The Health Minister had a lot to thank feral MP Jami-Lee Ross for when he was opening the mental health unit at Middlemore Hospital.

David Clark got the sort of media coverage he would never have dreamed of as he turned up to cut the ribbon.

Middlemore's been the Government's target this week.


Jacinda Ardern's been there to rub the last Government's nose in it for turning the hospital into a smelly, mould infested dump.

She was there doing what this Government does really well, throwing money at it - $80 million.

The next day it was Clark's turn and he laid it on with a trowel, spying the guest of dishonour.

You could have been forgiven for thinking that the rebel Ross, now an independent MP, had achieved a kaumatua status, given he was reverentially elevated at the ceremony over Clark's own colleagues.

He began by paying "particular respect and honour" to his fellow MP and the MP for Botany.

Clark told him how really good it was to have him at the opening ceremony. If that wasn't enough, he continued to ramble that he just wanted to acknowledge and pay his respects to Ross for being part of the day.

If you didn't know any better, you'd think Ross had given his vote, during his long absence from Parliament, to the coalition Government rather than simply making New Zealand First the custodian of it to lodge it on behalf of National which doesn't want a bar of it but has no choice.

The former National Party lothario was looking relaxed as the Maori warrior brandished the heavily carved walking stick in front of him.


What Simon Bridges would have given to be in control of that potential weapon!

And what would have been going through the mind of Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, one of the two Nat Indian MPs, knowing that Ross had told Bridges in a private telephone conversation that two Chinese MPs were more valuable than two Indians.

That was to the suggestion that a Chinese donor wanted another seat in Parliament for his generosity.

They gave Ross pride of place in the front row, out of striking distance of Singh, who was off to the side in the second row.

Unlike his earlier engagements with the media, Ross was restrained saying the occasion wasn't about him, he was just there to support those who gave him so much support when he was a patient at the unit last month.

He may have been well enough to carry out his first duty as an MP in more than a month, but he's not sure when he'll be back at Parliament.

Could be next month or next year, he said, before politely excusing himself.

It seems an MP's leave knows no bounds.