Saturday 27 October 2018

Cameron Slater responds to a hit-piece from the NZ Herald

As much as I dislike Cameron Slater because of Dirty Politics and despite the fact that this may be about a coup to put "Crusher" Collins into the top position I have to say that he has written a good article - with evidence.

That contrasts with David Fisher who provides not a jot of evidence and relies on his authority as ""trained journalist" to TELL us what we should think - alongside all the epithet - adjectives.

David Fisher, New Zealand Herald

Blogger Cameron Slater has pledged retribution against National over Ross, although has already a string of grievances against the party. Photo / Michael Craig
Another hit job from David Fisher which I must correct and tell the truth that the National party fails to
by Cameron Slater

27 October, 2018

Yesterday saw another personalised hit job against me from David Fisher after his quick trip to Wellington to get briefed. It seems his anonymous and gutless sources are trying to spin just how wonderful the National party has been towards the man they drove to attempt suicide as a result of their actions.

Of course they led with a shabby headline that tries to make out that the woman behind all of this is some sort of hero. Fisher claims that I got some things wrong, but presents not a skerrick of evidence to support his contentions: Quote:

The path to mental health care for unwell MP Jami-Lee Ross appears to have started with a text message to the fellow MP with whom he had an affair.

Through a range of sources, the Herald has been able to untangle the apparent chain of events leading to Ross entering Middlemore Hospital on Saturday evening.

It has revealed a National Party which moved quickly to do what it could for its former MP after he sent a text message to his former lover which appeared to reveal a man in distress.

The events are contrary to those being pushed by Dirty Politics blogger and National Party pariah Cameron Slater, who has emerged as a support person for Ross. End quote.

Except they aren’t contrary, and they miss quite a bit out. I will now explain the true timeline since David Fisher has missed out some salient information, which is understandable as he seems to specialise in lop-sided stories that rarely match the provable facts. Quote:

It began with a text message that evening to the MP with whom he had been having an extra-marital affair.

The message apparently contained content which gave the woman cause for concern over Ross’ wellbeing – so much so she was driven to alert others in the party to its contents.

The concern was relayed to a senior member of Bridges’ office. The staff member held contact details for the mental health professional who had previously been in contact with the party on Ross’ instructions.

The urgency of the situation drove events quickly, with Bridges’ senior staff member contacting the mental health professional to pass on concerns over Ross and his state of mind.

It appears the mental health professional then sought police assistance to track down Ross, who was later taken to Middlemore Hospital. The Herald has been previously told he was committed for assessment and treatment.

On arriving at Middlemore’s Tiaho Mai mental health centre, Ross was given a physical health assessment followed by a psychiatric assessment.

The Herald has been told the assessment would have been followed by further psychiatric reviews, which apparently found him able to be released and treated in the community.

Instantly recognisable by staff, of particular concern to Tiaho Mai staff was to keep confidential Ross’ personal and medical details.

A spokeswoman from the office of National Party leader Simon Bridges said: “There was no proactive contact with Jami-Lee Ross on Saturday night. When concerns were raised they were dealt with appropriately.

The National Party is confident that we have followed advice and made the right decisions on matters concerning Jami-Lee Ross.” End quote.

That is Fisher’s timeline and position and, coincidentally, it matches the National party’s. It isn’t strictly true and misses out salient points. I have said that so long as the National party keeps on lying, I will keep on telling the truth.

I will now show my readers the truth and back it up with phone records and screenshots.

This did not all start with a text from Jami-Lee Ross to the so far unnamed MP. It started well before that. The affair was over and had ended sometime around May. The female MP had moved out after being told that there was no future as she had planned. What occurred then, over months, was a systematic campaign of sneaky sharing of messages amongst other MPs and also an attempt to get Ross back.

On August 11 the following text message was sent to Jami-Lee Ross. It is the same message that Radio NZ reported on:

People have asked me about context. There is none. Prior messages were two weeks older and the messages after this one were sent some weeks later. This was sent, out of the blue, at 1:19 am by this woman. As I have said, it was sent in August. What is significant about this is that Jami-Lee Ross, after the worst week ever, saw this again as he sat in his car mid-evening on Saturday night. He scrolled through his text messages assessing what had happened for him to end up where he was, homeless, career over, accused by the same woman who sent this hideous message and also by two other women who worked in Simon Bridges’ office. He felt destroyed. He’d driven to Wellington and back, slept in his car, lost his entire life, and then he saw this again. He took a screenshot of it and sent a message (including the screenshot) to that female MP.
Jami-Lee Ross turned off his cell phone and drove to the Waikato. I will pause there and return later to what led to this dangerous decision by Ross to try and end his life.

