Southland District Council Mayor Gary Tong, who is currently in China with businessman Zhang Yikun, says Jami-Lee Ross needs to "step up," over donation scandal that's rocked the National Party.
Jami-Lee Ross claimed Mr Zhang donated $100,000 to the National Party. Mr Ross then made allegations against National Party leader Simon Bridges about the way the donation was handled. Mr Bridges denied all allegations.
Mr Tong, who has known Mr Zhang for just over two years, says he had discussed the recent developments with Mr Zhang, "and he is disappointed".
"Jami-Lee Ross needs to come out and actually step up on this," Mr Tong said.
"I'm totally disappointed that the situation has arisen over there."
He said he had the "greatest respect" for Mr Zhang.
Mr Tong told Stuff today that Mr Zhang was "not the alleged donator of the funds".
On Tuesday Mr Ross quit the National Party after accusing Mr Bridges of electoral fraud, an allegation Mr Bridges denies.