The political world is in an uproar today following Simon Bridges’ announcement the person behind the spending leak has been identified, but an insider claims the accused is innocent.
Following the conclusion of their internal investigation, National released a statement this afternoon at a press conference that their prime suspect is fellow MP Jami-Lee Ross.
However Ross has hit back today with a series of tweets, warning his followers prior to the announcement that Bridges was going to “try and pin his leak inquiry on me.”
He has followed the initial tweet with claims that the reason he is being targeted is because he fell out with Bridges earlier in the year after challenging his leadership decisions.
Ross also alleges Bridges had instructed him to use election donations in a way that would be deemed unlawful.
Other MPs have waded into the debate, with Judith “Crusher” Collins calling the tweets “appalling” and saying she would not put up with it if she were in Bridges’ position; while Maggie Barry slammed Ross as a “disloyal disgrace”.
Following the day’s events it isn’t looking good for Ross’ career, but one person backs him. The Stuffed herald has been speaking with an insider who wishes to remain anonymous, and claims Bridges is “definitely framing” him.
In an email using an assumed name, the insider stated that everything Ross said was the truth.
“They did have a falling out, and Bridges wasn’t happy when Ross disagreed with his instructions on how to spend election donations.”
“I and a few others see this whole investigation as a farce. He [Bridges] never wanted the leaker identified at all, he was just trying to look like he was doing something.”
The insider has their own theory on the identity of the true leaker.
“I’ve been doing some investigating of my own, and I’m pretty sure the real culprit is Bridges himself. It makes sense. His party was flagging, everyone was loving Jacinda and Neve.”
“I think he did it for attention, to try and feel relevant again and gain some sympathy with the public.”
If our insider’s theory is accurate, it would seem the scheme didn’t entirely go to plan.
Bridges has received little sympathy and support from the public throughout the scandal, with even the police and other politicians appearing apathetic and disinterested.
He recently resorted to jumping on the fuel price hike issue, heavily criticising the Labour government and Jacinda Ardern’s initial claims that families could afford the inflated costs of petrol.
Perhaps in response to the continued pressure from National, Ardern did an about-face last week and accused fuel companies of ‘fleecing’ New Zealanders.
Our insider doesn’t think Bridges will be caught out in his lie, however.
“If it is him, he’ll have covered his tracks really well. Fake email, cheap cellphone with a cheap sim, definitely no internet trail because he’d do something like use public WiFi or a proxy server.”
“He definitely wouldn’t have sent anything from inside parliament or his other offices and wouldn’t have used any technology or accounts that can be associated or connected with him in any way.”
Meanwhile, Ross maintains that he will continue to speak out in his own defence.
The Stuffed Herald has approached the National Party for comment.