Another hit job from David Fisher which I must correct and tell the truth that the National party fails to

Yesterday saw another personalised hit job against me from David Fisher after his quick trip to Wellington to get briefed. It seems his anonymous and gutless sources are trying to spin just how wonderful the National party has been towards the man they drove to attempt suicide as a result of their actions.

Of course they led with a shabby headline that tries to make out that the woman behind all of this is some sort of hero. Fisher claims that I got some things wrong, but presents not a skerrick of evidence to support his contentions: Quote:

The path to mental health care for unwell MP Jami-Lee Ross appears to have started with a text message to the fellow MP with whom he had an affair.

Through a range of sources, the Herald has been able to untangle the apparent chain of events leading to Ross entering Middlemore Hospital on Saturday evening.

It has revealed a National Party which moved quickly to do what it could for its former MP after he sent a text message to his former lover which appeared to reveal a man in distress.

The events are contrary to those being pushed by Dirty Politics blogger and National Party pariah Cameron Slater, who has emerged as a support person for Ross. End quote.

Except they aren’t contrary, and they miss quite a bit out. I will now explain the true timeline since David Fisher has missed out some salient information, which is understandable as he seems to specialise in lop-sided stories that rarely match the provable facts.  Quote:

It began with a text message that evening to the MP with whom he had been having an extra-marital affair.

The message apparently contained content which gave the woman cause for concern over Ross’ wellbeing – so much so she was driven to alert others in the party to its contents.

The concern was relayed to a senior member of Bridges’ office. The staff member held contact details for the mental health professional who had previously been in contact with the party on Ross’ instructions.

The urgency of the situation drove events quickly, with Bridges’ senior staff member contacting the mental health professional to pass on concerns over Ross and his state of mind.

It appears the mental health professional then sought police assistance to track down Ross, who was later taken to Middlemore Hospital. The Herald has been previously told he was committed for assessment and treatment.

On arriving at Middlemore’s Tiaho Mai mental health centre, Ross was given a physical health assessment followed by a psychiatric assessment.

The Herald has been told the assessment would have been followed by further psychiatric reviews, which apparently found him able to be released and treated in the community.

Instantly recognisable by staff, of particular concern to Tiaho Mai staff was to keep confidential Ross’ personal and medical details.

A spokeswoman from the office of National Party leader Simon Bridges said: “There was no proactive contact with Jami-Lee Ross on Saturday night. When concerns were raised they were dealt with appropriately.

“The National Party is confident that we have followed advice and made the right decisions on matters concerning Jami-Lee Ross.” End quote.

That is Fisher’s timeline and position and, coincidentally, it matches the National party’s. It isn’t strictly true and misses out salient points. I have said that so long as the National party keeps on lying, I will keep on telling the truth.

I will now show my readers the truth and back it up with phone records and screenshots.

This did not all start with a text from Jami-Lee Ross to the so far unnamed MP. It started well before that. The affair was over and had ended sometime around May. The female MP had moved out after being told that there was no future as she had planned. What occurred then, over months, was a systematic campaign of sneaky sharing of messages amongst other MPs and also an attempt to get Ross back.

On August 11 the following text message was sent to Jami-Lee Ross. It is the same message that Radio NZ reported on:

People have asked me about context. There is none. Prior messages were two weeks older and the messages after this one were sent some weeks later. This was sent, out of the blue, at 1:19 am by this woman. As I have said, it was sent in August. What is significant about this is that Jami-Lee Ross, after the worst week ever, saw this again as he sat in his car mid-evening on Saturday night. He scrolled through his text messages assessing what had happened for him to end up where he was, homeless, career over, accused by the same woman who sent this hideous message and also by two other women who worked in Simon Bridges’ office. He felt destroyed. He’d driven to Wellington and back, slept in his car, lost his entire life, and then he saw this again. He took a screenshot of it and sent a message (including the screenshot) to that female MP.

Jami-Lee Ross turned off his cell phone and drove to the Waikato. I will pause there and return later to what led to this dangerous decision by Ross to try and end his life.

We need to explore the timeline, what happened and when, who was involved and what proof there is to back up what went on leading up to that fateful night.

Wednesday 26th of September – Jami-Lee Ross was called to Bennett’s office, then was taken to Bridges’ office and told he had to stand down until the end of the year due to four harassment claims. This first meeting also included Jamie Gray. So it was a 3 vs 1 situation. The meeting also included claims of disloyalty. This is three weeks BEFORE the Newsroom story came out.  It was claimed that the four harassment claims had been made independently to Paula Bennett that day and they were not connected. Jami-Lee Ross asks about the nature of these allegations and is given no details at all. He asks Bridges and Bennett about natural justice but they weren’t interested. Except we know that one was the woman MP above, and the others two staffers from Simon Bridges’ own office. Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett both claim they knew nothing about those claims before the Newsroom story, yet here they are, three weeks before, using it to get him to take leave.

