The Dim-Post

June 22, 2014

Wait – maybe it is all a big something after all.

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 6:21 am

The Herald on Sunday reports:

Millionaire businessman Donghua Liu spent more than $150,000 on the previous Labour government, including $100,000 on a bottle of wine signed by former prime minister Helen Clark at a party fundraiser.

The embarrassing revelations are contained in a signed statement from Liu, which the Herald on Sunday has obtained.

This raises a few questions, like why the Herald ran a story yesterday that stated:

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

But whatever. What’s going on? The options as I see them:

Liu is lying or mistaken.

Liu is telling the truth but the donation was structured in such a way the current Labour Party has no visibility of it

He’s telling the truth and Labour does know about the donation but Labour are being cute and Cunliffe is going to wind up on the news explaining that the donation was made by Liu investments, not Donghua Liu, or that it was made to the Labour Party Trust, not the Labour Party, or that under the electoral laws at the time spending $100,000 on a bottle of wine counted as a purchase not a donation, or some similar piece of sophistry.

In an ideal world the electoral commission could investigate and we’d find out before the election whether they’d ask the police to press charges, and get at least some indication of who is telling the truth.

Update: Andrew Geddis writes in the comments:

Well, given that (1) it is unlikely any offence was committed even if Liu did give $100,000 (or, bought wine for that amount) back in 2007; and (2) even if one was, the law had a time limit on prosecutions of 6 months, there is no chance of the police getting involved here at all.

We need to realise that the laws in place in 2007 weren’t those of today – it was quite possible to give this amount of money and still be “anonymous”. Just how Labour forgot that he did so is another matter.

It’ll be interesting to see what Labour comes back with. Given the events of the past few days I can’t see them trying to fudge or lie their way out of this. If they issue a strong denial and then the Herald pops up with some substantiating documentation then the leader, party president and general secretary will come under great pressure to resign, and Labour will probably end up replacing all its leadership roles a couple months out from the election.

Update 2: Andrew writes over at Pundit:

Well, if you go back to the financial returns from political parties for 2007, there is listed a donation to Labour of $150,000 from “Palmer Theron, Solicitors, on behalf of an undisclosed client” (as well as two other donations of $50,000 and $30,000 from other law firms on behalf of similaraly “undisclosed clients”). For balance, you might also note that in that year National reported $40,000 in anonymous donations, as well as $513,000 from three trusts that it had been using to launder donations previously.

Is it credible for Labour – after a week of denials – to now say something like, ‘We have no idea who gave us this very large sum of money and we cannot say that it was not Donghua Liu’?

30 Comments »

  1. While the ‘close to 100k’ donation for a bottle of wine from this admitted wife-beater is alarming, the rest of the claims stretch credibility to be called ‘donations to Labour’: “he spent $50-60,000 hosting then-labour minister Rick Barker” and “Liu said he made a donation to Hawke’s Bay Rowing, which Barker was associated with.”

    Comment by Mike — June 22, 2014 @ 6:34 am

  2. And yes, I expect option 3 will be taken by the Labour Party eventually, question is whether it occurs this morning on Q+A or in a hastily arranged press conference on Tuesday

    Comment by Mike — June 22, 2014 @ 6:38 am

  3. Well, given that (1) it is unlikely any offence was committed even if Liu did give $100,000 (or, bought wine for that amount) back in 2007; and (2) even if one was, the law had a time limit on prosecutions of 6 months, there is no chance of the police getting involved here at all.

    We need to realise that the laws in place in 2007 weren’t those of today – it was quite possible to give this amount of money and still be “anonymous”. Just how Labour forgot that he did so is anger matter.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — June 22, 2014 @ 6:41 am

  4. There ya go.
    Somebody is going to prison.
    I don’t for a moment think Cunliffe is guilty of anything more than bowing to pressure from a colleague to write a letter.
    But where has the money gone?
    Rick Barker needs to check himself into a dementia clinic and whoever handled the cash should probably go into exile with Darren Hughes.
    The very fact that nobody in Labour can deny they got any cash stinks. Mike Williams and his money procuring team will be very nervous today.

    Comment by Barnsley Bill — June 22, 2014 @ 7:09 am

  5. When Andrew Geddis thinks it is an”anger matter” it is time for Labour to take notice🙂

    Comment by Ray — June 22, 2014 @ 7:22 am

  6. “There ya go.
    Somebody is going to prison.”

    No. They aren’t. Exactly what law are you alleging has been broken here?

