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Controversial former National MP Jami-Lee Ross won't contest Botany electorate this year

Jami-Lee Ross will not contest the Botany electorate, saying he will take part in this year's election as a list-only candidate for the Advance NZ Party.

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The controversial former National MP will instead go on the list for the Advance NZ Party. Source: Breakfast

Ross said this morning that, after a decade as the electorate's MP, he had decided to step back from the role to steer Advance NZ's "strategic direction".

Ross resigned from the National Party in 2018 after accusing then-leader Simon Bridges of corruption, and he was one of four men charged over the donation scandal - a case which is ongoing.

He was also publicly accused of sexually harassing several staff, which he denies. In recent days, he courted controversy by hosting an anti-lockdown rally with Advance NZ in Auckland's CBD, where Covid-19 social distancing and mask requirements were ignored. 

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"I could not do justice to our 60 candidates, our 7000 members, and the thousands of volunteers, while also properly running in the three-way contest here on the ground," he said today of his decision to put all his effort into Advance NZ.

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This is despite concerns it’s deliberately misleading. Source: 1 NEWS

"Billy Te Kahika is on track to win the Te Tai Tokerau seat which will see Advance NZ crossing the one seat threshold.

"The growth in membership, fundraising, social media reach, and volunteers on the ground is showing that Advance NZ is tapping in to growing voter dissatisfaction with the current main parties."

Ross said Advance NZ will field a list of more than 60 candidates across the country.

He said it was not a decision he expected to make three years ago, "but I'm focused on the future, not the past".

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The Botany MP and three co-defendants pleaded not guilty to charges relating to donations to the National Party. Source: 1 NEWS

"Botany and East Auckland is my home where I have grown up personally and professionally.

"Over 16 years, both in local government and in Parliament, I am proud of the local wins and achievements on the ground in Botany.

"I have spent that time fighting for new community buildings, protecting local assets, seeing the entirely new Ormiston Town Centre growth, and of course helping constituents one on one."

The other candidates in Botany are:

Naisi Chen - Labour Party

Christopher Luxon - National Party

Damien Smith - ACT Party

Dieuwe de Boer - New Conservative

Peter Fleming - Sustainable New Zealand