Ross accused of 'inappropriate behaviour for married MP'

Jami-Lee Ross says he's quitting the National Party and to run as an independent MP. Photo: Getty...
Jami-Lee Ross says he's quitting the National Party and to run as an independent MP. Photo: Getty Images
National Party deputy leader Paula Bennett says issues raised with Jami-Lee Ross had nothing to do with harassment, but were about inappropriate behaviour from Ross as a “married Member of Parliament”.

Bennett has vehemently denying Ross’ claim the leadership team accused him of harassing women.

Ross told reporters this morning he was marched into National leader Simon Bridges’ office about three weeks ago and told of four independent accusations of harassment from women.

Ross said he was to be stripped of his portfolios and dumped on the backbenches, and when he tried to find out more information about the allegations, Bridges threatened him.

“I asked for details. I was not given any ... He told me if I kept asking for natural justice, that it would not be just four women. It would be 15 women.”

National leader Simon Bridges with Paula Bennett (right) and Judith Collins at Parliament today....
National leader Simon Bridges with Paula Bennett (right) and Judith Collins at Parliament today. Image: NZ Herald

Bennett said the leadership team raised issues with Ross - but it wasn’t about harassment.

“At no point was the matter of sexual harassment ever put to Jami-Lee Ross,” Bennett told The New Zealand Herald today.

“What was put to him was inappropriate behaviour that is unacceptable from a married Member of Parliament.”

Bridges has repeatedly said that there was no truth to any of Ross’ allegations about accusations of harassment or fraudulent electoral donations.

“He has to put up or shut up,” Bridges told Newstalk ZB this afternoon.

Bridges did not want to expand on the issues raised with Ross.

“I’m not going to go through and detail for you what the inappropriate serious behaviour is. I don’t think that’s in anyone’s interests.

“It wasn’t simply about leaks, but a serious pattern of behaviour from Jami-Lee Ross.”

This morning, Ross called Bridges a “corrupt” leader, adding he will complain to police about what he claims was the illegal handling of party donations.

The National Party caucus voted unanimously to expel Ross, but Ross had already announced he was quitting the party and would stand down as the MP for Botany on Friday.

He intends to stand in a subsequent byelection as an independent candidate.

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