Advance New Zealand
The Advance New Zealand Party is a political party in New Zealand led by Jami-Lee Ross. Ross had been a member of the centre-right New Zealand National Party until a public spat with leader Simon Bridges in 2018. Ross has since been accused of sexual harassment and bullying, and is currently under investigation for corruption himself. The party did not win any seats in the 2020 New Zealand general election.
About Advance New Zealand in brief
The Advance New Zealand Party is a political party in New Zealand led by Jami-Lee Ross. Ross had been a member of the centre-right New Zealand National Party until a public spat with leader Simon Bridges in 2018. Ross has since been accused of sexual harassment and bullying, and is currently under investigation for corruption himself. The party did not win any seats in the 2020 New Zealand general election. In July 2020, Advance entered into a pact with Billy Te Kahika’s New Zealand Public Party, a conspiracy theory party that spread misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic its Facebook page. In September 2020, the party applied for registration with the Electoral Commission. By mid-September, New Zealand had had 7,000 members of the Advance party. Ross said that his plan for the party is based on the structure and make-up of the Alliance Party, and he has proposed an arrangement where smaller parties would maintain their own identity and stand under a party list, but stand as candidates under a list-only candidate. He said that he had also invited the New Zealand Outdoors, New Conservative, Social Credit, and ONE Party to join the alliance, but these parties have yet to confirm their interest in joining the alliance. The Advance party is a centrist and anti-corruption movement designed to appeal to voters \”in the middle”; however, their main policies represent the political fringe rather than centre. Ross was elected to the Manukau City Council in 2004 aged just 18, and later as a Member of Parliament for Botany at 25 in 2011. Ross became the party’s Senior Whip in May 2017.
After the National Party lost power at the 2017 election, Ross became a high-ranking figure in the Opposition led by Simon Bridges, serving as party spokesperson for Transport and Infrastructure. In a highly publicised falling out in 2018, Ross accused Bridges of corruption involving a USD 100,000 donation to the party, filing a false return, and falsifying the name of a donor to hide the identity. Bridges denied all of the claims. Ross announced his intention to resign his seat and contest the resulting by-election as an Independent candidate. Later, Ross chose to remain in Parliament and the election never took place. On 19 February 2020, it was reported that Ross was one among four people charged by the SFO over a USD 105,000 Donation made to the National party in June 2018. The SFO alleged that Ross and the other defendants, three Chinese businessmen, had committed fraud by splitting the 2018 donation into sums of money less than USD 15,000, which were then transferred into the bank accounts of eight different people. It was said that none of the sitting National Party MPs at the time, including Bridges, were among the four charged. Ross then released the audio from conversations between him and Bridges which he said backed up his claim. Ross then announced he would not contest Botany as the Advance NZ candidate, going up against National candidate and former Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon. However, just days before the close of nominations he announced that he would instead run as a list only candidate.