We need to explore the timeline, what happened and when, who was involved and what proof there is to back up what went on leading up to that fateful night.

Wednesday 26th of September – Jami-Lee Ross was called to Bennett’s office, then was taken to Bridges’ office and told he had to stand down until the end of the year due to four harassment claims. This first meeting also included Jamie Gray. So it was a 3 vs 1 situation. The meeting also included claims of disloyalty. This is three weeks BEFORE the Newsroom story came out.  It was claimed that the four harassment claims had been made independently to Paula Bennett that day and they were not connected. Jami-Lee Ross asks about the nature of these allegations and is given no details at all. He asks Bridges and Bennett about natural justice but they weren’t interested. Except we know that one was the woman MP above, and the others two staffers from Simon Bridges’ own office. Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett both claim they knew nothing about those claims before the Newsroom story, yet here they are, three weeks before, using it to get him to take leave.
Thursday 27th September 01.45  – Jami-Lee Ross calls Simon Lusk to seek advice, distraught over the allegations,  saying that he couldn’t fight harassment claims even if they aren’t true, and explaining what has been going on for the past few months.
Thursday 27th September – Jami-Lee Ross and Simon Lusk discuss the next meeting, Jami-Lee Ross insists it be with Simon Bridges alone. Simon Bridges refuses. Jami-Lee Ross refuses to meet. Simon Bridges then agrees to meet alone with Jami-Lee Ross after a flurry of text messages.

Jami-Lee Ross turns up for the meeting and Paula Bennett and Jamie Gray are in the room. Jami-Lee Ross walks out, but is called back for a meeting after the other two leave. Jami-Lee Ross suggests to Simon Bridges that last night’s discussion is forgotten and they can move on. Bridges refuses and, when questioned about natural justice, says he can get 15 women – not just four – to make the allegations. The audio of this was released previously and, again, it shows that three weeks before the Newsroom story both Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett were using these women to force Jami-Lee Ross to go on leave. This is contrary to their subsequent claims that they knew nothing about the cases.

Jami-Lee Ross declines an offer for Simon Lusk to come to Wellington, or for Jami-Lee Ross to come to Hawkes Bay, returning to Auckland that evening. Jami-Lee Ross sees a psychiatrist, Thursday evening.

Friday 28th September – Jami-Lee Ross sees the psychiatrist again in the morning. He sends a message to Simon Bridges with a psychiatrist’s report saying not to put him under any more pressure and fearing for his safety. Bridges and Bennett talk to the psychiatrist. The psychiatrist calls Paula Bennett on Friday to tell them to lay off. The texts with Simon take place on the following Tuesday which is the same day that the medical leave is announced. Despite this, the next week Bridges and Bennett announce that Jami-Lee Ross is on leave for ’embarrassing’ reasons.

Jami-Lee Ross is then put on leave and an announcement made to the public about this.

There is nothing more about this other than Simon Bridges apologising for being insensitive about the situation with his comments.

Monday 15th October – A meeting is held in Auckland between Simon Bridges, Paula Bennett, Jami-Lee Ross and a support person. Jami-lee Ross explains that he is feeling better and would like to return to parliament, but on light duties as there are still issues regarding undue pressure. He offers to move to the back-bench if everything else can be forgotten as he believes there are no actual harassment issues. The offer is rejected and Ross is presented with the completed PWC report into the leak of Bridges travel details. Ross rejects the findings and, to this day, claims he did not leak the details. The person in National who headed the inquiry was Paula Bennett. Ross is advised that shortly after that meeting concludes they are going to announce him as the leaker and then hold a caucus meeting the next day to expel him from caucus. This is against medical advice and will further increase the pressure the former allegations had placed him under. He is advised that he may speak to caucus to explain himself but that there is really no point because he’s toast. There is no possibility for a deal. Jamie-Lee Ross tells Bridges that he has lots of audios, including compromising donation discussions. He is not believed.

Paula Bennett and Simon Bridges announce that the report is in; they release it and say that the leaker is Jami-Lee Ross.

