Jami-Lee Ross

The Police have referred their investigation into $100,000 in donations to the National Party to the Serious Fraud Office. It's hard to know just what that means, except that it's the quintissential political "bad look".

On its face, today's news that the Police have referred Jami-Lee Ross' now-five-month old allegations about Simon Bridges, the National Party and $100,000 in donations to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) looks like a very big deal.

As a practical people we have been well served by a focus on policy and outcomes. But the Jami-Lee Ross controversies raise the question, 'how much does character and integrity matter?'

I'm a big believer in the maxim, 'play the ball, not the person'. Indeed, it’s the golden rule of behaviour on Pundit and has helped keep this site a pretty respectful place for over a decade.

The leaders of the main two parties both seem determined to miss a moment when voters would love to see them grapple with the unhealthy culture pervading our political life. It's time to move beyond the same old excuses

One of my first memories of government  –  mingled in my childhood mind as around the time of carless days and the omnipotence of Robert Muldoon – is The Knobz class ‘Culture’. Y’know, the song that goes, “Don’t give me culture, I’m not hearing it Rob. I could run around like a Beehive Boy, but I’d like to see you do my job”.

Should Simon Bridges use the party hopping law to force Jami-Lee Ross from Parliament? You can make up your own mind up on that, but he can if National's caucus wants him to [update: unless Ross' seat becomes vacant because of his mental health].

[Update: According to media reports, Jami-Lee Ross has been taken into mental health care (i.e. has not voluntarily committed himself for treatment).

Jami-Lee Ross appears to be a quite exceptional candidate for the National Party. He does things in relation to money given to him that none of his colleagues do - albeit only in relation to one particular donation.

Further to my previous post about Jami-Lee Ross' curious candidate return, I've been doing a little bit more digging through the Electoral Commission's files.