National MP takes leave from Parliament, caucus for health reasons

News 02/10/2018
Photo: Newshub.

National MP Jami-Lee Ross is stepping down from the National Party front bench to deal with some personal health issues.

National Party leader Simon Bridges said the decision is not related to the investigation into the leak of Mr Bridges' expenses.

“He has asked for some time away from Parliament to deal with some personal health issues and I have granted him that,” Mr Bridges said in a statement.

Mr Ross said in a statement he looks forward to returning to Parliament and re-joining Caucus in the future.

Mr Ross’ transport portfolio will be picked up by Paul Goldsmith and infrastructure will be picked up by Judith Collins. Paul Goldsmith's revenue portfolio will be handed to Andrew Bayly.

Mr Ross is an electorate MP for Botany in Auckland. A by-election will not be triggered unless he steps down from Parliament entirely.

Simon Bridges speaks to the press on the matter

Mr Bridges said the National Party Caucus will be providing all the support it can.

Speaking from a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Mr Bridges said Mr Ross will take a "few months" to focus on his wellbeing.

"My focus and Jami Lee's is to make sure he's getting the help he needs, he's focusing on his wellbeing and his young family at this time," Mr Bridges said.

Mr Bridges said the health issues could be "potentially embarrassing".

"Maybe that’s not the right word. We all have our own views on these things… actually it's not really for me to characterise it," Mr Bridges said.

Mr Bridges said Mr Ross is "clear he's not the leaker", insisting the investigation is "entirely separate".