    Comment by Flashing Light — June 22, 2014 @ 7:39 am

  7. A claim. Not an affidavit. Pretty big difference.

    Maybe this happened, but other than political preferences, what evidence do we have? We’ve long since stopped believing everything Kim Dotcom says, so when did Liu’s words become gospel?

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — June 22, 2014 @ 7:59 am

  8. “Nobody’s going to prison”

    Labour starting to set achievable goals.

    Mirth aside, Natuonal and Labour have both been caught out with the wealthy migrant scheme + political interference, they really should do something about it. Might prevent our politics being held hostage to the likes of KDC.

    Comment by NeilM — June 22, 2014 @ 8:09 am

  9. As a great many others have pointed out, the only thing the year’s scandals have taught us so far is that allowing wealthy foreigners to buy residence here was a colossally stupid idea that should have been scrapped a long time ago. Nice to see it coming back to bite its promoters (the National and Labour parties) on the arse.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — June 22, 2014 @ 8:09 am

  10. PM, I agree the wealthy migrant system is a dog. But this goes far deeper. This is not people being bonded by the govt. it is grease in noisy cogs.
    Banana republic stuff

    Comment by Barnsley Bill — June 22, 2014 @ 8:13 am

  11. Labours problem is that for years it was slagging off national about getting donations from wealthy people
    I am sure that we can remember in 2005 mallard saying national was getting donations from American bagmen
    At them same time they were getting money from Chinese bagmen bloody hypocrites
    National back in the day used a trust which labour used to scream about so there answer was to take Money from the state ( pledgecards)
    Or cash and not declear it
    The counter argument is the dinner at annoties (not spelled correct )
    And John keys tie sold for 50 k
    Well the reason you know about that is because national decleared it and was honest
    Labour lied about their donations and slagged off national for having fundraising dinners and auctions
    This goes to their core beliefs they have none and are a lieing pack of bastards
    Hone is honest he hates whites but will take a fat Germans money to kick out national
    The greens believe that only they can save the world ( it dosent need saving its fine) but you sort of respect their crazy world view
    Labour are the sleazy polictal whores
    They say anything do anything just for power

    Comment by Graham — June 22, 2014 @ 9:21 am

  12. The point here is not that Labour are guilty of anything. It’s that National have successfully gone back far enough in the past, in the pre-Electoral Finance Act era, to compel Labour’s association with a dirty donor.

    National don’t have to win this. Their weakness is their taint of being in it for the big guys and the money donors, the mild perception of corruption. You can argue that, of course, but the idea seems to have established strongly. They also know that a public indifferent towards politicians suppresses turnout, which favours the parties of regular voters (National, in other words).

    All they have to do is keep this in the media, while using their machinery to slip out PR about the economy. We’re finally growing after 6 years of negative and stagnant performance, of the back of milk solids, an Auckland housing bubble, and a demolished Christchurch. The number looks good though. When the media tire of this in a week or two’s time, they’ll look for another election angle, and the economy will have been neatly

    Comment by George — June 22, 2014 @ 10:05 am

  13. Someone just explain to me how Cunliffe or the current party leadership are in any way responsible for donations made to Labour in 2007.

    I can’t see the logic.

    Comment by James D — June 22, 2014 @ 12:20 pm

  14. If you get out-spun, logic isn’t needed – unfortunately for our nation’s integrity.

    Comment by Sacha — June 22, 2014 @ 1:46 pm

  15. Winston will be pleased with this, as the small percent of Labour’s constituency who are anti immigration will now peel off to him.

    The Greens will also be pleased, as the larger percent of Labour’s constituency who are anti-incompetence will peel off in that direction.

    Comment by alex — June 22, 2014 @ 2:03 pm

  16. So unsubstantiated allegations are now printed in our newspapers as facts, and – unlike Key who given a free pass by our media on any bullshit he likes to spout – Labour is guilty unlike proven innocent?

    Statement from Moira Coatsworth, Labour Party President, Donghua Liu reported allegations – summary of facts 22 Jun 2014

    Several media organisations have reported that Donghua Liu claims he purchased a book for $15,000 at a Labour Party fundraiser in 2007. We have found no records of any such purchase. No-one has provided any documentary evidence to us that contradicts our records.

    The Herald on Sunday has reported that Donghua Liu has signed a statement claiming he paid “close to $100,000” for wine at a 2007 Labour Party fundraiser. The Herald on Sunday have refused to provide us with a copy of the statement or even let us read the statement. We consider this to be a denial of natural justice.

