Ross not standing in Botany

Jami-Lee Ross has said he will not stand in the Botany election, saying he is confident of Advance NZ co-leader Billy Te Kahika winning the Te Tai Tokerau electorate (off Labour deputy leader Kelvin Davis) and also confident of making the 5% threshold.

Davis (12,673 votes) beat Hone Harawira (7,866 votes) in Te Tai Tokerau in the 2017 election. While Te Kahika has built a significant following with thousands attending a protest he fronted in the weekend that is a long way from a majority in one electorate.

The composite party would probably need to get 140,000+ votes to make the 5% threshold, which is a very high hurdle for any small party let alone one with no history.

Times Online: Jami-Lee Ross not contesting Botany seat

Independent MP Jami-Lee Ross is not contesting the Botany seat in the General Election in October.

The former National front bencher who fell out spectacularly with his party and the former National Party leader Simon Bridges and is also facing Serious Fraud Office charges, told the Times he will go on Advance NZ’s party list. He is also confident Advance NZ co-leader Billy Te Kahika will win the Maori seat which would ensure they get into parliament.

Advance NZ has merged with several smaller parties which Ross likened to the successful approach adopted by Jim Anderton.

“We’re modelling it off the Alliance Party of the 1990s …several smaller parties came together as one bigger party so that they had more of an opportunity to campaign and reach parliament and they did ultimately reach parliament so that’s the model that we’re working on,” Ross said.

“It became pretty apparent that I had to make a decision – do I run a nationwide campaign? I’m effectively doing that, I’m running a campaign, I’m assisting in training and selecting and recruiting candidates.

“I’m working very closely with Billy Te Kahika (leader of the NZ Public Party, Advance NZ co-leader with Ross and Te Tai Tokerau candidate) who is a political novice but is making big inroads into things and I wouldn’t be able to do that and also give the required time necessary to run for election properly here in Botany.”

Ross said feedback he was getting suggested it would be three-way race for the Botany seat “because National’s considerably lower, Labour’s considerably higher, I’ve got a profile in Botany too so it wasn’t a foregone conclusion for anyone”.

I think if Ross actually thought he had a chance of winning Botany he wouldn’t pull out. This looks like him conceding he has no show.

“I had to make a call as to whether I could dedicate the time required to run for election in Botany properly. My strength of campaigning is also door-knocking face-to-face but you can’t do that during Covid so that’s been an interruption.”

He has been successful as a National candidate, but that was in a safe national electorate. His weakness now of face to face campaigning this election is that he has disgraced himself politically and personally.

“But in terms of contribution towards the country and the political party, I came to the view that my skills in terms of politics and campaigning were best suited to getting a new vehicle into parliament and working hard to ensure that a new political party (could get) a foothold and building off the profile and building off the following that the NZ Public Party and Advance NZ are starting to see now.”

Ross was getting nowhere with his own party so is tagging on to the cult-like popularity of Te Kahika.

Ross’ organising experience he gained when with National will help, but he is unlikely to attract many votes himself. He is really trying to enable Te Kahika.

“I know that many in the media, certainly down in parliament, write us off but on the ground, I’ve never seen a political party grow as fast as it has,” he said.

The party/parties have grown out of nothing very quickly, but that’s a long way from winning a seat or making the threshold.

“I’ve never seen the reach on social media like we’ve got in the last month. We reached 2 million people. In the last week we reached 1m people. Of course that’s not going to turn into votes entirely but that suggests to you the public are opening their eyes up to something new and something different.”

I don’t know where he gets those numbers from, but on their own they don’t mean much. I’ve been ‘reached’ on social media by several parties (not Advance NZ) but won’t be voting for more than one of them, and maybe none of them.

Ross also reckons Te Kahika could roll Kelvin Davis, the deputy leader of the Labour Party, out of the Te Tai Tokerau seat in October.

“He’s (Te Kahika) has a very good shot at winning that seat, taking it off Kelvin Davis who hasn’t really delivered anything for that area.”

It would be unprecedented in modern new politics if Te Kahika won an electorate. It’s possible, bu I think highly improbable.

It’s normal for politicians to talk up their chances to try to generate support. Many don’t come close to matching their claims.

Advance NZ – and its alliance comprising NZ Public Party, the Direct Democracy Party, the NZ People’s Party and a party called Reset New Zealand – will deliver an offering Kiwis want, said Ross.

“This movement and this party is growing so fast that I wouldn’t be surprised if we got to 5 per cent in any case. There’s a gap in the market where New Zealanders are looking for an alternative strategy to Covid-19.

