Jami-Lee Ross has released texts between him and National Party general manager Greg Hamilton.

In a series of text messages sent to media, Ross said the texts show "National knew about legality issues with the donation back in September.

"I had also been telling them back then that Simon Bridges was the one offered the donation. Their statement that they knew nothing of it was false. I was falsely called a liar by the National Party," Ross said in his message to media.

National Party MP for Botany Jami-Lee Ross holding his press conference outside the Wellington Central Police Station. Photo / Mark Mitchell
National Party MP for Botany Jami-Lee Ross holding his press conference outside the Wellington Central Police Station. Photo / Mark Mitchell

He also referred to allegations made about his treatment of women in a Newsroom website article today.


"You will be interested I am sure in any comment on the Newsroom article. I make no comment on that. I am considering my legal options.

"I won't be doing a stand-up today. I am no longer in Wellington."

National leader Simon Bridges during his press conference yesterday, over allegations made by Jami-Lee Ross. Photo / Mark Mitchell
National leader Simon Bridges during his press conference yesterday, over allegations made by Jami-Lee Ross. Photo / Mark Mitchell

In the text messages, Ross says: "Hi Greg, Re Judy's email expecting me to track down individual donors (all under $15k) - I am unable to do this. Funds were transferred to the Botany account for the party. Botany transmitted these to the party account. I was advised the names and addresses for the donors. I've passed them on. I don't know them individually though. I've not been asked to track down donors before. This appears new to me. Is this a sticking point?"

Hamilton responds: "We do require by law to have a name and address. In this case many of the addresses provided don't match what is on the electoral role. We are happy to track down / confirm from here. We would need some phone numbers however as we have no way of knowing how to contact. Was there a particular individual who organised them. Perhaps that person could assist to confirm details. G"

Ross: "It was Simon Bridges that arranged the donation, or groups of donations. I will have to figure out how it was organised. I was just tasked with collecting it. If this is a particular problem and you feel the law hasn't been complied with, then our treasurer can probably get Westpac to give us the bank account numbers, so the money can be returned."

Hamilton: "Maybe, but that would be a shame. I'm happy to talk to whoever I need to so we can line the donors up with the electoral roll. Best we do that now as opposed to when audit takes place on the annual return. I guess simplest thing to ask is who provided the names and addresses - we can start there."

Ross replies "I'll find that."

The text messages reveal no apparent wrong-doing on the part of the National Party.


Meanwhile, National Party president Peter Goodfellow said there was no $100,000 donation.

"The Botany Electorate of the National Party received eight donations, and Mr Ross declared eight donations to us," he said in a statement.

He said he would not be commenting further.

Ross made explosive allegations on Monday that a $100,000 donation from businessman Zhang Yikun had been divided up on Bridges' instruction to avoid it being declared.

Bridges has vehemently denied the claim and said any investigation would clear him and his party of any wrong-doing.

Nevertheless, Ross went to police yesterday to lay a complaint of donor fraud.


Ross also posted photos of Bridges and Yikun and another of National MPs with Yikun at fundraiser in May.

"It was at this fundraiser on 21 May that Simon Bridges was offered the $100k donation. He called me later that evening with instructions to collect the funds," Ross said on Monday.

Ross said Bridges asked him to collect the $100,000 donation which was then split into smaller amounts to allegedly "hide it".

Ross later asked Bridges about the donation, and recorded the conversation.

Bridges said yesterday that Ross had been thoroughly discredited. "He is wrong in every regard around electoral laws. He has defamed me and he has lied. Nothing he said stacks up, and that was the worst he could do."

Ross told reporters yesterday the $100,000 donation came to National Party accounts split up.


"I did not touch any money. I do not have access to the bank account it went into. It went into a National Party bank account in the Botany electorate ... I do not as the MP for Botany have access to that bank account.

He was then given the names and addresses of people to attach to the split sums.

The names were of people who "presumably" existed. He then communicated with Hamilton.

He said the donation was split into seven lots of $14,000 and then one of $2000.

He was provided the names and he then passed them to the National Party.

"I did feel uncomfortable about what was happening. That's why I recorded our subsequent conversation" [with Bridges], he said yesterday.


Otago Law Professor and electoral law expert Andrew Geddis said the text messages did not show anything concretely illegal.

"They show that the party organisation is doing what you'd expect it to do under the law, which is ensuring that donations above $1500 (the limit for accepting anonymous donations) are actually coming from real individuals that they can identify.

"If there has been some skullduggery going on here, it will be by whoever provided the donations in the first place to the Botany account; if that money was paid under so-called straw donors' names - where you basically make up a person, or use someone else's identity to disguise a donation - it was done by whoever paid the money into the account, and we've got no idea who that is."

He said if the National Party was unable to verify the donors as real people, they would have been obliged to return the money above the $1500 limit per anonymous donor.

"The question for the National Party is whether they were able to identify the identity of those eight donors.

"This could either be completely innocent, or look like an attempt to run around our election disclosure rules. Based on those text messages, I can't see which it is."


Geddis added: "It's only Jami-Lee Ross' word that Bridges had anything at all to do with this donation. Even if it was shown that someone tried to evade the disclosure rules by paying under fake identities, it's then another step to say that Bridges had anything to do with that happening at all."

A spokesman for National would not say whether the party was able to confirm the identities of the donors: "As it's a police matter, we can't comment on that."

- additional reporting Derek Cheng