18 Oct 2018

Finlayson on Ross: 'I feel very sad that he has self immolated'

8:14 am on 18 October 2018

National MP Chris Finlayson says it's incredibly sad that Jami-Lee Ross has "self-immolated" but the party will recover.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson

Chris Finlayson says he plans to leave Parliament "with class". Photo: RNZ / Mihingarangi Forbes

Former National MP Jami-Lee Ross released the tape of a conversation between him and Mr Bridges where they discuss making room on the party's list for new MPs.

Mr Bridges hit back over the recording saying it defamed him and did not back Mr Ross's "lies".

In the recording, Mr Bridges talks about some of his MPs needing to go, and mentions Chris Finlayson and David Carter as obvious candidates for retirement.

Mr Bridges also described list MP Maureen Pugh as "f***ing useless". Shortly after, he issued a public apology, one he said Ms Pugh had "gracefully" accepted.

Last night Ms Pugh said she was disappointed at the comments but accepted the apology and continued to back Mr Bridges.

Mr Finlayson said Mr Ross's behaviour was was "incredibly sad".

"I feel very sad that he has self immolated.

"At a time like this a little bit of compassion doesn't go amiss."

He said it wasn't a "particularly good look" for National but the party would recover from this "pretty horrible period".

Mr Finlayson said he couldn't care less about Mr Bridges' comments.

"It's true. I've been planning to go since the last election.

"I just a few weeks ago concluded my arrangements to go back to the bar and I intend to leave here with class.

"Class is a commodity that doesn't seem to be in conspicuous supply in politics at the moment."

Mr Carter also said he was not in the slightest bit bothered by comments made about him by Mr Bridges.

Mr Carter said Mr Bridges was clearly set up by Mr Ross in the phone call.

"Looking at renewal that's inevitably needed by all political parties, I take no offence at all about what was said by Simon Bridges."

Mr Carter has confirmed he will not be seeking re-election as a list MP.

"He's made two contacts with me, one before he was leader and one after, on both occasions he actively encouraged me to stay - he said I was very valuable contributor to caucus discussions and particularly in a mentoring role to many or our new MPs.

"I have told him I will stay and complete this term but have no intention of standing beyond the election of 2020."

Speaker of the House David Carter

David Carter said he was incensed by Jami-Lee Ross' actions. Photo: VNP / Daniela Maoate-Cox

Mr Carter said he was incensed by Mr Ross' actions.

"That a former colleague of mine would stoop to such dastardly behaviour of secretly recording colleague like he's done, I think it's appalling behaviour.

"I think there will be a degree of nervousness [in the caucus] about what other conversations he has recorded, but I wasn't at caucus during the week because I'm overseas, but I know now that most caucus members will well and truly know now that they made the right decision in expelling him from the National Party caucus."

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