Chris Trotter on National’s curious actions

Chris Trotter writes at the Daily Bog: Quote:

THE RIGHT’S RESPONSE to Jami-Lee Ross’s temporary detention at Middlemore Hospital has been interesting. The National Party’s defenders flatly reject the idea that its leadership has acted in any way improperly in relation to Ross. And yet, piecing together what little information has made its way into the public domain, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that at the point of crisis, early on Sunday morning (21/10/18) Ross was in the company of a National Party MP. Whether it was this MP, or someone else, who became so alarmed by Ross’ behaviour that they called the Police, remains unclear. What is certain is that Ross was conveyed to Middlemore because he represented a danger to himself, or others, and against his will.End quote.

He wasn’t in the company of a National MP, but he was certainly communicating with one, who called the Police, and then called Simon Bridges’ Chief of Staff, who then called Jami-Lee Ross’s psychiatrist. So the leader’s office and one National MP were most certainly involved. Quote:

That, barely 48 hours later, Middlemore was willing to release Ross strongly suggests that the circumstances which gave rise to his temporary detention no longer existed. Friends have provided a place of refuge for him out of Auckland where he is currently recuperating, taking stock, and considering his future.

For Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett, however, the Jami-Lee Saga is far from over. A great many questions have accumulated over the course of Labour Weekend and it is clear that neither the Leader nor his deputy can answer them without the risk of re-igniting the political firestorm of the past ten days. End quote.

Questions that I put to Simon Bridges when he called me. The response to that was Bridges calling David Fisher to run interference and, no doubt, to continue to run interference. Now, consider this: if David Fisher is against me, and in support of Bridges…you know I’m right in what I am saying. Mr Fisher needs to explain his quick trip to Wellington this week, who he saw and what information was handed over to him by the National party. Quote:

If, for example, the blogger Cameron Slater’s claim that three of the four anonymous complainants who featured in the Newsroom exposé of Ross’ behaviour towards women are employed in either the Leader’s or the Deputy-Leader’s office is confirmed, then the public may feel that they have been short-changed when it comes to being given all the relevant details surrounding the charges levelled against the Botany MP. The public may also begin asking why these details are available from a blogger, but not from the journalists of the Parliamentary Press Gallery? End quote.

One is the MP Jami-Lee Ross had a three year relationship with, which broke up in May of this year. One is Simon Bridges’ Executive Assistant, and the other is his Events Manager. They work in Bridges’ office and are direct reports to him and his Chief of Staff. Quote:

Questions are also being asked about whether or not, over the course of the past month, the National leader and/or his deputy were in contact with Ross’ medical adviser/s? And, if so, whether those advisers had warned Bridges and/or Bennett that it would be unwise to do or say anything likely to jeopardise Ross’ already compromised mental state? If the public were to discover that the National Party leadership had been explicitly cautioned against naming Ross as the probable leaker of Bridges’ travel expenses – but went ahead and did it anyway – then they might form the opinion that Ross’ manic night-time ride from Auckland to Wellington, and his epic media stand-up the following morning, were entirely avoidable events. End quote.

They were in contact, and also with his wife who was concerned about his mental well-being. They were warned despite Bridges’ own denials to me. Unfortunately for Bridges and Bennett, there are records of these contacts. Quote:

Such speculation cannot possibly be helpful to Bridges and Bennett – raising as it does the thought that Ross may have been used as the unwitting instrument for rallying the National Party caucus behind a leader whom the voters showed little sign of warming to or respecting. The idea of making a mentally unwell MP the means of achieving such a disreputable objective is not likely to inspire very much in the way of trust or confidence in the putative perpetrators. Quite the reverse, in fact. End quote.

And rolling out Nicky Hager and David Fisher to hurl more smears wasn’t the smartest plan. It lends credence to the growing body of evidence that Dirty Politics was an inside job too. Quote:

The problem with this sort of speculation is that much of the known conduct of the National Party leadership appears to reinforce it. If someone was intending to push a mentally fragile person over the edge, then threatening him with the anonymous testimony of four aggrieved female complainants, might recommend itself as a highly effective way of doing it. If that someone then publicly suggested that the person in question had been behaving in ways incompatible with his status as a married man, well then, it’s easy to see how the notion that he was being pushed to the limit might take a firmer grip on the public mind. End quote.

If what the National party did had been done by a large commercial firm, then there would be OSH lawsuits up the wazoo. When law firms do what National did, there are inquiries and they are pilloried. It seems it is OK to do what National did if it is a political party. Quote:

To the truly cynical, the sudden appearance, in the very midst of Ross’ jihad against his former National colleagues, of a sensational exposé detailing the Botany MP’s abusive and manipulative relationships with three parliamentary staffers and an unnamed National MP would elicit only the most sardonic of grins. If one was writing the script for such a political melodrama, the line given to Bridges would have to be: “Whew! That was lucky!”

Just how lucky was revealed by TVNZ’s political editor, Jessica Mutch Mackay, on Tuesday evening (23/10/18) when she described how National’s numbers, in the Colmar-Brunton poll being conducted coincident with Jami-Lee’s jihad, were plummeting right up until the moment, mid-week, when the story detailing Ross’ improprieties began to dominate the headlines. The word “fortuitous” hardly seems to cover it! End quote.

National’s leadership team were cock-a-hoop yesterday; they think that the worst is over. That they have silenced Jami-Lee Ross and they have smeared me and those who cared for a human rather than continued the smear. They have failed to answer questions about inconsistencies in their statements, they have failed to answer questions about the role of staffers in Bridge’ office and they have failed to answer questions as to why they ignored medical advice. Instead they have commenced the cover up…and it is always the cover up that undoes you. Quote:

Questions, questions, questions: there is still so much that we don’t know about the extraordinary events of the past ten days. And perhaps the most frustrating aspect of the whole saga is how unwilling all but a handful of journalists have been to dig too deeply for the facts the public is so anxious to learn.

Fortunately, for the historical record, there is one person who knows a great deal about all of the events touched on in this post. Resting quietly, in an undisclosed but secure location, the MP for Botany, Jami-Lee Ross, waits patiently for all of these many questions to be put to him. With what should we expect a man who has nothing left to lose to answer – except the truth? End quote.

Precisely. So long as National and their leadership keep lying, I will keep telling the truth about them.

The truth will out. The female MP can’t hide forever. She has a lot to answer for too.

I don’t think Simon Bridges is evil, but I do think he is stupid. Paula Bennett is another matter entirely.

I can’t wait for this inquiry into National’s culture. I think I may offer to give evidence. I wonder if Jami-Lee Ross will do the same?


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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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