25 Jan 2019

National steers clear of investigation on text allegedly sent to Jami-Lee Ross

12:18 pm on 25 January 2019

The National Party is not commenting on a police investigation into a text message allegedly sent to Jami-Lee Ross from the phone of one of its MPs.

Jami Lee Ross and Sarah Dowie

Jami-Lee Ross and Sarah Dowie. Photo: RNZ

Mr Ross has previously named his former colleague, MP Sarah Dowie, as someone he was having an extra-marital affair with.

It's understood the text message, which included the words "you deserve to die" came from Ms Dowie's phone in August last year, at 1:19am on a Saturday.

Mr Ross said he was fully co-operating with police.

The National Party said it would not be appropriate to comment given a police investigation was underway.

RNZ understands Ms Dowie has not been contacted by police in relation to a text message allegedly sent from her phone.

Police have confirmed they are investigating the matter.

Under the Harmful Digital Communications Act, it is an offence to incite a person to commit suicide and could see a person put behind bars for up to three years.

Ms Dowie has not yet responded to RNZ's requests for comment.

From Rātana yesterday, Mr Bridges said he wished Mr Ross well in terms of his wellbeing journey.

"We expelled him towards the end of last year, he's no longer one of our MPs, bluntly speaking he's no longer our problem," he said.

"As far as I'm concerned, National under my leadership is moving on and dealing with the things that New Zealand wants to see which is positive plans for our country for the 2020s."

The message was part of a major controversy involving the National Party last year, which concluded in Mr Ross being sent to a Middlemore Hospital mental health facility by police.

Mr Ross said in an interview with Newshub on Tuesday that he did not lay a complaint about the text message with police. He said it came from a call made by a member of the public to the Crimestoppers hotline.

The 61 word message was revealed in late October, following Mr Ross' full-scale kamikaze effort to take down the National leadership team who he says squeezed him out of his job.

They sent him out on "medical leave" which he now claims was a ploy by the party to make him go away.

Mr Ross has since apologised publicly for some of the things he did last year, ahead of his return to Parliament on 12 February.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs