The National Party couldn't have picked a worse time for its latest fundraising plan – sending out invites for a fancy leader's dinner right before the Jamie-Lee Ross scandal.

Leader Simon Bridges is hosting the dinner at Auckland's Stamford Plaza on November 1 with tickets available to purchase for a cool $1,500 per person or $15,000 per table.

Invites from party president Peter Goodfellow were emailed to supporters last week and were authorized by party secretary Greg Hamilton.

The dinner comes with National in full damage control mode after former MP Jamie Lee Ross went rouge accusing Bridges of electoral fraud.


Bridges has denied any wrongdoing, labelling Ross a leaker and a "liar".

Ross yesterday released a text exchange he had with Hamilton about donations at the centre of the controversy engulfing the party.

That followed audio of a telephone call he shared with Bridges in which they discussed a $100,000 donation from Yikun Zhang.

Neither the texts nor a secret recording Ross released this week between him and Bridges have shown evidence of illegal activity.

Invitations for National's fundrasier were sent out this week. Photo / supplied
Invitations for National's fundrasier were sent out this week. Photo / supplied

But the recording was embarrassing for Bridges, capturing him referring to one of his MPs as " useless", forcing him to issue a public apology.

The rogue MP also said he has more recordings of conversations shared between the two which supposedly provide evidence of Bridges' false electoral return.

Party funding has been a controversial topic for both National and Labour.

In 2014 National came under fire for its $1000-a-head Cabinet Club, which NZ First leader Winston Peters described as "elitist".

In June this year Labour's Stuart Nash defended a lunch fundraiser at the Auckland's Northern Club where about 20 people will pay $1000 each to hear him talk.


Labour was accused of hypocrisy because in the past it had accused National of "cash for access" fundraisers at which members and supporters paid to attend events where they could meet National Party ministers and hear them speak.