OPINION: At this point in time, Jami-Lee Ross – rogue MP, renegade – is on his own, literally and figuratively.
He is now an independent MP.
And having been ‘sectioned’ to a mental health facility at an Auckland Hospital by police at the weekend, and reportedly released to a friend’s care on Tuesday, he is isolated. He really is a lone wolf now, somewhere in the wilderness (outside of Auckland it seems).
The National Party will be quietly relieved. Ross must be too. It’s a time to lick their wounds.
How long this impromptu ceasefire continues between the former Botany MP and the National Party is unknown.
Ross announced last Friday on radio he wasn’t relinquishing his parliamentary seat after all. That was after saying in his surprise press conference (last Tuesday) he was chucking it in and standing as an independent in the ensuing by-election.
National publicly cut him loose (Tuesday last week after the caucus meeting).
Right now – if things remain unchanged – there will be no by-election. Ross will keep a firm grip on his electorate seat. The next general election isn’t until 2020.
The National Party may have expelled him from the party but that’s it. For now.
Leader Simon Bridges maintained on Radio NZ on Wednesday morning they would make no decisions about utilising the new waka jumping legislation to oust Ross (the same legislation they vehemently opposed and promised to repeal on their return to Government). Not while Ross was recovering.
The party is treading gently.
After a tumultuous week-and-a-bit in politics, it is now deathly silent.
Take a breath. It may not last.