Jared Savage

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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The Amazing Contortions of the NZ Herald and other journalists

David Farrar points out the utter hypocrisy of the media:

This is the e-mail released by the PM?s Office. Obviously it has impacted Judith Collins, but if you read the whole thing you?ll see it backs something I have said consistently.

Cameron deals with a huge range of people, including Labour MPs, Green MPs, and almost every media organisation in NZ. The book only showed you his interactions with people associated with National, but this e-mail includes?media contact with no less than four different journalists. One specific quote:

I am maintaining daily communications with Jared Savage at the Herald and he is passing information directly to me that the Herald can?t run and so are feeding me to run on the blog.

Now let me say again that what Cam says in an e-mail is his interpretation of events. I regard Jared Savage as an excellent investigative reporter. But the e-mail does lead to questions being asked. How is media giving Cam stories, different to a press secretary doing so?

Now again what Cam has written is his?interpretation. It may not be the literal truth of what Jared was doing. But here?s the thing ? you need to be consistent. If you accept everything in the e-mails written by Cam as the literal truth, then the NZ Herald was feeding stories to Whale Oil, which they could not run in their newspaper. If you do not accept those e-mails as the literal truth, then why would you accept the ones about interactions with people in National as the literal truth?

Is the Herald going to say that?everything Cameron wrote about his dealings with us is incorrect, yet everything else is correct?

Will other media?subject Herald reporters and editors to the same level of inquiry that they have subjected others named in the hacked e-mails to?

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Bill Liu is in the news again, for all the wrong reasons

Bill Liu is in the news again after getting raided by the cops.

Jared Savage has the details:

Police have raided the luxury penthouse of a multimillionaire businessman granted citizenship in controversial circumstances and seized his assets because of alleged involvement in money laundering.

William Yan – also previously known as Bill Liu, Yang Liu and Yong Ming Yan – lives on the 35th floor of Auckland’s Metropolis tower. Residents saw detectives removing items from his home on Thursday.

Millions of dollars worth of assets the police allege belong to Mr Yan – although officially registered in other people’s names – have been seized, including the apartment, worth more than $2 million, a Mercedes-Benz, and shares and bank accounts.

Mr Yan has spent millions of dollars as a high roller in the SkyCity Casino VIP lounge. ?? Read more »

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 »

Liu and Labour lawyers’ letters

Labour going on the front foot demanding apologies from Liu may not have been the best strategy. ?Never ask a question to which you don’t already know the answer is the Golden Rule, and now it seems that Labour are going to find out everything they really don’t want to know.

Millionaire businessman Donghua Liu has hired a high-profile Queen’s Counsel to deal with any legal action from the Labour Party.

Aucklander Paul Davison, QC, is heading a team of advisers for Liu reviewing the property developer’s records following the comments of David Cunliffe this week.

The?Weekend Herald?understands this includes more than 30 photographs taken over 18 months linking Liu to Labour, including a fundraiser at an Auckland restaurant and a trip to China, where he hosted a Cabinet minister in 2007.

Oh my… photos? ?Photos of Labour people? ?Photos of Labour people accepting money?

Remind me again: ?they could find NO RECORDS of Liu having donated to the Labour party. ?Am I rite?

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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 »

Sounds suspiciously like Labour has “cash for access” schemes running as well


Items for auction at Labour fundraiser

Once again Labour has been caught out by their own hypocrisy.

In the series of rolling stories about Labour’s own donations scams the Herald’s Jared Savage covers the murky world of Steven Ching..and his very own “cash for access” system of fundraising.

The man who hoped to be the first Chinese MP for the Labour Party has emerged as a central figure in the donation claims of Donghua Liu.

Steven Ching was a successful fundraiser for Labour and was No42 on the party list ahead of the 2005 election, but withdrew.

The Herald can now reveal that the Auckland businessman, who organised dinners where guests donated $1000 to sit beside former Prime Minister Helen Clark, approached the office of David Cunliffe about Liu’s residency bid.

Mr Ching was not home and did not return messages, but Labour sources confirmed he was the “conduit” between Liu and the party.

When the Herald broke the news that Mr Cunliffe wrote a 2003 letter on behalf of Liu’s residency bid, the Labour leader said he did not recall having ever met the businessman.

“To the best of my knowledge that letter came through my office and an immigration agent on his behalf.”

Mr Cunliffe this week said “to the best of my knowledge” Mr Ching was not that agent. “However he appears to have had some contact at staff level with the New Lynn Electorate Office over the matter.”

Labour sources said Mr Ching had links to Liu and became the “conduit” between the party and the millionaire businessman. “Ching was the ‘money man’ responsible for organising the fundraising dinners and established a good relationship with Liu,” said one.

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One donation confirmed from Donghua Liu’s statement, what next Mr Cunliffe?

David Cunliffe made the rather stupid mistake of calling a multi-millionaire Chinese born citizen a liar and implored that he put up or shut up about his donations.

Mr Liu has started that process, by confirming one of the donations….if one is correct perhaps the rest are too.

Jared Savage continues his death by a 1000 cuts on Labour.

A donation from Donghua Liu to a rowing club linked to a former Labour Cabinet minister has been confirmed.

Duncan Barr, the president of the Hawke’s Bay Rowing Club, said today the millionaire businessman gave $2000 in 2007, which backs up a signed statement from Liu.

He was unaware of the donation when the?NZ Herald?called last week, but checked with long-serving members who confirmed the gift.

Mr Barr said the club purchased new rowing blades and said Liu was introduced to the club by Rick Barker, the then Minister for Internal Affairs, whose daughter was a club member.

Is this the same Rick Barker who claims he can’t remember Donghua Liu?? Read more »

The Hand of the King acts


According to some more looney pockets of the interwebs and New Zealand blogosphere the whole Cunliffe “smear” is all my doing and I am described as the Voldemort of NZ politics.

Personally I prefer Game of Thrones to Harry Potter…or perhaps House of Cards…except it isn’t Zoe going under the train, it is David Cunliffe.

More seasoned commentators like Vernon Small simply comment that who so ever did this hit should take a bow.

Whoever set David Cunliffe up for a Left jab over his contact with Donghua Liu this week should take a bow.

And Cunliffe should be asking himself how he was ever so naive.

If his staff could not find any evidence of him advocating for the wealthy businessman, it was perhaps understandable that he was willing to say unequivocally that he had not. After all, no politician wants to sound slippery and equivocal when they don’t need to be.

But a more cautious man would have heard the hidden menace behind questions being asked by the media about any advocacy by him – and instinctively given himself some wriggle room – rather than a definitive “nope”.

It is that denial, and the contrast with the criticism Labour has made of Liu’s links with National, that are the problem for Cunliffe, rather than the existence of the letter itself.

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Mike Williams vs Honesty


I note a number of people are trying to talk up ‘honest’ Mike Williams.

two things smell on this scoop….1) Jared Savage is not known for for honesty, or sobriety. Known for making things up and not actually investigating facts.
2) Mike “fat bastard” Williams says he didnt know about it – this strikes me as odd. Mike has a nose for money, and was great at raising money for labour. One of his greatest skills was extracting every last dime from a potential whale (no pun intended). Having heard Mike brag about his network for raising cash, he never mentioned this guy once. For those who know Mike, this would be out of character if indeed Liu gave cash to Labour. SO, very uncomfortable situation here……labour being hypocrites and savage telling truth or mike williams not telling the truth – on reflection, I believe mike williams over anything savage would print.

Perhaps they’ve forgotten about this😕 Read more »