Thursday 27th September 01.45  – Jami-Lee Ross calls Simon Lusk to seek advice, distraught over the allegations,  saying that he couldn’t fight harassment claims even if they aren’t true, and explaining what has been going on for the past few months.

Thursday 27th September – Jami-Lee Ross and Simon Lusk discuss the next meeting, Jami-Lee Ross insists it be with Simon Bridges alone. Simon Bridges refuses. Jami-Lee Ross refuses to meet. Simon Bridges then agrees to meet alone with Jami-Lee Ross after a flurry of text messages.

Jami-Lee Ross turns up for the meeting and Paula Bennett and Jamie Gray are in the room. Jami-Lee Ross walks out, but is called back for a meeting after the other two leave. Jami-Lee Ross suggests to Simon Bridges that last night’s discussion is forgotten and they can move on. Bridges refuses and, when questioned about natural justice, says he can get 15 women – not just four – to make the allegations. The audio of this was released previously and, again, it shows that three weeks before the Newsroom story both Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett were using these women to force Jami-Lee Ross to go on leave. This is contrary to their subsequent claims that they knew nothing about the cases.

Jami-Lee Ross declines an offer for Simon Lusk to come to Wellington, or for Jami-Lee Ross to come to Hawkes Bay, returning to Auckland that evening. Jami-Lee Ross sees a psychiatrist, Thursday evening.

Friday 28th September – Jami-Lee Ross sees the psychiatrist again in the morning. He sends a message to Simon Bridges with a psychiatrist’s report saying not to put him under any more pressure and fearing for his safety. Bridges and Bennett talk to the psychiatrist. The psychiatrist calls Paula Bennett on Friday to tell them to lay off. The texts with Simon take place on the following Tuesday which is the same day that the medical leave is announced. Despite this, the next week Bridges and Bennett announce that Jami-Lee Ross is on leave for ’embarrassing’ reasons.

Jami-Lee Ross is then put on leave and an announcement made to the public about this.

There is nothing more about this other than Simon Bridges apologising for being insensitive about the situation with his comments.

Monday 15th October – A meeting is held in Auckland between Simon Bridges, Paula Bennett, Jami-Lee Ross and a support person. Jami-lee Ross explains that he is feeling better and would like to return to parliament, but on light duties as there are still issues regarding undue pressure. He offers to move to the back-bench if everything else can be forgotten as he believes there are no actual harassment issues. The offer is rejected and Ross is presented with the completed PWC report into the leak of Bridges travel details. Ross rejects the findings and, to this day, claims he did not leak the details. The person in National who headed the inquiry was Paula Bennett. Ross is advised that shortly after that meeting concludes they are going to announce him as the leaker and then hold a caucus meeting the next day to expel him from caucus. This is against medical advice and will further increase the pressure the former allegations had placed him under. He is advised that he may speak to caucus to explain himself but that there is really no point because he’s toast. There is no possibility for a deal. Jamie-Lee Ross tells Bridges that he has lots of audios, including compromising donation discussions. He is not believed.

Paula Bennett and Simon Bridges announce that the report is in; they release it and say that the leaker is Jami-Lee Ross.

We all know what happened over the next week. Jami-Lee Ross drove to Wellington overnight and announced a press conference timed to coincide with National’s caucus meeting. He has decided that he has nothing to lose now and drops his allegations over donations. He releases audios and lays a complaint with the Police over the laundering of donations.

Thursday 18th October – Melanie Reid from Newsroom runs her salacious story involving four women – as foreshadowed by Bridges and Bennett. On the same day, Bridges and Bennett express shock saying that they knew nothing about these allegations, yet three weeks prior they were threatening Jami-Lee Ross with them. Questions need to be asked about how, all of a sudden, Melanie Reid has them just days after Ross drops his donations bombs.

Saturday 20th October – Jami-Lee Ross is back in Auckland, but he is homeless. He has slept in his car and hasn’t slept much over the past week. He phones me at approximately 8:30 pm and he is distraught. We had a good and lucid discussion. However, as he sat there in his car he began scrolling through his past messages and he came across the nasty text from the female MP. It set him off. At 8:51 pm he texts her and then turns his cell phone off. She frantically tries to respond via text and makes 4 phone calls to him. He turns his phone on and off over the next three hours. At one stage, a journalist communicates with him. as her company had someone stationed near his house and had observed a Police i-car turn up. [WO:  The journalist concerned has contacted me to clarify this situation. I am satisfied that there was no company watcher in place] She was concerned. This short text conversation occurred at 10:25 pm as Jami-Lee Ross was driving to the Waikato.

