National Leader Simon Bridges was "gutted" to read about allegations of sexual impropriety by Jami-Lee Ross and has praised the women who have come forward with their stories.

This morning, Newsroom reported Ross had relationships with four women, with some claiming they were groomed and used for access to information and power.

Newsroom reporter Melanie Reid, who broke the story, told RNZ the women "got under the spell of" Ross.

"They were in a power control, a manipulation sort of situation," she said.


Speaking to media in Hawke's Bay, Bridges said he was "gutted about this story and everything that it's about".

"I am in admiration of the courage of these women."

This morning, Deputy Leader Paula Bennett told the Herald she had only become aware of the allegations against Ross ahead of a meeting at which he took leave from Parliament at the beginning of this month.

"When matters have been brought to our attention, we have dealt with them immediately. When inappropriate behaviour was raised with us, we took this to him," she said.

Bridges said within a day of learning about the issue, he confronted Ross and has now "made sure he was no longer a part of our caucus".

He refused to go into detail about any conversations he had with Bennett over the issue.
"Unlike Jami-Lee Ross, I respect the women who have been brave here, so I'm not going into details."

After Bridges learned of the alleged inappropriate conduct, he said he raised it with Ross.
"I have no doubt in my mind that I dealt with things the right way."

Bridges said if he had any indication that Ross had been engaging in that sort of behaviour any earlier, he would have kicked him out of the party sooner.


He said if any other issues like this come to light within the National Party, he would deal with them "firmly and quickly, the way I have with Jami-Lee Ross".

He wouldn't say if he thought Ross was a "narcissist," instead he said he would "leave that for New Zealanders to judge on all the evidence there".

Meanwhile, Bridges again said he had the full support of his party – "I have 55 MPs unified behind me."

"They believe in me and they believe in National… I am someone of integrity and I have the full support of my caucus."