The Dim-Post

June 21, 2014

It’s all a big nothing!

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 7:43 am

I think Fran O’Sullivan has the right perspective on the great Cunliffe/Liu scandal of June 2014. That it is, in almost immediate retrospect, trivial nonsense.

Maybe it’s because the elegance of the trap – such an artful piece of political gamesmanship – was almost instantly undermined by National’s clumsy attempts to publicly gloat over their handiwork while simultaneously denying they were involved while also promising there was more to come. I mean, WTF?

And it looks like there’s not ‘more to come’. Stuff ran a story last night:

Labour is bracing for the expected release of an affidavit claiming six-figure donations were made to the party by wealthy businessman Donghua Liu.

A spokesman for Liu told Fairfax this week: “No comment is to be made at this stage.”

It is understood the affidavit was being pored over by lawyers today because there was a lack of documentation.

Prime Minister John Key this week referred to rumours about ‘‘hundreds of thousands’’ of dollars in undeclared donations from Liu, but refused to elaborate.

He said he would be ‘‘very amazed’’ if Liu had not donated more than the $15,000 he reportedly paid for a book signed by former Labour leader Helen Clark.

The rumours have been circulating for weeks in the media and in Parliament of much bigger payments by Liu to Labour, including suggestions a sworn affidavit existed.

And this morning the Herald’s run a story indicating that the rumours are probably mostly bullshit:

Millionaire businessman Donghua Liu has confirmed for the first time that he donated to the Labour Party.

The 53-year-old has been at the centre of political scandals involving National and Labour for months but yesterday broke his silence to say he had given “equally to Governments of both colours”.

But Liu said he would not make any further comments about political donations or swear an affidavit outlining dollar amounts.


  1. I dunno, sounds to me like My Liu is saying “sure I donated, but I’m not planning to publicly talk about it.” Otherwise known as something to hold over any incoming govt? I guess with Dotcom already holding something over a slice of govt, Liu’d like his hold too?

    Comment by PaulL — June 21, 2014 @ 8:10 am

  2. ‘Incoming government’?

    Comment by danylmc — June 21, 2014 @ 8:31 am

  3. “any incoming govt” – i.e. if Labour were to win. Just exercising the conspiracy theory side of my brain, you folks on the left have been having all the exercise for the last few days. 🙂 And my Mac decided to change Mr Liu into My Liu, so consider that corrected too.

    Comment by PaulL — June 21, 2014 @ 8:33 am

  4. But Barnsley pwomised! He’s not just a big-noting out of the loop dickwad, he directs National Party dark ops so I trust him completely.

    Comment by Judge Holden — June 21, 2014 @ 8:57 am

  5. …he had given “equally to Governments of both colours”.
    So if Mr Liu has given 100s of thousands to Labour then also to National. So “Show me the Money Mr Key!”
    If there is no evidence of this big money after Mr Key’s sneaky quoting of rumours and gossip, then one would expect that the Media would be after him and of course his credibility would be suspect – wouldn’t it?

    Comment by xianmac — June 21, 2014 @ 1:58 pm

  6. I am disappointed in the number of otherwise reasonable people who didn’t realise, not in retrospect, that it was “trivial nonsense.”

    I posit that the difference between “beltway” scandals and “real” scandals is that the second actually requires someone to have behaved badly.

    Comment by Thomas Beagle (@thomasbeagle) — June 21, 2014 @ 2:36 pm

  7. They got all they needed out of it. A column by O’Sullivan or Armstrong is nothing compared to the hours of talkback, the days of news bulletins, the gags on the FM music shows, the easy message picked up by the non-political population … call it the “TV3 7 days” test.

    Key met Obama and played cricket with Richard Hadlee, while Cunliffe was in big trouble for … something or other, details, schmetails.

    More – and worse – publicity than any Labour policy announcement for months, maybe years. Job done.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — June 21, 2014 @ 3:19 pm

  8. …it is, in almost immediate retrospect, trivial nonsense.

    The thing is, trivial nonsense is what political reportage consists of. “…the elegance of the trap – such an artful piece of political gamesmanship…” is political success if you’re Patrick Gower or Tova O’Brien. The actual content counts for shit.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — June 21, 2014 @ 3:35 pm

  9. Just as I thought, the whole thing was a swiftboat job all along. All Cunliffe has to say now is, “show us the receipts”. Even then, Cunliffe allowed himself to be swiftboated in the first place.

    Comment by DeepRed (@DeepRed6502) — June 21, 2014 @ 5:15 pm

  10. Did Cunliffe spend Christmas in Cambodia at tax payer expense as well?

    Comment by scerb — June 21, 2014 @ 5:38 pm

  11. Not clear how you have drawn this conclusion Danyl? Large donations have now been asserted. But these were never declared. This comes only a few weeks after Labour were putting the boot into Banks for similarly wrong declarations and demanding the police investigate this type of thing. Sounds to me like Labour is being hoist by their own petard.

    Comment by Swan — June 21, 2014 @ 6:55 pm

  12. Yes Swan, these have been “asserted”. Easy to do. But in the Banks case there was actual evidence, enough for a Judge to accept the case against Banks. Let’s see the evidence for this assertion then we can all agree Labour have been hoist by their own petard and question Danyl’s conclusion it is all a big fat nothing.

    Comment by MeToo — June 21, 2014 @ 8:22 pm

  13. Dong Hua needs another game of golf with Mr Key to sort these matters out.

    Comment by bosun — June 21, 2014 @ 8:43 pm

  14. And when the usually pro-NACT Fran O and John Roughan are calling bollocks on the whole affair, it’s probably a sign that the NACT’s swiftboat squad is running the risk of overusing Karl Rove’s trademark tu quoque projectionsm fallacy – dissing one’s opponents for one’s own failings.

    Comment by DeepRed (@DeepRed6502) — June 21, 2014 @ 8:52 pm

  15. MeToo, I am not talking about some assertion on Whaleoil. Liu himself asserted in a written statement referenced in the Herald article. “Confirmed” may be a better word than asserted.

    Comment by Swan — June 21, 2014 @ 9:13 pm

  16. John Roughan says “David Cunliffe is no slouch. I admired his refusal to apologise for the Donghua Liu letter this week. He had no need to do so – forgetting a routine letter written 11 years ago and failing to find a record of it is perfectly understandable. His repeated denials that he had even known or helped Liu was forgiveable.”

    Either they like a man who backs himself, backs a rich foreigner or backs out of attacking the heroic JK

    Comment by nigelsagentinthefield — June 21, 2014 @ 10:26 pm

  17. According to O’Sullivan the calls for Cunliffe’s resignation ‘bordered on risible.’ It’s going to be a frosty few days in the APN smoko room.

    Comment by Adrian — June 21, 2014 @ 11:03 pm

  18. Deep Red = deep paranoia. Karl Rove is so last decade, you batshit lefties are supposed to see large Koch in your fevered dreams.

    Comment by scerb — June 21, 2014 @ 11:40 pm

  19. Some of these comments and particularly from the ironically named Judge holden look spectacularly silly now.

    Comment by Barnsley Bill — June 22, 2014 @ 7:22 am

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