Jacinda Ardern instructed Government ministers to be empathetic during Jami-Lee Ross saga

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern directed her Government ministers not to comment on Jami-Lee Ross and his relationship with the National Party, Newshub can reveal.

If they did talk, they needed to show compassion and she even provided talking points instructing them what to say. 

An email from the Prime Minister's office was sent to other ministers' offices on October 16 last year, which included a proposed response if they were asked by media about the issues surrounding Mr Ross. 

Ministers were told to say, "These are issues for the National Party caucus. There's always some concerns when there's a human side to these situations."

Jacinda Ardern instructed Government ministers to be empathetic during Jami-Lee Ross saga
Photo credit: Newshub

That was the same day Mr Ross held an hour-long press conference where he made serious accusations about National Party leader Simon Bridges.

A second email was sent on November 5 with another proposed response which included: "This is the National Party's business."

Jacinda Ardern instructed Government ministers to be empathetic during Jami-Lee Ross saga
Photo credit: Newshub

That was the same day a new tape was leaked to The AM Show which revealed a conversation between Mr Bridges, deputy leader Paula Bennett and Mr Ross.

The Prime Minister's office was also monitoring media reports on the saga.

In her capacity as Labour leader, Ms Ardern also received verbal updates from the Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard and Leader of the House Chris Hipkins about the impact of Mr Ross leaving the National Party on the Parliamentary process.

Simon Bridges' expenses leak: How did it all happen?

Newshub's Political Editor Tova O'Brien was leaked Mr Bridges' expenses on or before August 13. The information showed Mr Bridges had spent $113,973 on travel and accommodation during his road show.

A parliamentary inquiry was called for by Speaker Trevor Mallard, who later cancelled the investigation, saying evidence showed it was a matter for the National Party. He then quietly pushed on with his own investigation to clear parliamentary services and himself.

Someone claiming to be the leaker sent a text to Mr Mallard, Mr Bridges and Newshub calling for the inquiry to be stopped due to ongoing mental health issues. Mr Bridges decided to continue with the inquiry.

Newshub was then leaked an internal email sent to staff on September 25 saying the investigation will include those who don't work in Parliament.

The final PwC report did not identify the source of the leak. It said evidence pointed to Jami-Lee Ross but there wasn't certainty in the findings. Simon Bridges went with it.

Mr Ross has repeatedly denied he leaked Mr Bridges' expenses and fired back by releasing a number of secret recordings of National leader and made allegations of electoral fraud. He took his claims to police.

Mr Ross has returned to Parliament as an independent MP for Botany.

Newshub.

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