We all know what happened over the next week. Jami-Lee Ross drove to Wellington overnight and announced a press conference timed to coincide with National’s caucus meeting. He has decided that he has nothing to lose now and drops his allegations over donations. He releases audios and lays a complaint with the Police over the laundering of donations.

Thursday 18th October – Melanie Reid from Newsroom runs her salacious story involving four women – as foreshadowed by Bridges and Bennett. On the same day, Bridges and Bennett express shock saying that they knew nothing about these allegations, yet three weeks prior they were threatening Jami-Lee Ross with them. Questions need to be asked about how, all of a sudden, Melanie Reid has them just days after Ross drops his donations bombs.

Saturday 20th October – Jami-Lee Ross is back in Auckland, but he is homeless. He has slept in his car and hasn’t slept much over the past week. He phones me at approximately 8:30 pm and he is distraught. We had a good and lucid discussion. However, as he sat there in his car he began scrolling through his past messages and he came across the nasty text from the female MP. It set him off. At 8:51 pm he texts her and then turns his cell phone off. She frantically tries to respond via text and makes 4 phone calls to him. He turns his phone on and off over the next three hours. At one stage, a journalist communicates with him. as her company had someone stationed near his house and had observed a Police i-car turn up. [WO: The journalist concerned has contacted me to clarify this situation. I am satisfied that there was no company watcher in place] She was concerned. This short text conversation occurred at 10:25 pm as Jami-Lee Ross was driving to the Waikato.

While all this was going on Jami-Lee had missed calls from his wife, St John, his doctor and the female MP. He did take a short call from his doctor, but in the end, he hung up on him. His doctor had been alerted to the situation because of a text message from Jamie Grey, Simon Bridges’ chief of Staff. This is confirmed by a text message from the doctor to Jami-Lee Ross at 9:28 pm. It stated: Quote:

Hi Jami-Lee. Are you coping? I just had a txt from Jamie Gray who heard from [REDACTED] who is worried about you. End quote.

So, Simon Bridges’ office knew what was going on and they had contacted Jami-Lee’s psychiatrist. This shows that the leader’s office also knew the medical details of Jami-Lee Ross.

The call records show that the people who tried to contact Jami-Lee Ross as he sped towards the Waikato were, in the order they called, the female MP (five times), his doctor, his wife, the female MP (4 times), St John, the female MP (4 more times), an unknown person, and the female MP (another 9 times). Those are the calls, most of them missed since the phone was off.

Jami-Lee Ross was picked up near Hamilton by Police at 12:38am and taken to Waikato hospital for assessment. David Fisher missed this part out. Ross was then taken to Middlemore, assessed again and committed to the care of the Mental Health unit at 04:00. Jami-Lee was permitted to send a text message to one person and that person was my friend and the person who attended the meeting on Monday 15 October. That message asked him to advise his wife where he was. She probably already knew because of the involvement of the police.

So, David Fisher has tried to paint this picture that the National party were caring about the mental well-being of Jami-Lee Ross. He claimed that it was the doctor who called the police. That is extremely unlikely as the call records show. The information and text messages show that Simon Bridges’ office was well aware of what was going on.

It is stretching credulity to believe the claims of Simon Bridges that he knew nothing about what was going on. His chief of staff and one of his MPs were involved in the drama that unfolded as a consequence of their actions.

Most certainly now we can assume the story painted by Melanie Reid left out very salient facts as did David Fisher’s. The woman who went anonymously to the media to smear Jami-Lee Ross is no angel. So far she has remained protected because both the media and National helped to paint her as the victim. It is obvious from the phone records, the text messages and other details that this is a classic case of a woman scorned. The stories have been over-egged by Reid and by Newsroom, salient facts are missing from David Fisher’s story and the true picture that emerges is one of a man pursued into an attempt at suicide by a callous and unrelenting hit job on him by the leadership of the National party and by the female MP. For some reason, that female MP remains protected. Her claims to Newsroom are massively exaggerated. She cannot and should not remain anonymous after her actions involving herself in the Newsroom hit job. Nor because of her actions leading up to last Saturday night. Running and hiding is not what a responsible person elected to our parliament should be doing. She is an MP and there is public interest in revealing her culpability and actions.

Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett have misled media constantly, denied knowledge of things that are now proved to have occurred prior to their claimed knowledge and continued to obfuscate. Unlike other media, I have used facts, data, call logs and text messages to prove my claims. They have nothing but unnamed “sources”. Sources that are inconveniently close to Simon Bridges or Paula Bennett.

The leadership of the National party needs to start telling the truth. Every time they lie, I can back it up with evidence. Perhaps they might like to stop, take stock and start to realise what precisely it is that they have done…and then start atoning for their actions.

Before anyone thinks that I am sticking up for Jami-Lee Ross, I reiterate that I think that some of his actions and deeds as portrayed in media are reprehensible. He has to own those actions. He is working through that. However, what Jami-Lee Ross did and is accused of doing is no different from what many other MPs across the house have done. If the Paula Bennett test were applied to other National MPs there would likely be only about 10 MPs left. She’d be gone for sure, so would Bridges and many others. Very few are squeaky clean with their domestic arrangements. That’s why Labour MPs are very, very quiet; they have their own dirt they want kept quiet.

I, however, am not part of the beltway. I live in Auckland. I’m not compromised like some of the media and politicians, but I do know who is compromised. When one journalist had the cheek to call me about Jami-Lee’s affairs, I had to point out to him what I knew about his. He quickly changed the subject.

What I want now is for other people to own their actions. The facts and timelines are contrary to claims by the leadership; they need to come clean. The facts don’t match the claims of National’s leadership. The members and voters who voted for National deserve better than that.

This is not a retribution against National post, this is a holding idiot politicians to account without fear or favour post. If National’s leadership weren’t so dreadful then I’d have plenty more to say about the government, but they are running away from responsibility and if they won’t take it then it is up to journalists like me to hold their feet to the fire until they either quit or get better.

I have had a few people cancel their subs because they think I should go easy on Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett. I think I need to go as hard on them as they have gone on Jami-Lee Ross. Going easy on politicians is what breeds a culture of corruption. Going hard is what holds them to account for their shitty actions.

When the National party tells lies, I will tell the truth.

An earlier article from yesterday

Herald breaks news that Simon Bridges called me, after I already wrote about it in the morning
For some reason, it appears to be bad to care about the life of someone that the National party leadership pushed so hard that he reached the point of making an attempt on his life.

25 October, 2018

For some reason, it appears to be bad to care about the life of someone that the National party leadership pushed so hard that he reached the point of making an attempt on his life.

David Fisher thinks that it is news that Simon Bridges rang me.

What is more news is that Simon Bridges rang me on Sunday and didn’t give two hoots about the welfare of his former front bench man. He rang to explain himself and his actions and to tell me he sleeps well at night.

He even went so far as to tell me repeatedly that he is a man of integrity. He didn’t really like it when I pointed out that men of integrity rarely need to tell people that.

Nonetheless, what the phone call revealed to me is that Simon Bridges is scared and that he is lying and covering up.   

When I pointed out the logic and the facts behind their shabby put up hit job using Melanie Reid and Newsroom and I asked him about the involvement of his executive assistant and his events manager, he had the audacity to say he knew nothing about their stories until they were published.

When confronted with the fact that two weeks prior to them being published he had used those same stories to try to push Jami-Lee Ross out of parliament but instead put him on sick leave, he still denied he knew about them.

He seriously expects media and people to believe that two of his closest staff members were talking to Melanie Reid for a year about a front bench MP and they said absolutely nothing to him.

He also lied yesterday when he said he knew nothing about the serious incident on Saturday night that lead to the hospitalisation of Jami-Lee Ross. This, of course, belies the involvement of his chief of staff, Jamie Gray, who directly contacted Jami-Lee Ross’ psychiatrist shortly after 9:15 pm on Saturday night. That was after he’d been informed about a serious risk to Jami-Lee’s health by the very same female MP who wanted Jami-Lee Ross dead in an awful text message. So, a National MP called the police, Simon Bridges chief of staff was involved after 9:15 pm and two of his direct report staff members were involved in the hit job, along with the female MP…and Simon Bridges knows nothing?

National’s shabby hit job doesn’t match their spin. Everything they have claimed can be disproved with texts, emails and call records. They must be held to account.

People mistake my personal support for the health of Jami-Lee Ross as some sort of endorsement of his sneaky ways. It is not. They also have bought the hit job, that somehow Jami-Lee Ross was on some sort of jihad, which was why it was done.

