After a sustained week of media attacks on the Labour Party it now transpires that the NZ Herald and John Key claims about Donghua Liu’s donations to the party are, shall we say, inaccurate.
This has just been published on the Herald website:
Controversial businessman Donghua Liu has issued a new statement to the Herald confirming “close to” $100,000 in total payments to Labour and its MPs – including anonymous donations – but clarifying that the money was not for one bottle of wine.
Liu, to whom Labour gave permanent residency against official advice, says his earlier signed statement on the wine auction was “capable of two meanings” and after repeated inquiries from the Herald he says he wants to clarify what he spent the $100,000 on.
The signed statement obtained by the Herald on Sunday said that at a 2007 Labour Party fundraiser, he “successfully bid on bottles of wine including one bottle signed by the then Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon Helen Clark, with a contribution of close to $100,000”.
The previous sentence in the signed statement said dinner and a boat trip on the Yangtze River in 2007 with a group including Rick Barker, the Minister for Internal Affairs at the time, which Liu estimated to cost between $50,000 to $60,000.
Today, Liu said: “I did say I made a contribution of close to $100,000 and that is my closing comment in my statement…that is how much I believe I have donated in total to Labour and some of their MPs during their last term in Government.”
He said the figure was the total payments to Labour and its politicians which included the wine auctions, a $2000 donation to the Hawkes Bay Rowing Club, the Yangtze River trip and anonymous donations to MPs.
I must say that I have never heard of the Hawkes Bay Rowing Club branch of the Labour Party nor of the Yangtze Concrete Factory Branch of the Labour Party. The payments to these entities account for about $60,000 which is most of the money. The boat trip was clearly not a political donation to the Labour Party. The degree of change in Mr Liu’s story is significant as is his lack of understanding of what the Labour Party actually is.
And the question must be who prepared Liu’s original statement and did they know it was, shall we say, inaccurate? And why did the Herald accept the first statement at face value and did it seek any verification of the claims before bursting into print?
I trust that a few commentators including John Armstrong and Bryce Edwards will now reflect on their comments. As Danyl McLaughlan has said this is a fucking joke.
Finally I must say how impressed I was by the recent Standarnista crowd sourcing effort to work out the details of the photographs and the possible location of the auction.
lprent: Rob Salmond has some commentary on this complete screwup by The NZ Herald journalists and editors in “Completely unravelling” and “New Zealand Herald tries to cover its butt; gets shit on its hands“. Be warned. He starts to swear (although less than I did when reading the self-justifying waffle from the Herald story).