Donghua Liu

Cunliffe on Key’s Cash for Access problem

Mr Key has been forced to confirm a National Party fundraising dinner at which he met Mr Liu was held at the businessman’s home.

Last year Mr Key was quick to spread rumours that Mr Liu had been a big donor to the Labour Party, even though there was no evidence he had given any money to the Opposition.

That came after Maurice Williamson was forced to resign as a minister when it was revealed he had called police after Mr Liu had been arrested on domestic violence charges.

After the Prime Minister visited Mr Liu’s home the businessman donated $25,000 to Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross’s 2014 election campaign.

The Labour Party MP and former leader David Cunliffe said Labour was hurt by last year’s allegations of its links to Mr Liu, and he was not impressed with the latest revelations about Mr Key’s links.

“I think it’s been a very disappointing issue. Disappointing firstly that the National Party was clearly telling porkies while they were on the take and secondly that media swallowed it uncritically,” Mr Cunliffe said.

Read more »

Oh bugger… so many lies

At the weekend it was revealed Mr Key and Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross had dined at the home of controversial Chinese businessman Donghua Liu in August 2013, which led to a $25,000 donation to Mr Ross’ election campaign.

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Mr Key’s office last year said there was “no record” of who attended fundraising dinners with the Prime Minister, and that he “recalls seeing Mr Liu at various functions, including a dinner as part of a National Party fundraiser” ? but the fact it was at Liu’s home wasn’t disclosed.

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Liu later became an embarrassment for the Government, the property developer’s dealings with minister Maurice Williamson leading to his resignation, and has since been in court facing domestic violence charges.

The dinner was one of the National Party’s controversial ‘Cabinet Club’ fundraising events, in which donors get access to high-ranking MPs and ministers. Mr Key says the party is “under no obligation” to make the details of those meetings public.

“We’re not going to get into a situation where we say where we went to dinner, and whether I had the chicken or the fish. We’re just not going to be doing that ? no other political party does, no one’s required to do that,” he says. Read more »

National reprises Father Ted: “It was just resting in the account”

National and in particular Jami-Lee Ross and John Key have been busted in a donation saga.

And the best they can come up with is a version of the Father Ted defence…”the money was just resting in my account”.

As Father Dougal MacQuire says…”a good long rest”.

Electoral returns out next week will confirm that a National Party MP received $25,000 from a controversial businessman after Prime Minister John Key had a private dinner with him – at the man’s home.

The PM has always maintained that he met Donghua Liu at a National Party fundraiser but would never say where. Today, the Weekend Herald can reveal that the fundraiser was actually a private dinner at Mr Liu’s $4.75 million home in Remuera, where a smiling Mr Key and Jami-Lee Ross, the MP for Botany, were photographed alongside Mr Liu and his young family.

Afterwards, Mr Liu donated $25,000 that same month to Mr Ross’ election campaign. But the following year, Mr Liu became a political embarrassment for the Government after a Herald investigation revealed the impact of the property developer’s links to the National Party.

Maurice Williamson was forced to resign as a minister when the Herald revealed he had called police after Mr Liu was arrested on domestic violence charges and told them Mr Liu was a big investor in New Zealand.

Mr Key said then that Mr Williamson had “crossed the line”.

Shortly after the election, Mr Ross refunded the large donation from Mr Liu’s company – 15 months after it was given. Mr Ross has since disclosed the donation in candidate returns for the 2014 election due to be released by the Electoral Commission next week.

Mr Liu is upset that Mr Ross refunded the $25,000 cheque, which he regarded as a “slap in the face”.

The 53-year-old pleaded guilty to the domestic violence charges in April last year, but was in the Auckland District Court this week seeking to withdraw those admissions. He was successful and the case is likely to now head to trial.

Outside court, he told the Herald he gave $25,000 to Mr Ross through the “Botany Cabinet Club” and “subsequently this amount was refunded”.

“It was very strange. The refund was sent to my lawyer, I wasn’t told about it in person.”

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Cash for access a reality for rich wannabe immigrants

Andrew Alderson is a sports writer for the NZ Herald, but that doesn’t stop him from filing a political story.

A [New Zealand based ] Russian multi-millionaire was granted a private audience with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during the royal tour after pledging $1 million to the national velodrome.

Waiwera Water owner Mikhail Khimich agreed to give the sum over three years to the Cambridge Avantidrome before details of the royal visit were announced.

Khimich, who is seeking permanent residency and is also known as Michael, this week revealed he has ploughed $4m into New Zealand sports teams in the past year, including a $500,000 payment the day after Team New Zealand lost the America’s Cup last September.

Here is another prima facie example of a rich immigrant buying his way into this country. ?I hope we have learned our lessons with the likes of Kim Dotcom, and the political wrecking ball that is Donghua Liu.

“Once Michael learned they may be attending, he was excited to meet the royal couple as were all those attending the opening.

“That Michael was granted a private audience with the royal couple was fortuitous but not unexpected, considering his historical and ongoing generous donations to sport in New Zealand, and he certainly appreciated the opportunity to meet the guests of honour.”

