Speaker Trevor Mallard honours Newshub's Tova O'Brien for 'compassionate' Jami-Lee Ross coverage

On the final sitting day of Parliament in 2018, Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard has given a special shout-out to Newshub's Political Editor Tova O'Brien.

Acknowledging the Press Gallery in the House on Wednesday, Mr Mallard said while every year could be called a "tough year" for the Parliamentary reporters, this year had been one of a kind.

"There have been some incidents this year that have made their life harder than normal," he said, potentially alluding to leak of National leader Simon Bridges' travel expenses and an ensuing fallout involving Jami-Lee Ross.

Coverage of what many commentators have deemed one the greatest political sagas in New Zealand history included dealing with Mr Ross' leave from Parliament on health grounds, his eventual sectioning to a mental health facility, and various accusations of bullying levelled at the now-independent MP.

Mr Mallard made a special mention of O'Brien for "choosing" a "principled, compassionate and caring approach to a story that she chose not to break in the public".

"I think that that was something that should be acknowledged; something that is quite unusual and something which I think was important to an individual. She put the individual over the story."

O'Brien was leaked Mr Bridges' travel expenses in August, and revealed the National leader had spent more than $113,000 on travel and accommodation in just three months.

The story led Mr Bridges to call for an independent inquiry into who the leaker was, with Mr Ross found to be the likely culprit.

That kick-started a wild week in politics that captivated the country and led to Mr Ross calling Mr Bridges corrupt, resigning from the National Party, and releasing a series of explosive phone recordings.

On Tuesday, retiring National MP Chris Finlayson called the TV3 [Newshub] political team “young, clever and classy” after noting the media “are not the enemy”.


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