Most people support what the Government has done on Covid. Some don’t, but they won’t all support a party promoting a range of conspiracy theories.

“The virus isn’t killing anywhere near as many people as we were told it would right at the start. That’s the case around the world.

That’s a nonsense claim. Models suggested possible death levels if nothing was done to restrict Covid, but I don’t know of any country did nothing. And all models I have seen show ranges of possibilities.

If New Zealand hadn’t locked down we would certainly have had far more deaths, as would have happened in many other countries.

As a country we need to learn to live with the virus. No other political party is offering a more risk-based balanced approach and so I think there’s New Zealanders opening their eyes up to that idea and that strategy so that’s where the party offers a point of difference.”

It’s ridiculous claiming Te Kahika represents “a more risk-based balanced approach”.

“We’re going to go to the election with 60 candidates, 7000 members which I’d argue is going to be bigger than other parties except maybe Labour and National.

“We’ve got tens of thousands of people who we’re reaching on social media who are volunteering as well and Billy Te Kahika is a unique phenomenon in politics and inspiring so many people. Sure, his opponents are writing him off calling him all sorts of names but what you’re seeing is someone who’s tapping into dissatisfaction with a large range of voters.”

If correct those are impressive numbers for a new party, but they are a long way from election success.

“Organisations like the World Health Organization are now telling us we need to learn to live with the virus. It’s time to be heard on a new strategy.”

It is blatant bullshit to imply that the Advance NZ approach to dealing with Covid aligns with WHO advice.

WHO have advice that is applicable to Te Kahika and Advance NZ – Mythbusters, which includes 5G Mobile networks.

Even if Advance NZ perform an electoral miracle and make it into Parliament I’m fairly sure Labour will have nothing to do with their nuttery in Government.

UPDATE: David Farrar comments on the Ross claim that Botany was a a three way race:

In no way was it a three way race. In a poll done by Curia in August 2020, Jami-Lee Ross was at 1.8%. And no that is not a typo – 1.8% not 18%.

Jami-Lee Ross – valedictory interview

Jami-Lee Ross gave what may have been effectively a valedictory interview with RNZ yesterday. He has effectively conceded his proposed Advance NZ party is struggling by joining with a conspiracy based party .

He very slim chances of being re-elected must now be even more unlikely.

Ross was selected as a candidate for the safe National electorate of Botany in 2011 and gradually rose through the ranks the become senior Whip in 2017, and was re-elected then with a majority of 12,839 votes.

But a year later, in October 2018 his political career crashed and burned. Ross turned on National and became an independent MP. Allegations were made by MP Sarah Dowie and by electorate staff that Ross had bullied them.

Last year the serious Fraud office announced that Ross was one of four people being investigated for donation fraud, and he was charged in January this year (the trial won’t be until next year).

There’s a summary here.

His problems have continued as an independent MP.

February 2020 (Newsroom): New allegations surround MP Jami-Lee Ross and Ross’ ‘toxic’ office problems raised in June

21 July 2020: ‘Go back into a room with a predator? No thank you’

Despite this Ross has been working towards trying to get re-elected – May 2020 (1 News): Jami-Lee Ross announces own political party for 2020 election

Mr Ross announced Advance NZ in a Facebook post last night, saying it’ll focus on the freedom and sovereignty of New Zealanders and creating a new economic plan to get Kiwis through a post Covid-19 world.

Advance NZ wants to see a democratic country that has brave voices in the middle that speak truth to power. People that stand up for freedom, sovereignty and independence.”

26 July (The Spinoff): Jami-Lee Ross, Billy Te Kahika and the rebel alliance of Election 2020

Can the conspiracy theories of social media be coalesced into a party that makes parliament under MMP?

It hardly needs saying that the views of Te Kahika – and evidently shared by the crowd – go against official scientific advice. In fact, it might even be fair to say that they don’t believe official scientific advice precisely because of who the messengers are. They have no trust in the government, international institutions like the World Health Organisation or the United Nations, or billionaire philanthropists like Bill Gates.

There were attacks on Dr Ashley Bloomfield, who had spent time at the WHO. “Anyone who does any length of time at an organisation like that is going to be fully indoctrinated.” There were enthusiastic boos for the “fully groomed globalist” Jacinda Ardern. “Her story speaks like the perfect history of a prime minister who will betray our people.”

It was Agenda 21. It was anti-vaxxing. It was 5G. It was people being forced out of the provinces to live in “technocratic high-rise cities”. It was all on the way, said Te Kahika, and he was the only one who could

…But for the people who turned out, it had been a thrilling day, and they left upbeat. They had come from all parts of the North Island. And over the next weeks, they’ll take that message out far and wide, and in the process probably reach people totally unreachable by other forms of politics and messaging. The results of that could be unlike anything New Zealand has ever seen before.

