Jami-Lee Ross admits to affairs, says he won't resign Botany seat

The Simon Bridges vs Jami-Lee Ross saga has heated up again, after a new recording was aired by Newstalk ZB Friday afternoon in which Mr Bridges can be heard discussing Mr Ross' alleged misconduct towards women.

Mr Ross has since taken to Twitter to admit two "consensual relationships" he had with an MP and a member of Mr Bridges' staff. He also announced that he will not be resigning his Botany seat, and that he will stay on as an independent MP. 

He told Newstalk ZB in a follow-up interview to the release of the new recording that he has apologised to his wife, telling the radio station he owes her "a huge apology", and said there would be "challenging times ahead".

"I owe my wife a huge apology. I have done some things which I am not proud of, and I have apologised to her in person, and I'm going to continue apologising to her in person," said Mr Ross.

"There have been some revelations about me recently which are pretty hard to read and pretty hard to hear," he added, referring to a report on Thursday by Newsroom of four women who reportedly accused him of sexual misconduct.

"I haven't been a good husband, and I need to do a lot of things in the future to make that right, and I'm going to continue doing that," Mr Ross told Newstalk ZB.

"I'm not proud of my actions," he said on Twitter after the interview aired. He then admits to having "two consensual relationships" with a fellow MP and one of Mr Bridges' staff members. 

In another tweet, he said there is a "seirous rot in NZ politics, and the way the Naitonal Party undertakes it's [sic] activity. There is a greater responsibility to continue exposing the National Party's activity and the way leadership conducts itself."

He said he has "not submitted a resignation to the Speaker," adding that he intends to "stay on as an MP to continue speaking out about the internal operations of the National Party."

"I will no doubt be called a liar by Simon Bridges," he says. "That's a very good reason to keep telling the truth that I have witnessed first hand since 2011."

Harrassment allegations

Mr Ross told Newstalk ZB he disputes the way in which accusations against him have been "written up" and the "way in which the details have come out and been pieced together".

The explosive - but unproven - allegations of sexual misconduct agaisnt him were revealed on Thursday, the day after he released a recording he claims proves National leader Simon Bridges broke the law. In the recording, Mr Ross and Mr Bridges can be heard discussing what to do with a $100,000 donation.

Mr Ross was the one who first brought attention to the allegations of misconduct against him. During a press conference on Tuesday, he said Mr Bridges and National deputy leader Paula Bennett accused him of harassing women, adding that the "changing nature of the story made me think it was a bluff".

Ms Bennett told The AM Show on Wednesday that no harassment complaints against Mr Ross had been made. She then told NZME the leadership team raised issues with Mr Ross, but it wasn't about harassment.

But Newsroom claims to have been investigating Mr Ross' behaviour "over the past year". One woman told the site she was "targeted in a systematic and calculated way", and their affair soon evolved into "jealous rages".

Mr Ross has now defended himself, telling Newstalk ZB: "What is quite common in the National Party is, when you question power, and when you become a liability for the leader, things end up in the media."

"The reality of what we're looking at here is I've gone and done some things where I've questioned some seriously powerful people," he said. "I've questioned Simon Bridges on donations, I've questioned whether he's done things lawfully, and I've questioned the things he's asked me to do."

The MP alleges Mr Bridges asked him to divide a $100,000 donation from Chinese businessman Zhang Yikun into smaller amounts to hide it from the Electoral Commission. He says it was on May 21 that Mr Bridges told him to split it up the donation, but admits he has no clear evidence of this.

In the latest recording aired by Newstalk ZB, Mr Bridges can he beard discussing Mr Ross' alleged misconduct towards women. The recording is not clear, but Mr Ross can be heard saying, "You're expecting me to just accept that you've heard things and you've got some evidence and that I'm not able to see that."

The recording of Mr Bridges is difficult to hear, but according to Newstalk ZB, Mr Ross asks him for clarification of who the four women are, and Mr Bridge replies: "Honestly Jami-Lee, if I gave you natural justice on these issues, it wouldn't be four or five, it would be 15."

"I disagree with you. I deserve to see it," Mr Ross says, to which Mr Bridges replies: "Yeah, yeah, that's not going happen."

Mr Ross said earlier this week that he has mental health issues as a result of what has happened with the National Party, but told Newstalk ZB he is "okay".