Jami-Lee Ross to find out his fate

  • 16/10/2018

National MP Jami-Lee Ross is due to find out his fate on Tuesday morning when the National Party Caucus meets to discuss his future after it was suggested he leaked details of leader Simon Bridges' travel expenses.

On August 13 Newshub political editor Tova O'Brien revealed she had been leaked the documents early, which showed Mr Bridges spent more than $100,000 on travel and accommodation over the course of three months while on his national roadshow.

The Speaker began, and later cancelled, a QC-led inquiry into the leak. He then quietly pushed on with his own investigation.

Mr Bridges also commissioned his own inquiry from PwC. The report was released on Monday - and while it wasn't conclusive, the evidence pointed to Mr Ross.

"The evidence establishes Jami-Lee Ross is the person who leaked the expenses and the sender of the text message," Mr Bridges said on Monday afternoon.

Mr Bridges said he visited Mr Ross on Monday morning with deputy leader Paula Bennett to discuss the report, but was not satisfied with the Botany MP's explanation of events. He said the National caucus will consider Mr Ross' future, including possible suspension.

In retaliation, the Botany MP sent out four tweets just minutes before Mr Bridges was due to speak to media about the investigation's findings, accusing Mr Bridges of falsely pinning blame on him.


But legal expert Bill Hodge told Newshub the report itself was fair.

"Given the care, given the attention to detail of PWC and the fact that they did it without malice, they did it without any ad hominem approach," he said.

Mr Hodge said Mr Ross should be looking to shore up his position politically, rather than through the courts.

"This is reverberating and resonating politically rather than, quote, legally, I'd never suggest to politicians that they go into the courts to seek legal remedies," he said.

Overall though, the saga has not been good news for the National Party.

"The whole concept of an inquiry into a leak that was not a big deal in the first place has taken publicity away from what National should be doing," Mr Hodge said.