Jami-Lee Ross has tough road ahead as independent MP - O'Brien

As he plans to head back to Parliament as an independent MP, Jami-Lee Ross faces a tough road many others who have chosen to go solo have not successfully navigated.

On Tuesday, Mr Ross spoke with Newshub's Political Editor Tova O'Brien on his now infamous political showdown with National leader Simon Bridges and his sectioning to a mental health facility.

Police are also investigating a text message Jami-Lee Ross says he received from a female MP saying he deserved to die. It is illegal in New Zealand to incite or encourage another person to take their own life.

Working to rebuild his life and relationship with his wife and children, Mr Ross said he wants to move away from focusing on the beltway issues of Wellington and instead on the challenges facing his constituents in Botany.

Although Mr Ross was elected by voters in the Botany electorate as a National MP, after leaving National in October and deciding to not trigger a by-election, he will stay on as an independent MP.

But O'Brien told The AM Show that will be easier said than done.

"It's going to be a pretty harsh reintegration into Parliament for a lot of reasons. Being an independent MP isn't easy," she said.

"Independent MPs fade into irrelevancy in the New Zealand Parliament. We saw it with Brendan Horan, we've seen it with plenty others, and Jami-Lee Ross is facing down that barrel."

Mr Horan, a former weather presenter, was elected as a New Zealand First List MP in 2011 but was expelled from the party in November 2012 after being accused of misappropriating money from his late mother. Mr Horan had no idea he was being expelled until leader Winston Peters made the announcement to Parliament.

Brendan Horan.
Brendan Horan. Photo credit: Getty

Mr Horan refused to leave Parliament as he denied the allegations, and in December 2012 notified the Speaker he would stay on as an independent.

He later launched the NZ Independent Coalition, but the party didn't win any seats and Mr Horan came in fifth in the Bay of Plenty electorate.

O'Brien said there was still a lot of interest in hearing what Mr Ross had to say, and while he says the hatred for his former party members is gone, he is still throwing some political digs, including towards the National MP he had an affair with.

On Tuesday, he also released a statement titled "Leaving bitterness and hatred behind" which detailed his struggles with mental illness and falling out with Mr Bridges.

National's deputy leader Paula Bennett told The AM Show on Wednesday that she wishes him good health.

"He wants to move on, we definitely want to move on... He's got every right to [speak to media], he's not our problem anymore, he's not part of our caucus, he can speak to media, he can do what he likes, we're just moving on," she said.


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