COMMENT:

It is patently absurd that police would launch an investigation into MP Sarah Dowie's flavourful text on the basis of an anonymous complaint when the recipient has not filed one himself.

It would be a far better use of police time to get to the bottom of their investigation into MP Jami-Lee Ross' allegation of donations laundering by the National Party rather than be cynically used to bring Ross' former lover down.

In the Richter scale of crimes passionel, the one angry text sent by Dowie to Ross — at 1.19am last August — hardly rates.

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The Dowie text — published in the Herald yesterday — does not tell Jami-Lee Ross to "kill himself" as alleged by the former National MP on his Facebook page this week.

Dowie's words were "you deserve to die".

Yes, the text was brutally graphic in its description of Ross. And yes, Dowie was foolish to communicate in such a fashion.

But "breakups" and "domestics" have a life of their own.

The National MP will not be the only person in political life to have let the emotion get the better of common sense at the end of an affair.

And frankly, reporters — and police for that matter — must be singularly lacking in life experience if they read the Dowie text as other than a Vesuvius-like eruption of venom by a woman intent on purging herself of her ex-lover while she was alone in the dead of the night with her own marriage in tatters.

It is valid to ask if anonymous allegations by four women made about him two months later did contribute to Ross' breakdown.

The brute reality is the confirmation of the police investigation into Dowie conveniently comes in the very week in which Ross released a self-serving, five-page justification of the actions which saw him biffed out of the National Party last year.

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There are more pertinent issues at play.

Despite the public front National has adopted on the donations issue, it has still not satisfactorily dealt with Ross' claim that he was effectively asked to wash a $100,000 donation from Yikun Zhang by ensuring it was split into smaller amounts.

National Party apparatchiks denied there was a $100,000 donation. National Leader Simon Bridges said at the time a "large sum of money" came into the party from multiple sources through donations from Zhang and supporters through Ross' electorate account in Botany in the first instance.

The issue here is one of "substance over form".

Nor has Bridges dealt satisfactorily with the clear implication from the tapes that Ross leaked, of a prior conversation that suggested he favoured effectively trading positions for different ethnicities on National's list, in return for donations.

These issues — which strike at the heart of democracy and business ethics — have been obscured in the general furore over Ross' meltdown.

It is obvious that there is sufficient underlying truth to Ross' claims on this score to have provoked senior National MPs to call for change.

Former Attorney-General and National MP Chris Finlayson was sufficiently exercised to use his valedictory speech in Parliament last year to say he was concerned over funding of political parties by non-nationals.

Finlayson called for both major parties to work together on party funding rules, saying it was his personal view that it should be illegal for non-nationals to donate to political parties.

"Our political system belongs to New Zealanders and I don't like the idea of foreigners funding it ... we need to work together to ensure our democracy remains our democracy."

The issue has also festered with the long-serving veteran National MP Nick Smith who revealed to the Herald this week he also wants reforms to ensure the integrity of the NZ electoral system.

If Ross is of a decent mind he would chalk up a minor victory on this score as having focused National MPs' attention on behind-the-scenes dealing in their party.

National is not going to wash its dirty linen in public but the allegations their former party
whip raised are of sufficient merit for police to finalise that particular probe.

As for Ross, it was his own disloyal behaviour to the leadership of his former party which brought him down.

Any personal allegations can surely be dealt with through National's own internal probe into allegations of a bullying culture within their party.

That's where Dowie should face questions. Not through a police probe. Anything else suggests an underlying vendetta to destabilise the party and Bridges' leadership.

Something the media does not want to be part of.