The path to mental health care for unwell MP Jami-Lee Ross appears to have started with a text message to the fellow MP with whom he had an affair.

Through a range of sources, the Herald has been able to untangle the apparent chain of events leading to Ross entering Middlemore Hospital on Saturday evening.

It has revealed a National Party which moved quickly to do what it could for its former MP after he sent a text message to his former lover which appeared to reveal a man in distress.

The events are contrary to those being pushed by Dirty Politics blogger and National Party pariah Cameron Slater, who has emerged as a support person for Ross.

Advertisement

In a series of blog posts, Slater has painted a chain of events he claims shows the party - against which he has many grievances - is responsible for the state of Ross' wellbeing.

READ MORE
National's leader Simon Bridges rings Dirty Politics blogger to talk Jami-Lee Ross
Simon Bridges: Jami-Lee Ross 'no longer my problem'
National unlikely to use waka-jumping law on Jami-Lee Ross
Jami-Lee Ross out of Middlemore Hospital


Slater has pledged retribution for what he claims has been National's poor handling of Ross. He has done so in blog posts which present knowledge apparently gleaned from the rogue MP.

While specific events presented on his blog have been confirmed, the motivation appears at odds with information discovered from political sources and those who know Slater.

Ross appears to have triggered a series of events which led to a Saturday night hunt for the distressed MP.

It began with a text message that evening to the MP with whom he had been having an extra-marital affair.

The message apparently contained content which gave the woman cause for concern over Ross' wellbeing - so much so she was driven to alert others in the party to its contents.

Blogger Cameron Slater has pledged retribution against National over Ross, although has already a string of grievances against the party. Photo / Michael Craig
Blogger Cameron Slater has pledged retribution against National over Ross, although has already a string of grievances against the party. Photo / Michael Craig

The concern was relayed to a senior member of Bridges' office. The staff member held contact details for the mental health professional who had previously been in contact with the party on Ross' instructions.

The urgency of the situation drove events quickly, with Bridges' senior staff member contacting the mental health professional to pass on concerns over Ross and his state of mind.

It appears the mental health professional then sought police assistance to track down Ross, who was later taken to Middlemore Hospital. The Herald has been previously told he was committed for assessment and treatment.

On arriving at Middlemore's Tiaho Mai mental health centre, Ross was given a physical health assessment followed by a psychiatric assessment.

The Herald has been told the assessment would have been followed by further psychiatric reviews, which apparently found him able to be released and treated in the community.

Instantly recognisable by staff, of particular concern to Tiaho Mai staff was to keep confidential Ross' personal and medical details.

A spokeswoman from the office of National Party leader Simon Bridges said: "There was no proactive contact with Jami-Lee Ross on Saturday night. When concerns were raised they were dealt with appropriately.

"The National Party is confident that we have followed advice and made the right decisions on matters concerning Jami-Lee Ross."

Bridges contacted Slater after Ross went into care at Middlemore Hospital to offer assurances the party and its members had done all they could for Ross.

It's a phone call which has had a number of long-time party members shaking their heads.

National Party leader Simon Bridges' call to blogger Cameron Slater has baffled senior members of the party. Photo / Supplied
National Party leader Simon Bridges' call to blogger Cameron Slater has baffled senior members of the party. Photo / Supplied

Slater, who is a family friend of National's ambitious Papakura MP Judith Collins, has waged war against the party after it cut him adrift when the Dirty Politics book was published in 2014.

The book alleged Slater was the dirty tricks brigade for the Office of the Prime Minister, carrying out hit jobs on political opponents.

Bridges is said to have contacted Slater "to make clear that he acted on appropriate medical advice throughout this process".

Slater confirmed Bridges' reason for the call in a blog post, although said he did not believe its intent.

"He even went so far as to tell me repeatedly that he is a man of integrity," Slater wrote today.

The National Party's concern has extended beyond Ross to others reeling from the impact of the tumultuous week of Ross' exit and its psychiatric sequel.

While Ross is now bound to ongoing mental health support and treatment, there are concerns over the impact of the saga on the sitting MP with whom he was in a relationship.

There are also concerns for his wife, Lucy, after his dramatic unbundling, admissions of affairs and mental health crisis.

Slater today used the focus of the Ross affair to promote posts on his website following the public release of a judgment into the Colin Craig defamation case in which the blogger was both plaintiff and defendant.

The judgment found Slater had defamed Craig but there were no damages to pay. It was one of a number of defamation actions against the blogger slowly moving through the courts.

Jami-Lee Ross, left, was a high-flying politician before his bust-up with National. He is pictured with party president Peter Goodfellow after selection in 2011. Photo / Supplied
Jami-Lee Ross, left, was a high-flying politician before his bust-up with National. He is pictured with party president Peter Goodfellow after selection in 2011. Photo / Supplied

Police today confirmed the efforts to track down the person who leaked Bridges' expenses included an Official Information Act request from the National Party.

The request sought information from police over the identity of the person who had sent a text message to Bridges and Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard asking an inquiry into their identity be dropped because of their poor mental health.

Police refused to supply any information to National.

WHERE TO GET HELP

If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call 111.

• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.