RNZ: Jami-Lee Ross launches Advance New Zealand party

Former National MP Jami-Lee Ross has merged his Advance New Zealand party with the Public Party, in the hope its leader will win the seat of Te Tai Tokerau.

That looks like Ross is conceding he has no hope of retaining his Botany seat, and probably also indicates he has been unable to get the 500 members required to register a party.

The Botany MP will co-lead the new party with Billy Te Kahika, who will stand in Te Tai Tokerau.

But there must be close to no chance of Te Kahika winning Te Tai Tokerau.

If he wins it, Ross would make it back into Parliament as a list MP under the coat-tail rule, even if he lost Botany.

Ross said Advance New Zealand would suspend the free trade agreement between New Zealand and China within its first three months and would support Hong Kong and Taiwan in seeking independence.

So a politically toxic MP facing SFO charges who has failed to get a credible party going has joined with a party with even less credibility, best known for it’s support of conspiracy theories, including that Covid-19 is a world order plot.

In what may be virtually a farewell interview yesterday Ross kept refusing to distance himself from the Covid conspiracy.

Ross: “I think there are New Zealanders out there who feel we have lost a lot of rights and freedoms to this Covid-19 issue and there’s questions that are being asked.”

Dann: “But do you believe that it is a bioweapon, man-made, being used against people?”

Ross: “Covid-19 is a real virus and it is impacting people around the world. We have in the situation in New Zealand that we no longer have that virus.”

Dann: “Is it a man-made virus that is being used as a bioweapon to undermine our democracy? I just want an answer on that question.”

Ross: “Covid-19 is a virus that has been in New Zealand and we have lost a lot of rights.”

Dann: “Sure, but why would you align your party with someone who believes in, frankly, ridiculous conspiracy theories which are an insult to those who are working on the front lines dealing with Covid-19, to the families who have people dying – why would you align yourself with that?”

Ross: “I think its insulting to say that New Zealanders who care about rights and freedoms shouldn’t be listened to or be taken seriously at all. There are people out there who believe that we have lost a lot of rights and freedoms, who believe that our sovereignty over many many years has been eroded.”

Dann: “You’re happy to lend your name – as someone who was the chief whip of National Party – to the Public Party and its policies, be it their scepticism around 5G, 1080, fluoridation, anti-vaxxers – you’re happy to lend your name to that?”

Ross: “When you have been involved in one of those big political parties you see how much of a cult they are and you see how much of a big problem just blindly following what the big political parties are. There’s an opportunity for small parties unite together and challenge the status quo. That’s what this alliance is about… I think there’s going to be some real momentum here.”

Full transcript and audio: Jami-Lee Ross faces Covid-19, China questions after new Advance NZ party alliance

But the chances of joining forces with other small parties doesn’t look great.

From The Spinoff Bulletin:

A quick point about the ‘alliance’ nature of the Advance NZ/NZ Public Party merger: On stage yesterday, Ross reeled off a long string of parties outside parliament, saying they’d still be welcome to join up.

Since then, people in the leadership teams of the Opportunities Party, Outdoors Party, New Conservative and Social Credit (the largest four parties listed by Ross) have all confirmed to me that they’ll be doing nothing of the sort.

Ross and his new party alliance may get a few supporters online but they are likely to need a lot more than that to come anywhere near close to getting into Parliament.

Ross to stand for NZ First in Botany – plan or joke?

It is easy to take this comment as a bit of a joke:

Funny thought ….. JLR jumps to NZF, a bit of theatre from Winny on saying XYZ, then JLR enters a by-election … wins for NZF and gets a plumb role in govt.

Oh so so funny

That seems ridiculous, but lets join a few dots.

That was said by someone with a close association with Cameron Slater.

Early last year Winston Peters’ lawyer represented Slater in his defamation case versus Colin Craig (unsuccessfully).

For many years Slater had criticised and ridiculed Peters, but suddenly last year switched to supporting Peters and NZ First through the election campaign. This may have simply been a way of trying to damage Bill English and National, who he had fallen out with, but it did raise some questions of why the sudden switch.

This year Slater has continued to attack National, and has attacked Simon Bridges since he took over the leadership.

When Jami-Lee Ross was ejected from the National caucus and took leave from Parliament (again) Slater became prominent in his support of Ross, and used information and secret recordings from Ross to attack Bridges and National. Some of Slater’s Whale Oil helpers have continued with their anti-bridges/National agenda.

Yesterday Peters announced that NZ First would proxy vote for Ross in Parliament – see NZ First proxy voting for Jami-lee Ross. Peters sounded uncomfortable trying to explain this unusual arrangement.

RNZ:  NZ First to hold Jami-Lee Ross’ proxy vote

Speaking to reporters at Parliament, Mr Peters said the decision was made in the “spirit of representation” to ensure Botany voters were heard in Parliament.

“We’re not here to kick the National Party,” Mr Peters said.

“We are here to say to the people of Botany… you deserve to have your voice heard.”

As long as Ross stays away from Parliament the voice of the people won’t be heard in Parliament, so this is a strange claim – unless Peters is just trying to impress Botany voters perhaps.

Back to the ‘funny’ comment – I would have thought that Peters was too politically astute to stand Parliament’s most discredited MP for NZ First in a by-election. But Slater and his mates could be silly enough to think it is a cunning plan. He and the person who made the comment have histories of trying some fairly stupid stunts.

I guess anything is possible but it is very hard to see Ross stand any chance if he tried to keep his Botany seat, even if he happens to recover from his claimed health problems in time for the campaign – someone who is unable to do their job in Parliament would struggle to get votes in an electorate.

Peters must realise this, so it’s hard to see him going for this unless he thought it was a way to kick National – when he says something like “We’re not here to kick the National Party” that raises suspicions that that is exactly what his intention actually is, akin to his ‘with the greatest respect’ comments.

It would be remarkable if Ross could get anywhere near close to winning Botany.

If he somehow managed that, getting “a plumb role in govt” would also be a stretch. That would mean he would take over responsibilities of a current NZ First minister, which would be unlikely to go down well. And Labour would be nuts to accept Ross in their Cabinet.

So this all seems to be a big joke – except that I wouldn’t put it past Slater and his mates to think it was a cunning plan.

It would go something like this:

  • Ross too sick to attend Parliament
  • NZ First proxy votes for Ross
  • Ross resigns from Parliament
  • Ross now not sick and stands for NZ First in Botany by-election, and wins
  • Ross appointed Cabinet Minister, replacing Tracey Martin as Minister of Children and Minister of (Internal) Affairs

Yes, it’s a joke.

How Jami-Lee Ross stands in Parliament now

On Tuesday Jami-Lee Ross stated that he intended resigning from the National Party and from Parliament (he said ‘on Friday’). He has since reneged on that commitment. What is his current position in Parliament?

Sitting date: 16 Oct 2018


Jami-Lee Ross

SPEAKER: Under Standing Order 35(1)(c), I have been advised by the senior Opposition whip that the National Party’s parliamentary membership has changed and that Jami-Lee Ross is no longer a member of the National Party for parliamentary purposes. Accordingly, under Standing Order 34(5), Jami-Lee Ross is, from 16 October 2018, regarded as an Independent member for parliamentary purposes.

Another seating plan:

While that is at the far back of the Opposition side Ross may sit uneasily beside and behind his ex-colleagues. He must be just about the least trusted MP ever.

Officially he still seems to be on two select committees. He lost most of his responsibilities when he went on leave at the start of the month.

Ross has been removed the National Party ‘team’ website page.

Presumably he is still theoretically operating as an electorate MP, but he may be isolated there too.

I don’t know how Ross will be able to function in Parliament or as an electorate MP.


Newsroom:  National mulls party-hopping action as Ross clings on

National says it is considering its options – including whether to use the controversial “party-hopping” law – following rogue MP Jami-Lee Ross’s decision to cling on to his seat in Parliament.

Earlier in the week, Ross had said he would resign from Parliament on Friday and contest a by-election in his Botany seat as an independent.

However, in an interview with Newstalk ZB and subsequent remarks on Twitter, he said National had “changed the rules”, alleging the party’s involvement in a Newsroom investigation into his conduct towards women, and said he would stay on as an MP and “continue speaking out about the internal operations of the National Party”.

Ross’s decision has now raised the spectre of whether National and its leader Simon Bridges will use the Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Act, legislation it has opposed bitterly, to force their MP out before he does further damage.

Electoral law expert Graeme Edgeler said under the legislation it was up to Bridges and the National caucus, not Speaker Trevor Mallard, to determine whether Ross had distorted and would continue to distort the proportionality of Parliament.

If the caucus voted by at least a two-thirds majority in support of using the party-hopping legislation, after Ross was given the required 21 working days’ notice to respond to his potential expulsion, Bridges could then deliver a letter to Mallard which would trigger Ross’s removal from Parliament and a by-election in his Botany seat.

There will no doubt be more said about what Ross may be allowed to do.


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.


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.

Jami-Lee Ross – political history

Jami-lee Ross is political history, just about. He may resign from the National Party before he is dumped. He may do the honourable thing and resign from the Botany electorate, or he might hang on in disgrace until the next election.

There is no way he will be nominated to stand for National again. No other party would want to touch him with a 12.19 metre barge pole. His only option would be to set up his own party, but it’s hard to see voters supporting him.

Ross chose politics as a career. He joined the National Party in 2003, aged 17, and was elected to the Manukau City Council a year later. He worked as an electorate secretary for Maurice Williamson in Pakuranga. After unification he was elected to the Auckland City Council in 2010, but dumped that job just a few months later when selected to stand for National in the vacant Botany electorate.

His selection to stand for National was aided by Simon Lusk and Cameron Slater, who (wearing his paid political mercenary hat) promoted Ross on Whale Oil, and attacked and smeared opponents. I think Ross and Slater later stopped dealing with each other.

Ross was re-elected in the very safe Botany seat later in 2011, in 2014 and in 2017. He rose through the National ranks as Third Whip, Junior Whip and then Senior Whip in 2017. He was promoted to the front bench by Bridges.

Ross is still showing on the National website at #7  and as Botany MP, but with no responsibilities (since he took medical leave). But the View Website link redirects to a party sign up page.

I must admit I never liked Ross. He came across as smarmy and shifty looking – his look reminded me of a 1930s US gangster.

Ross has stuffed up big time now. It is just a matter of when he leaves Parliament, and it is unlikely he will ever return given his recent history. He will also struggle to get anywhere in local body politics.

Some people who choose politics as a career from a young age do well – take Jacinda Ardern for example. also Nikki Kaye (she started a bit older). And Chloe Swarbrick looks to have good prospects. So it isn’t generally a bad thing for people to become career politicians. Others, like Todd Barclay, quickly crash and burn.

Ross became a local body councillor at age 18, and an MP at age 26. He rose steadily in the National ranks. But at 33 he has failed badly.

He actually helped Bridges win the leadership earlier this year, but according to his tweets yesterday: “Some months ago I fell out with Simon. I have internally been questioning leadership decisions he was making”.

It now seems very likely that he started deliberately trying to undermine bridges by leaking. The expenses information that was leaked was trivial, about to be officially released anyway. But the act of leaking was serious.

We don’t know whether the subsequent pleading for the inquiry into the leak to be called off because of ‘risks to mental health’ was a genuine albeit poor reaction, or a trumped up ploy.

We do know from yesterday’s actions that Ross is not a fit and proper person to be a Member of Parliament. If he jumps he will be political history, and not flash at that (ironically he looked a bit like a flash harry). If he refuses to budge that will just prolong the period until he is dumped by National as a candidate and becomes an unemployed politician.


Botany by-election $100,000+

An elected member was sworn in at the Howick Local Board’s inaugural meeting on November 3, but stormed out and resigned moments later after missing out on being made chairwoman.

This means a by-election will be needed and will cost at least $100,000.

Eastern Courier: Botany by-election expected to cost more than $100,000

Lucy Schwaner was sworn in at the Howick Local Board’s inaugural meeting on November 3, but stormed out and resigned moments later after missing out on being made chairwoman.

Schwaner, the wife of Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross, then took out a full-page ad in the local Eastern Courier newspaper attacking the board’s incumbent chairman David Collings.

Auckland Council said on Thursday that a by-election to fill Schwaner’s seat, in the Botany subdivision of the local board, was expected to cost more than $100,000.

A very expensive hissy fit.

Schwaner issued a statement on Thursday morning, saying she stands by her reasons for resigning. 

“It’s unfortunate there is a cost for appointing a replacement member of the Howick Local Board,” she says.

“However, the cost to the community is far greater if the Howick Local Board were allowed to continue unchecked and without its deep problems or poor leadership highlighted for the public.

“Leaving the Howick Local Board was the most honourable course of action, given I have no confidence in the leadership of David Collings. “

I don’t think it looks honourable at all – what about honouring the democratic process?

She ironically refers to ‘poor leadership’ – cutting and running is not exactly doing anything to keep a check on the local board.

Schwaner noted that Mike Turinsky was the highest-ranked unsuccessful candidate in the local board election.

The cost of a by-election could be avoided if other groups decided not to put a candidate forward and allowed Turinsky to fill the vacancy unchallenged, she said.

However, the council said there was no alternative under the Local Electoral Act but to run a by-election.

If Schwaner ever stands for election again voters should be very wary of her commitment.