Highly explosive new allegations have surfaced from former National Party Member of Parliament and Member for Botany, Jami-Lee Ross. Mr Ross, who hit the headlines in October 2018 as he burnt his Parliamentary bridges, mentioned that a fellow National M.P. whom he admitted having an affair with had suggested to him that he should kill himself.
These are potentially career ending allegations for the female National Party Member of Parliament who is alleged to have told Mr Ross that he should die. If true, the suggestion that a fellow human being should kill himself is a criminal offence under Section 43 of the Crimes Act, 1961.
Nearly 4 months after Mr Ross went on leave from Parliament amid a fit of damaging allegations of misconduct by National Party Leader Simon Bridges, Mr Ross has spoken of the time between the first explosive revelations and his admission to a mental health facility. The new allegation follows a barrage in October 2018 in which Mr Bridges was alleged to have asked Mr Ross to break up a donation from a Chinese donor that was too large to be legally kept secret.; that in doing so names had been falsified to hide the real donor; that Mr Bridges had accused Mr Ross of harassing four women; that National M.P.’s were highly critical of Mr Bridges’ decision making.
The National Party reaction to that was explosive. Mr Ross was expelled first from the Caucus and then from the National Party entirely. Over the next several days credible fears set in for Mr Ross’ health, culminating on Saturday 20 October with Mr Ross being compulsorily admitted to mental health institution following alarming calls to his wife that he was on the railway tracks, which forced trains to be stopped whilst Police frantically searched for him.
Mr Ross told of the harm it did to his wife Lucy who thought that her husband was going to commit suicide and that it had been suggested to him that he not see their children. He described the mental health unit room that he was locked up in and realized that he had significant mental health issues, regretting not having sought help earlier.
Mr Ross is eyeing an improbable return to Parliament. It is improbable because there is no way that the National Party would allow him back. The Speaker of the House, Trevor Mallard would need to be convinced that he would not be readmitting an unstable Member who might sow further discord on arrival back in the House. And other questions such as what will happen to the by-election that was triggered by his removal from the National Party. If he did win a by-election who would he seek to represent is yet another question.
I see no future in Parliament for Mr Ross. He is too badly damaged by these allegations and his mental health should take priority. Mr Ross should retire from Parliament and perhaps work in the private sector. New Zealand taxpayers will want to know that they are not funding a damaged Member.
If his allegations prove true there may yet be more trouble to come for National. Mr Bridges is barely ahead of fellow National Party member Judith Collins who many think might try to roll him. And if the suicide allegations prove true, the M.P. who suggested Mr Ross kill himself might be made to resign from Parliament – certainly her credibility, like that of Mr Ross, would be shot.