Khimich had also given generously to Emirates Team New Zealand, donating $1.5m to the last team to prepare for the San Francisco regatta and another $500,000 immediately after the last race.

It’s the man’s own money, and he’s allowed to spend it where he likes. ?But it is clear that, just like Kim Dotcom, there are strings attached. ?This is indicated by “That Michael was granted a private audience with the royal couple was fortuitous but not unexpected“. ?Yeah, not unexpected.

In other words, the word had gone out. ? Read more »

I love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning

The Green taliban have a number of political weapons at their disposal. One is the Shield of Sanctimony the other is the Cloak of Hypocrisy.

They have wheeled out both in the announcement of their immigration policy.

Laura McQuillan reports:

Despite its criticism of rich foreigners buying their way into the country, the Greens want more offshore innovators to gain residency.? Read more »

Face of the day

Damien O'Connor Meme

Damien O’Connor Meme

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Labour Minister Damien O’Connor to go the way of Williamson: “it is not my normal practice to intervene”

via NZ Herald

via NZ Herald

Jared Savage is like a dog with a bone

A former Labour Minister intervened three times in the immigration bid of Donghua Liu including waiving the English language requirement for the millionaire businessman.

Damien O’Connor, in his role as the associate Immigration Minister, wrote three letters to Liu’s advisor Warren Kyd – the former National Party MP – before deciding to grant residency against the advice of officials the day before the 2005 election.

The West Coast MP has said he cannot remember why he granted residency to the businessman whose links to both National and Labour have created political waves this year.

He can’t remember. ? Today he can’t remember. ?Let’s see how his memory improves. ? Read more »

They don’t like it up ’em

“If the Herald?s protestations of fairness were genuine Mr Liu would have been required to swear a formal and legally binding affidavit attesting to every one of his funding allegations. This is what Mr Cameron Slater of the Whaleoil Blog did when he exposed the Len Brown Scandal. What?s more, Mr Slater was willing to post the sworn affidavit of Mr Brown?s paramour on his blog for everyone to read. It is highly significant that, to date, the Herald, by steadfastly refusing to release Mr Liu?s ?signed statement?, has treated it readers with less consideration than the Whaleoil blog. A professional discourtesy which Mr Cunliffe has quite understandably construed as a breach of ?natural justice?.”

– Chris Trotter

Two things.

1. ?It appears that, at least to Chris Trotter, Whaleoil has higher journalistic standards than the NZ Herald. ?My, how things change.

2. My sources in Labour tell me this isn’t over by a long shot, and they know it. ?I’m not sure how the war room is seeing it, but some Labour people are singing like canaries. ? Soon there will be no need for affidavits.

Of course,?the thing Trotter isn’t considering is that if Whaleoil had done the same thing and not posted the affidavit, people would have written it off. ? Read more »

Is Barker now suffering from recovered memory syndrome?

Donghua Liu's partner Juan Zhang and Rick Barker at a Labour fundraising auction in 2007.

Donghua Liu’s partner Juan Zhang and Rick Barker at a Labour fundraising auction in 2007.

On June 18 Rick Barker was having a terrible time remembering Donghua Liu:

Mr Barker, now a regional councillor in Hawkes Bay, said he was a guest of Liu at the dinner in Chongqing and visited his cement company while on holiday in China. But he had not known Liu was a Labour donor and he was not in China on official business as a minister.

“I went to China to catch up with some friends of mine, see some sights … and I made a side trip to Chongqing – I had not been to the city before.

“I was in the city a short time. Mr Liu showed me his business and that night, I attended a dinner which seemed to be a dinner he had put on for all his staff.”

Mr Barker could not remember how he came to be invited to visit Liu in Chongqing.

He said it was “probable” he also had dinner with Liu in New Zealand.

“I am trying to recall events of over seven years ago, so it’s a little challenging.

“But it can’t have been a regular event, because if it was I would recall that. In fact, my contact with Liu fell away quite quickly.”

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Larry Williams on dams, taxes & donations

Larry Williams doesn’t hold back on his opinions, which is why he is the number one talk back host for?drive time.

This is what he thinks about the Ruataniwha dam.

The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is hoping others will now follow suit in investing in its Ruataniwha Dam scheme.

Councillors have voted in favour of investing $80 million of ratepayers money into the $275 million water storage project.

A number of conditions still have to be met, including finding other investors and ensuring local farmers sign up to the scheme.

This decision looks a bit dopey to me. You don’t commit $80m of ratepayers money before an inquiry reports its findings into the project.

Sure there are a number of conditions but the decision to jump into this dam project looks premature.

Very premature and yet the shill for Federated Farmers was having a wet dream all over the blog comments yesterday.

Larry alsop comments on Labour’s tax and spend policies.

Two tax increases are being floated by the Labour party.

The party wants to introduce a new top tax rate of 36 percent on yearly incomes of $150,000 or more.

It’s also proposing to raise the trustee income tax to 36 percent. ?? Read more »

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