the JLR saga is a symptom of the kind of Parliament we have, and that in turn is a symptom of the kind of people we are.

          • High Flying Duck

             /  February 11, 2019

            Hmmm. I wasn’t asking about Bungard’s behaviour, which you are right, was very good and conciliatory. Ross has a pattern of behaviour of which she was an early victim. That was the “upsetting” thing.
            I’m not sure where your unfriendly to Christians comment comes from? It’s the views you espouse that I wish to challenge as they are apologist claptrap for a nasty individual, and attacks on another woman who has, from all accounts, kept a low profile and stayed out of the media since the story broke, and then broke again when JLR added her name to the list of people he’s trying to destroy while at the same time saying he’s moved on.
            Your version of Christianity is an ever moving feast that is never nailed down. And to be fair, I couldn’t give a toss – each to their own and all that, but don’t try to use it as a hammer to make the scales fall from our eyes so we agree with your strange ramblings.

            • Mother

               /  February 11, 2019

              I have never behaved as apologist for Mr Ross, nor attacked his cohorts.

              I do not put forward any ‘version’ of Christianity.

              If my comments are strange to you, don’t read them. Actually, it’s clear that you haven’t. Do you have scales in your eyes?

            • High Flying Duck

               /  February 12, 2019

              I think it’s you who needs to read your posts, given the denials you make.

  8. High Flying Duck

     /  February 11, 2019

    How religion works:

  9. Finbaar Rustle

     /  February 11, 2019

    so obviously fake

  10. duperez

     /  February 11, 2019

    Journalists are still helping Ross with his attacks? Surprised to see media jump in with coverage of a Ross tweet on Saturday? Difficult to understand some media giving Ross publicity in his ongoing attacks?

    It’s 2019. It’s the media.

    • Duker

       /  February 11, 2019

      Some think that anything that ‘hurts Bridges and national should be ignored and not given wider publicity , especially as some think -using their skills of ‘remote diagnosis’ -JLR isnt ‘mad enough’

  11. slinkypress

     /  February 11, 2019

    Mr Slater seems well able to “tweet” in support of JLR. Why is he not posting articles on his blog. ?

  1. JLR, the media and a difficult mental health question — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition