Jami-Lee Ross gears up for return to Parliament

Jami-Lee Ross has made an attempt to prevent National from kicking him out of Parliament, signalling his return to politics.

The former National Party MP has written to the party giving them his proxy vote. This means anything he votes on will be counted as a National vote, if they accept. 

A friend of Mr Ross' has confirmed to Newshub that the Botany MP feels ready to come back after being sectioned to a mental health facility a week ago. He's being advised by those closer to him not to and not to hurry anything.

In a tweet, Mr Ross said he was "well looked after" while in care.

"I appreciate all the recent messages of support. I was well looked after by the fantastic people at Middlemore, and grateful for their care. On medical advice I remain on leave, but have given National my proxy vote to ensure Botany continues to be represented in Parliament."

The letter sent to National's Whip and Parliament’s Speaker is significant because Mr Ross is attempting to prevent the National Party from using the waka-jumping legislation to kick him out of parliament.

The Waka-Jumping (Electoral Integrity Amendment) Bill aims to maintain the proportionality of Parliament if an MP leaves the party.

In his letter, Mr Ross has chosen his words carefully to directly reference the language in the Bill.

Jami-Lee Ross' letter to National Party Senior Whip, Barbara Kuriger, outlines his intention to stay on.
Jami-Lee Ross' letter to National Party Senior Whip, Barbara Kuriger, outlines his intention to stay on.

He says he's given National his vote, "to enhance the maintenance of the proportionality of political party representation in Parliament as determined by electors".

National Party leader Simon Bridges has previously said it's unlikely the party will use the legislation to boot out Mr Ross.

National fought vehemently against the legislation and it would have come across as hypocritical to have then used it on Mr Ross.

But Otago University Law Professor Andrew Geddis says giving his vote to National is not enough to maintain the proportionality of Parliament and save Mr Ross from being 'waka-jumped'.

Mr Geddis says the Supreme Court has previously made the case that the mere fact that a Member of Parliament resigned from a party is enough to distort the proportionality as the National Party loses privileges associated with that MP - like funding, representation on select committees and a speaking slot in the general debate.