An overview: Jami-Lee Ross, Simon Bridges and the National Party

It has been a tumultuous day in New Zealand politics, as Jami-Lee Ross came out swinging against his National Party leader Simon Bridges. 

Today the Botany MP resigned, ahead of what is set to be a captivating by-election where he says he'll stand as an independent. 

Below is an overview of the developments leading up to and including today's explosive day in politics. 

The Botany MP has quit Parliament and accuses Simon Bridges of electoral fraud. Source: 1 NEWS

August

The expenses leak: Simon Bridges' MP expenses were released earlier than scheduled, with $113,973 spent on travel and accommodation between April and June.

Mr Bridges said if the leaker is not a National MP or staffer, they may not be found. Source: 1 NEWS

An inquiry was launched by Mr Bridges. An anonymous text message was sent to Mr Bridges and the Speaker asking for it to be called off, saying the sender had mental health issues. 

October

The leave: Jami-Lee Ross announced he would be taking medical leave. Simon Bridges said it was not connected to the expenses leak.

Yesterday

The report: The report into the inquiry was released this week which suggested Jami-Lee Ross was the expenses leaker and sender of the text message.

The PWC report said it had not identified the leaker with certainty, however, "the evidence we have points to Mr Ross". 

Simon Bridges scheduled a press conference to announce the details of the report and would name Mr Ross as the person the report said was likely behind the leak.

The tweets: However, just minutes earlier, Mr Ross posted a number of tweets in which he said he had fallen out with Mr Bridges some months ago.

A PWC report pointed the finger at MP Jami-Lee Ross as the person who leaked Simon Bridges’ expenses. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Ross said in his tweets that he had become "expendable" and that Mr Bridges was about to "pin his leak inquiry on me".

He claimed Mr Bridges was attempting to use contact with Mr Ross' local police area commander and a journalist he is friends with as evidence that he is "somehow involved".

Mr Ross then made an accusation saying he had recorded the National Party leader "discussing with me unlawful activity that he was involved in".

The stand-up: Mr Bridges denied all of Mr Ross' accusations, saying the tweets were "false comments".

The Opposition leader launched an inquiry into the leak of his expenses earlier this year. Source: 1 NEWS

"He would say those things, given the situation… I've released the report… and it speaks for itself."

Today

National MPs: This morning, National MPs arrived at Parliament, ready to vote on Mr Ross' future in the National Party caucus. 

Judith Collins says National Party leader Simon Bridges has her support at this morning’s caucus meeting. Source: 1 NEWS

"Extraordinary", "raw", "deeply disappointed" were used to describe the situation around Jami-Lee Ross by his then colleagues. 

What Jami-Lee Ross said: While the National MPs were meeting to determine his fate, Jami-Lee Ross gave an impromptu media conference. 

1 NEWS’s Benedict Collins unpicks a morning of high drama surrounding the National MP. Source: 1 NEWS

- Mr Ross called Mr Bridges a "corrupt politician", and accused him of electoral fraud. 

- He said he would be making an official police complaint. 

- Mr Ross also told media this morning he would resign as a member of Parliament on Friday, sparking a by-election for the Botany seat.

- Mr Ross said he would run as an independent.

What National leader Simon Bridges said: Mr Bridges dismissed the claims as "baseless", and encouraged him to report the matter to the police. 

“It's the strongest possible action the caucus could take,” says Simon Bridges. Source: 1 NEWS

'I have done absolutely nothing wrong," he said.

He said the party would not tolerate Mr Ross' behaviour, and National MPs had voted to expell him from caucus. 

In Parliament today Mr Mallard said Mr Ross will now be regarded as independent MP. Source: 1 NEWS

"The lies, the leaks and other matters as well, are entirely unacceptable," Mr Bridges said. 

The businessman: Mr Ross tweeted photos of Simon Bridges and a Chinese businessman this afternoon who Mr Ross says made a $100,000 donation. 

The National Party: National Party President  Peter Goodfellow released a statement at 4.35pm saying they would "find no proof of the accusations and assertions made by Jami-Lee Ross today in regard to the handling of our political donations". 

"The allegations made by Mr Ross appear inconsistent with the donor information we have to date, including information previously supplied by Mr Ross.

"We understand Mr Ross will be taking his allegations to the Police, and we invite him to do so."


Jami-Lee Ross, Paula Bennett and Simon Bridges.
Jami-Lee Ross, Paula Bennett and Simon Bridges. Source: 1 NEWS