Elections 2020:Ross looks to set up new political party

Rogue independent Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross is looking at starting a new political party.

Tentatively given the working name Advance NZ, Ross has floated the idea to his email database.

“Will you join with me to help start a new political movement to put forward new ideas in this election?

Do you have great ideas that should be put forward for New Zealanders to vote on?” Ross asks.

Ross, who had a spectacular and very public fallout with National leader Simon Bridges in 2018, says it’s time for new voices in Parliament.

This year’s general election is set for September 19.

“It’s time for new and independent voices to emerge. The most serious issue to emerge off the back of this pandemic is how our country deals with China. No one seems willing to address this,” he says.

“Like it or not, we are in this mess because the Chinese Communist Party dealt with Coronavirus like a political problem. They have thrown western journalists out of the country, ramped up their propaganda machine and hidden their real problems away so the world never sees.

“Unfortunately for New Zealand, we have become so dependent on Chinese Communist Party-linked money that no political leader will ever stand up to China. The main parties are heavily funded by foreign influences, or they have signed agreements that they won’t depart from.

The once-courageous political leaders of the past have disappeared. The current ones are quiet, hiding behind fear of a backlash from China. In the last year, I have been the only MP to properly vote for a ban on foreign donations. I’ve seen up close the damage it does.”

Ross’s fallout with the National Party leader was over alleged party donation fraud which was denied by Bridges. Ironically, Ross faces Serious Fraud Office charges with three others relating to the National Party donations case. Ross, who said he is being made a scapegoat, and the others have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

“Very soon the country will also start thinking about the election in September,” Ross said.

When MMP was first established, nearly a quarter-century ago, the vision was for a Parliament with many voices, representing different segments of society. The Labour vs National politics that existed for decades wasn’t working.

“MMP served its purpose for a while, but now we have a problem – we are close to the old first past the post system, with two big parties swallowing up everyone around them. That’s not good for our democracy.