COMMENT:

Jami-Lee Ross was a relatively unknown name just over a week ago. Now everyone knows him, but for all the wrong reasons.

He's now recovering in a mental health facility in Auckland after one of the most torrid and muck-raking political weeks in recent history.

In the coming weeks, when he finally returns to Parliament as an independent, he'll know what it's like to be the Brendan Horan of Parliament - wandering around the corridors of sour with people turning their heads the other way as he approaches.

Advertisement

Horan was the former TV weatherman who had a spectacular falling-out with Winston Peters but hung around like a bad smell after being booted out of NZ First.

It was Horan as much as anyone else that saw the waka jumping law being brought back a couple of weeks ago, whereby an MP who falls foul of a party is booted out of Parliament.

It's a law that now sits tantalisingly on the statute books for use by one of its most vehement opponents - the National Party (which vowed to repeal it if it becomes Government).

Ross says he'll be staying on in Parliament to expose the rot in the National Party, apparently failing to appreciate that he is actually the rot.

The question now is whether National will swallow an enormous dead rat and use the so-called waka jumping law to get rid of him, which would rightly see the party being accused of hypocrisy.

Nick Smith led the charge against the law, describing the Justice Department officials who drew it up as buffoons and calling it a blunt tool to nail dissenters, making them subservient and mere party robots.

Smith said he hates the law, it's a crude power grab, describing its architect Peters as a master puppeteer, making fools of his colleagues and a joke of Parliament.

Well the National Party's not laughing now, the joke's on them.

There's been nothing quite like it in my four decades covering this place.

Peters may have had a falling out with National in the early 1990s, but left Parliament in a relatively dignified way, fought and easily won a byelection as an independent in Bridges' own turf of Tauranga.

The notion that Jami-Lee Ross could do the same thing in Botany is remote, given the dirt he's dished up and the effluent that's been poured on him.

The closest political earthquake to this one was when the Labour Government disintegrated 30 years ago when Richard Prebble questioned the sanity of the then Prime Minister David Lange.

But by comparison, even though the stakes were higher in the Labour fallout, this one reads like a script from House of Cards and has changed what has now become the grotesque face of New Zealand politics forever.