Political analyst Bryce Edwards says National MP Jami-Lee Ross' criticism of Simon Bridges has been the most extraordinary attack by an MP on their own party's leader he's seen in New Zealand politics.
Unleashing a barrage of serious allegations at a media stand-up today, Mr Ross said Mr Bridges ordered him to cover up a $100,000 donation from a Chinese businessman by splitting it up so it didn't have to be declared.
Mr Ross even released photos to show the party leader and businessman together.
Calling Mr Bridges a corrupt politician, the MP also claimed he's got a recorded conversation as evidence and is taking it to police tomorrow.
What has happened may well be unprecedented.
"It's been the most extraordinary attack on your own party's leader that I've seen in New Zealand politics," Dr Edwards told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp.
"This is real House of Cards stuff where you have lots of conniving and ambitious MPs that are backstabbing each other to get to the top. I think there's a mixture of knives being placed in the back and the front," he said.
The Botany MP has quit Parliament and accuses Simon Bridges of electoral fraud.
Source: 1 NEWS
Before Mr Bridges announced the caucus had voted to expel Mr Ross, the MP announced he's resigning from Parliament, forcing a by-election in his Botany seat, which he'll contest as an independent.
Mr Ross' string of bombshells came a day after Mr Bridges, following an investigation, named Mr Ross as the leaker of his travel expenses.
"Jami-Lee Ross was operating in a deceptive way when he leaked this information, when he took on Simon Bridges," Dr Edwards said.
"It was later when he had nowhere else to turn, that he started to be more open about his descent against the National Party leader."
But Dr Edwards said at the centre of all this, there's nothing.
"It's devoid of principles. There's no great ideological struggles. It really is the modern emptiness of politics."
Jami-Lee Ross is now out of National but, as former National party whip, still very much in the know.
Asked does Mr Ross have the power to bring down Simon Bridges, Dr Edwards said: "He's got a lot of dirt that he might be able to dish."
He said: "Jami-Lee Ross knows where all the bodies are buried. He knows what all the MPs have done wrong in the past. He knows lots of embarrassing details, not only about Simon Bridges but about other National Party insiders, other politicians."
1 NEWS’ Katie Bradford takes a look at Mr Ross’ chances of keeping his seat.
Source: 1 NEWS
Dr Edwards said National will need to try and find a way to make Jami-Lee Ross "disappear".
"And by that I mean give him some sort of pay off or reward.
"This is why it's a crisis, because they might be able to get rid of Jami-Lee Ross, but he can throw a lot of dirt from outside the party," the political analyst said.