D-Day for national MP Jami-Lee Ross as national caucus met



National MPs arrive in Parliament prior to a caucus meeting this morning, which is expected to determine the fate of rogue MP Jami-Lee Ross.

The sidelined MP was yesterday fingered as the person who leaked the travel expenses of leader Simon Bridges.

The national caucus meets this morning to decide what penalty should be distributed, with suspension as an option.

MP Todd McClay refused to speculate about what caucus could decide, saying that this was an issue that would be discussed within a few hours.

When asked if he supported national leader Simon Bridges, McClay said, "Absolutely, 100 percent, this is not a matter of leadership, it's about one person who has shown a significant lack of loyalty to each caucus member."

McClay said yesterday's tweets from Ross, deny the leak and threaten to expose "illegal" behavior within the national, were inappropriate and inaccurate.

READ MORE:
• Claire Trevett: Jami-Lee Ross leaves national MPs no choice but the boat
• Judith Collins: Jami-Lee Ross & tweets & # 39; terrible & # 39;
• Nats at war: Jami-Lee Ross denies leaking Bridges spending

McClay said the entire caucus was disappointed. "We have worked very hard this past year, once again, this is about one person who has been shown to be unfaithful to Caucus."

But he did not believe that Ross's actions had caused any damage to National.

MP Simon O & # 39; Connor refused to comment on his way in, saying that it was matters that the caucus had to discuss.

"The caucus is freely united in the task we have, which calls the government to account.

"It is disappointing that a person has dropped the caucus."

Andrew Bayly refused to say how he could vote, but said he fully supported Bridges.

"It is a test of how good teams are and I believe we will show that we are an excellent, resolute team, fully united and know where we are going."

Matt King called it a "bump in the road" and caucus would deal with it.

"For us as a caucus we are tight, we are united, we are going through, this is bigger than one man."

King said he was "disappointed about the whole thing".

Otago University Law Professor Andrew Geddis told Radio NZ today that the constitution of the party did not contain any provision for suspension or expulsion from caucus – and that could amount to a simple majority vote on a motion.

But the constitution did contain provisions for disciplinary procedures such as the withdrawal of party membership.

"They would arrange that procedure," Geddis said.

But that was legally debatable. "If the party moves you to expel you and you do not think it has reasons to do so, or you think it does not follow its own rules, then you could go to court and the party proceedings procedure there contest. "

Geddis said that if Ross went to the Speaker and said that he wanted to become an independent member of parliament, his seat in Parliament would automatically become vacant and there would be a round.

If Ross was thrown out of the fight, Bridges could invoke the party-hopping laws and go to the Speaker and say that Ross distorted the proportionality of Parliament and asked to declare the seat vacant.

Boag: Bridges will come out stronger here

Former president of the national party Michelle Boag told MediaWorks this morning that Ross was acting alone.

"I predict that Simon Bridges will open the door today from the National Party's caucus with the unanimous support of all other MPs, and I think this was good for his leadership.

"I was one of those who thought that there should be no research because it continued, and now I am very glad that there was," said Boag.

She called Ross & # 39; Actions & # 39; very irrational & # 39 ;.

"The people I feel for are his family, I feel awful for his family because they are dragged into this, and the people who work closely with him in his electorate."

Boag said that Ross would have no chance of existence in the way that Maurice Williamson had done years ago after a similar problem. "I predict that Bridges will come out stronger than when he went in."

"Now we know what the problem is, the rest will find out and everyone will be united," she said.

Boag said that if Ross had any evidence that he was doing something wrong with Bridges, he had to go to the police.

Former Secretary of National Party Ben Thomas told Mike Hosking of Newstalk ZB that he has no doubt about Ross's fate.

"Jami-Lee Ross is burnt toast, he is probably a toast five or six times, someone who has forgotten, that is smoking in the kitchen."

Thomas said that Ross & # 39; tweets alienated him from sympathy of the broader caucus.

"This will not be a referendum on Simon Bridges, but this is only about the behavior of Jami-Lee Ross."

Thomas said that National could use the waka-jumping legislation to get rid of Ross.

"I do not think that National will have too much trouble to solve the problem."

An investigation showed that Jami-Lee Ross was the leaker, but Thomas said that there should never have been an investigation.

"Probability suggested that it was always someone in the camp of the National Party, and it is fair to say that it was probably wrongly treated at every turn."

Former chairman of the Labor Party, Mike Williams, agreed and told Hosking that the situation was no longer under control.

"In the first place this issue should never have been strived for, but I think Simon Bridges must be very careful, because you will always have someone in a caucus of that size who is on the rails."

Bridges had to sort it out as quickly as possible, he said.

& # 39; You can not welcome him anymore … after what he said. If you switch him off, you risk a round for the waka-jumping Bill. There is no right answer. & # 39;

Ardern: & # 39; Pretty tough & # 39; for national leader

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told Mike Hosking of Newstalk ZB that the situation for Bridges was "pretty tough".

When asked to assess how Bridges had handled the effects of the investigation, Ardern said she would not "sit here and rank the achievements".

She noted that during his opposition period the PvdA had endured its own problems.


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