    The Herald on Sunday reports that Donghua Liu’s statement was signed on 3 May 2014, but the paper only contacted us about the statement yesterday. This delay raises serious questions.

    The Herald on Sunday have, however, disclosed to us that Donghua Liu’s statement claims the fundraiser was held on 3 June 2007. We have found no record of any fundraiser held on that date.

    We have had no approaches from the Electoral Commission or any regulatory agency. We have always cooperated with regulators, and will always do so when required.

    We continue to call on Donghua Liu and any third parties who might have information about these allegations, including the Prime Minister, to place what they know into the public domain or to refer to the regulators.

    Comment by Sanctuary — June 22, 2014 @ 4:40 pm

  17. It is pretty obvious the Herald is colluding with the the National Party/Ede on this story – the timing of Armstrong’s hysterical piece, the unsubstaniated allegations splashed all over the front page today with Labour given not right of reply – this is bullshit destablisation by an alliance of corporate media being fed ready-made stories from the beehive. One day there will be a change of government. I hope this goes into the big book of payback when it comes to reforming media ownership laws in this country.

    Comment by Sanctuary — June 22, 2014 @ 4:44 pm

  18. “I hope this goes into the big book of payback when it comes to reforming media ownership laws in this country.”

    Oh FFS.

    Comment by Grant — June 22, 2014 @ 6:15 pm

  19. Someone just explain to me how Cunliffe or the current party leadership are in any way responsible for donations made to Labour in 2007.

    Not directly but they did persevere with the Liu issue a bit too long and have been going into personal attack mode all too often even when it wasn’t really justified.

    They tend to score a hit then lose the advantage by perseverating.

    They’re not the dog barking at every passing car, they’re the dog yapping back down the road at a car that passed half an hour ago.

    Comment by NeilM — June 22, 2014 @ 6:41 pm

  20. Not directly but they did persevere with the Liu issue a bit too long and have been going into personal attack mode all too often even when it wasn’t really justified.

    What does this even mean? Is there some sort of NeilM random Labour-criticism generator that takes any issue and just mixes words to create a series of statements that don’t really have any content?

    Comment by Flashing Light — June 22, 2014 @ 6:53 pm

  21. It would be a bit strange to run a fundraiser, and have no idea if the auction winners actually make the donations they say will.

    Comment by Swan — June 22, 2014 @ 7:35 pm

  22. So many of Labour’s caucus have been there since the 80s that you feel like they really SHOULD (or would) remember this if it happened…

    Comment by Amy — June 22, 2014 @ 8:01 pm

  23. With all the Dong hua publicity maybe he should be our next Prime Minister.

    Comment by bosun — June 22, 2014 @ 8:22 pm

  24. According to the Herald this morning “…Liu said he would not make any further comments about political donations or swear an affidavit outlining dollar amounts…”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11279513

    So allegations without evidence published as fact and supported by high and mighty editorialising. A disgraceful smear job on Labour by a newspaper working hand in glove with the government of the day.

    Comment by Sanctuary — June 23, 2014 @ 7:12 am

  25. Tim Murphy more or less confirmed they got Liu’s statement from the National party this morning on RNZ in an nterview where he was very shifty – http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/2600634 The fact that Murphy felt the need to comment it all tells me he is worried about the story, its truth and the source.

    Comment by Sanctuary — June 23, 2014 @ 8:39 am

  26. Murphy certainly sounding like a man positioning himself for a potential defamation case.

    Comment by Gregor W — June 23, 2014 @ 9:37 am

  27. Who in Labour would sue? The more they bark at the donor the more will surface. A festering wound that they are too stupid to cauterise. Barkers dementia is more entertaining than Winston Peters.
    Only a matter of time before an ex bag man blurts it all out.

    Comment by Barnsley Bill — June 23, 2014 @ 10:25 am

  28. Barnsley Bill is starting doing that weirdo talking in stoccato bullet points thing right wingers do when the rage virus starts to extend from their brain stem and into their higher functioning cortex.

    Comment by Sanctuary — June 23, 2014 @ 10:53 am

  29. seems like you know of some “proof” to these claims barnsey – yet just like key you seem to be running in rumor mode.

    So maybe, just maybe the evidence can be put forth before we all run about trying to prove negatives to claims that are, as yet, unsubstantiated

    show us the money

    Comment by framu — June 23, 2014 @ 10:55 am

  30. “weirdo talking in stoccato bullet points thing”
    Lolz, have a read of your comment at 16, Sanc…

    Comment by Clunking Fist — June 24, 2014 @ 3:07 pm


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