What people don’t know is the full timeline, only that which has been manufactured by National’s leadership team.

What people need to know is that this is all spawned from a rejection of the female MP in May of this year and the ensuing, frankly obsessive behaviour of that female MP to get what she wanted or to destroy the man who rejected her. The months of innuendo, the shared texts, the hateful drunk texting was all coming from one person, and it wasn’t Jami-Lee Ross. Sadly, the National party decided on the smear and they lined up in short order four women to say the most dreadful things, designed to paint him as some sort of nasty misogynist. It worked because commenters here have lined up behind that lop-sided story. They have bought the line that defamers are pushing on Twitter that there was some sort of plot to bring down Bridges, that people were pulling Jami-Lee Ross’ strings.

That is a pure fabrication. While Jami-Lee was suffering this and the isolation of National slowly shunning him; it was a burden he dealt with alone, until confronted with the ultimatum immediately before he was put on stress leave. Then he turned to his friends. Not for some sort of strategy, he had no options by that stage. National had already resolved to throw him under the bus. They ignored mental health warnings from a medical specialist and from his wife. They ignored advice from friends on Monday the 15th, and they did him over, they wanted him destroyed. They nearly got their wish.

I have been piecing together the evidence. There is evidence. The stories of National, Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett don’t add up. They know they don’t add up, and so they roll out David Fisher to break the news I had already posted in the morning that Simon Bridges rang me.

This is designed yet again to make people believe that I am running some campaign against Simon Bridges. I was not and very senior National party people know this. They know all I was doing was trying to save someone’s life but, by aiding and abetting this shabby smear by David Fisher, they’ve chosen a side.

If the National party keeps on lying about their involvement in this and Simon Bridges and Paula Bennett keep on lying then I’m afraid that, like it or not dear readers, I am going to have to tell the truth about them.

I don’t know when people are going to realise that supporting a mate in distress is not supporting his actions. I have told Jami-Lee Ross that he needs to own his own shit. He needs to accept that he did some disgraceful things. What I cannot accept is that the National party is blameless and that I should, for the good of a party I am not even a member of, somehow go easy on the terrible people that infest the top end of that party. They are professing that they acted with integrity and honour and caring. The funny thing is the people who have called me to ask to pass on messages of hope and support for Jami-Lee Ross are all from the other side of the political spectrum. People I would never agree with politically. To National’s eternal shame not a single one of them has expressed any such sentiment to me; in fact quite the opposite. Shame on them.

I don’t need to explain myself for helping a friend in need. I would help any friend who needed my help and there are many people in politics who have asked for and received my support in times of stress. Some of those are on the opposite side of politics.

This is deadly serious and sometimes politics should be trumped by humanity.

People need to be held to account. I hope National is serious about their culture inquiry. I look forward to attending it and telling the truth about their MPs. Let’s see how they handle the truth about their MPs and staff and the appalling behaviour they condone, enable and celebrate.

Simon Bridges went to great lengths to tell me in that phone call how well he sleeps at night. He shouldn’t sleep that well. I also told him that I didn’t think he was a bad man, just an ill-equipped idiot who was being set up himself. I told him a few things that I believe genuinely surprised him. It looks like he has chosen to ignore that advice, he has chosen to go down the cover-up route. It is never the deeds that get you in trouble, it is always the cover-up that gets you.

The first thing he should do after reading this is have a come to Jesus meeting with his chief of staff. The facts exist and records identify his involvement on Saturday night, and also his female MP who triggered this whole episode off. Both of them need to be held to account even if their leader refuses to. You can’t anonymously mis-state reality in a news article and not own some responsibility for the carnage that unfolds after that. You just can’t. He should have a come to Jesus meeting with Paula Bennett and ask her when she contacted Katrina Bungard to come forward for the story. Paula shouldn’t lie because I know Katrina won’t. Katrina knows I stood up for her against Jami-Lee Ross. She knows what I did on her behalf. If Simon Bridges is to survive as the leader he needs to start acting like one instead of the idiot two-bit player that he looks -being manipulated by his very own deputy.

So long as National and its leadership keep on lying, I will keep on telling the truth. There is no agenda, there is no play, there is no grand scheme. It is just the truth plain and simple.

Stay tuned for 11:00, and see how it works out for people who accuse me of lying and making things up.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.