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.