While all this was going on Jami-Lee had missed calls from his wife, St John, his doctor and the female MP. He did take a short call from his doctor, but in the end, he hung up on him. His doctor had been alerted to the situation because of a text message from Jamie Grey, Simon Bridges’ chief of Staff. This is confirmed by a text message from the doctor to Jami-Lee Ross at 9:28 pm. It stated: Quote:

Hi Jami-Lee. Are you coping? I just had a txt from Jamie Gray who heard from [REDACTED] who is worried about you. End quote.

So, Simon Bridges’ office knew what was going on and they had contacted Jami-Lee’s psychiatrist. This shows that the leader’s office also knew the medical details of Jami-Lee Ross.

The call records show that the people who tried to contact Jami-Lee Ross as he sped towards the Waikato were, in the order they called, the female MP (five times), his doctor, his wife, the female MP (4 times), St John, the female MP (4 more times), an unknown person, and the female MP (another 9 times). Those are the calls, most of them missed since the phone was off.

Jami-Lee Ross was picked up near Hamilton by Police at 12:38am and taken to Waikato hospital for assessment. David Fisher missed this part out. Ross was then taken to Middlemore, assessed again and committed to the care of the Mental Health unit at 04:00. Jami-Lee was permitted to send a text message to one person and that person was my friend and the person who attended the meeting on Monday 15 October. That message asked him to advise his wife where he was. She probably already knew because of the involvement of the police.

So, David Fisher has tried to paint this picture that the National party were caring about the mental well-being of Jami-Lee Ross. He claimed that it was the doctor who called the police. That is extremely unlikely as the call records show. The information and text messages show that Simon Bridges’ office was well aware of what was going on.

It is stretching credulity to believe the claims of Simon Bridges that he knew nothing about what was going on. His chief of staff and one of his MPs were involved in the drama that unfolded as a consequence of their actions.

Most certainly now we can assume the story painted by Melanie Reid left out very salient facts as did David Fisher’s. The woman who went anonymously to the media to smear Jami-Lee Ross is no angel. So far she has remained protected because both the media and National helped to paint her as the victim. It is obvious from the phone records, the text messages and other details that this is a classic case of a woman scorned. The stories have been over-egged by Reid and by Newsroom, salient facts are missing from David Fisher’s story and the true picture that emerges is one of a man pursued into an attempt at suicide by a callous and unrelenting hit job on him by the leadership of the National party and by the female MP. For some reason, that female MP remains protected. Her claims to Newsroom are massively exaggerated. She cannot and should not remain anonymous after her actions involving herself in the Newsroom hit job. Nor because of her actions leading up to last Saturday night. Running and hiding is not what a responsible person elected to our parliament should be doing. She is an MP and there is public interest in revealing her culpability and actions.

Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett have misled media constantly, denied knowledge of things that are now proved to have occurred prior to their claimed knowledge and continued to obfuscate. Unlike other media, I have used facts, data, call logs and text messages to prove my claims. They have nothing but unnamed “sources”. Sources that are inconveniently close to Simon Bridges or Paula Bennett.

The leadership of the National party needs to start telling the truth. Every time they lie, I can back it up with evidence. Perhaps they might like to stop, take stock and start to realise what precisely it is that they have done…and then start atoning for their actions.

Before anyone thinks that I am sticking up for Jami-Lee Ross, I reiterate that I think that some of his actions and deeds as portrayed in media are reprehensible. He has to own those actions. He is working through that. However, what Jami-Lee Ross did and is accused of doing is no different from what many other MPs across the house have done. If the Paula Bennett test were applied to other National MPs there would likely be only about 10 MPs left. She’d be gone for sure, so would Bridges and many others. Very few are squeaky clean with their domestic arrangements. That’s why Labour MPs are very, very quiet; they have their own dirt they want kept quiet.

I, however, am not part of the beltway. I live in Auckland. I’m not compromised like some of the media and politicians, but I do know who is compromised. When one journalist had the cheek to call me about Jami-Lee’s affairs, I had to point out to him what I knew about his. He quickly changed the subject.

What I want now is for other people to own their actions. The facts and timelines are contrary to claims by the leadership; they need to come clean. The facts don’t match the claims of National’s leadership. The members and voters who voted for National deserve better than that.

This is not a retribution against National post, this is a holding idiot politicians to account without fear or favour post. If National’s leadership weren’t so dreadful then I’d have plenty more to say about the government, but they are running away from responsibility and if they won’t take it then it is up to journalists like me to hold their feet to the fire until they either quit or get better.

I have had a few people cancel their subs because they think I should go easy on Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett. I think I need to go as hard on them as they have gone on Jami-Lee Ross. Going easy on politicians is what breeds a culture of corruption. Going hard is what holds them to account for their shitty actions.

When the National party tells lies, I will tell the truth.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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