The unrollable Ross?

redit: Getty/Newshub.

Will we ever know the real reason why someone as close to the inner circle as Jami-Lee Ross ended up being forced out? Especially since the stated reasons do not seem to add up and do not seem to be applied as equally to the goose as to the gander.

Whomever was behind this did not think it through properly before acting and it seems that they have royally screwed up and, after consulting the lawyers, they realise that they have nowhere to go.

Firstly, they notified the Speaker that they considered Ross an independent and that brings in legal ramifications under the Electoral Act, as recently amended by the ‘Waka Jumping’ Bill.

Secondly, as Ross alludes to below, National broke their own party rules by evicting him from caucus without any natural justice.

So Ross intends to carry on with the role he was elected to do.

Jami-Lee Ross is confident that the National Party will not be able to use the “waka jumping” law to kick him out of Parliament.

Ross, who returns to Parliament on Tuesday as an independent MP, told Stuff he planned to vote with National on every single issue, while using his speaking slots in Parliament to represent his district and differentiate himself.

The former National MP left the party in a spectacular fashion last year, accusing leader Simon Bridges of electoral fraud and himself withstanding accusations of harassment. Ross was compulsorily admitted to Middlemore Hospital’s mental health unit.

Ross believed that voting with National on every vote would stop the party from being able to use the “waka jumping” law – which allows party leaders to kick MPs elected under their party banner out of Parliament if they “distort the proportionality of Parliament.”

Bridges himself has said it unlikely the party would use the law, which it deeply opposes.

Ross said National had sought legal advice on this matter and had not been happy with the options.

“The last time there was a waka jumping case it took a year to get through the system. It would land you with a byelection in early 2020. It’s my understanding that the National Party have sought legal advice and are concerned about the legal standing that they would have in that.”

Ross said his expulsion from the party would become an issue for the party as he was not afforded “natural justice” and this was required under the case law.

He declined to say whether or not he had sought his own legal advice, other than to say he had “assessed all my options”.

Ross gave his proxy vote to NZ First while he was away from Parliament, instructing that it always be cast with the National Party. This position would remain whenever he was out of the House.

He said that there would be some things he disagreed with National on but he still had a general commitment to vote with them. He did not rule out voting against them in an extreme case however.

“There will be some issues that I feel very uncomfortable with the National Party position, but as those issues come up I will consider them on a case-by-case basis.”

“I can be a voice, I can be an advocate, but how I vote in Parliament will remain for now with the National Party.”

Ross planned on using his speeches – including one in response to the prime minister’s statement – to raise issues important to his electorate of Botany, such as housing affordability and transport.

He also wanted to speak out about mental health services after his experience with them. He said the people on the frontlines were “wonderful” but the last National Government had “stuck its head in the sand” on the issue and more funding was needed. […]

Ross intended to continue serving on the Transport and Infrastructure Select Committee.

He said several National MPs still talked to him. He was not planning on contacting any of the women who had accused him of bad behaviour, including National MP Sarah Dowie, who he has said he had an extramarital affair with. […]