Simon Bridges points to Jami-Lee Ross as the National Party leaker

by RNZ / 15 October, 2018

Jami-Lee Ross has been identified as the National Party leaker after the party's inquiry into the leak, but the MP is denying he was responsible.

In a stand-up this afternoon, National Party leader Simon Bridges said the inquiry report identified Mr Ross as the most likely source of the leak, and he accepted that finding.

"The report states that the evidence identify points to Jami-Lee Ross as being the person who sent the anonymous text message. I am releasing that report today.

"It is his [John Billington QC's] opinion that on the balance of probabilities the evidence establishes that Jami-Lee Ross was the person who leaked the expenses and the sender of the text message."

Jami-Lee Ross.

READ MORE: Simon Bridges and the Expenses Leak is the worst Agatha Christie tale yet | Both National and Labour are struggling to keep their houses in order

Despite the revelations he said he was confident about his caucus and his leadership of the party.

He said these matters were only the result of a single member of parliament and will be dealt with in caucus tomorrow.

"This isn't about me, this is about getting 56 members of parliament, these matters are for caucus to consider," he said.

"The caucus will be asked to consider all relevant matters including his membership of caucus, finally you will recall, Jami-Lee took leave from Parliament given personal health issues, this action is completely separate. I didn't know what the investigation report would contain when the matters were addressed in recent weeks."

But in a series of tweets, Mr Ross said he was not responsible for the leak:

Mr Ross said that Mr Bridges was attempting to pin his leak inquiry on him, because he could not find out who the actual leak was.

He said Mr Bridges was attempting to use his contact with a local police area commander, and a journalist who he said was a friend, as evidence that he was somehow involved.

Mr Ross said it was all because he had been questioning Mr Bridges' leadership decisions.

The investigation, which was carried out by PwC, was looking into the leak of Mr Bridges' travel expenses in August.

In August, RNZ revealed a person claiming to be a National MP had sent a text message to Mr Bridges and the speaker, Trevor Mallard, pleading for the initial inquiry to be stopped for the sake of their mental health.

That led to Mr Mallard pulling the plug on that inquiry saying it was unlikely the text had been sent from anyone outside the National Party.

The National Party then decided to go ahead with its own investigation into the matter.

All National Party MPs signed a waiver to cover communications dating back to February.

But as the staff's employer, Parliamentary Services refused to give permission on their behalf.

Mr Mallard arranged a forensic investigation of emails and relevant databases connected to his office and those staff involved in the preparation of the expenses - about 20 staff in total.

KPMG, who carried it out, concluded there was no evidence that Mr Mallard or any Parliamentary Service finance staff were responsible for the leak.

This was first published on Radio NZ.

Latest

Excavated cult-horror film Suspiria is an ambitious failure
98994 2018-11-14 00:00:00Z Movies

Excavated cult-horror film Suspiria is an ambitiou…

by James Robins

Released in 1977, Dario Argento’s campy Suspiria was a landmark in cult horror. Now, director Luca Guadagnino has remade it in a new style.

Read more
Scottish-Bengali crime writer Abir Mukherjee on his 'cultural schizophrenia'
98517 2018-11-14 00:00:00Z Books

Scottish-Bengali crime writer Abir Mukherjee on hi…

by Craig Sisterson

Abir Mukherjee uses India’s painful struggle for independence as the backdrop for his Sam Wyndham detective stories.

Read more
Lunchtime legends: 5 hospo stalwarts on Auckland's restaurant evolution
93848 2018-11-14 00:00:00Z Auckland Eats

Lunchtime legends: 5 hospo stalwarts on Auckland's…

by Alice Neville

Restaurant veterans Chris Rupe, Krishna Botica, Tony Adcock, Geeling Ching and Judith Tabron reflect on the Auckland dining scene.

Read more
Best Auckland BYO restaurants where the food is good too
97751 2018-11-14 00:00:00Z Auckland Eats

Best Auckland BYO restaurants where the food is go…

by Metro

Head to one of these Metro Top 50 Cheap Eats and 50 under $50 restaurants for BYO dining that won't break the bank.

Read more
Get a lesson in mezcal at new Snickel Lane bar La Fuente
99033 2018-11-14 00:00:00Z Auckland Eats

Get a lesson in mezcal at new Snickel Lane bar La …

by Jean Teng

Mezcal was once regarded as a tipple for the lower-class – now it's the hero at new bar La Fuente.

Read more
Forget the love trysts, our relationship with China is a much bigger affair
98673 2018-11-13 00:00:00Z Politics

Forget the love trysts, our relationship with Chin…

by Bevan Rapson

Ross’s tape didn’t stand up his allegations of electoral fraud, but it helpfully drew renewed attention to questions about Chinese influence in NZ.

Read more
Bill Ralston: Simon Bridges looks like a dead man walking
98830 2018-11-13 00:00:00Z Politics

Bill Ralston: Simon Bridges looks like a dead man …

by Bill Ralston

The National Party’s ongoing ructions suggest a long spell in the wilderness lies ahead.

Read more
The history of NZ newspapers would shame the Facebook generation
98735 2018-11-13 00:00:00Z History

The history of NZ newspapers would shame the Faceb…

by Karl du Fresne

In the 19th century, there were more newspapers in New Zealand per head of population than anywhere else in the world says writer Ian F Grant.

Read more