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Melissa keeps on digging

Written By: - Date published: 8:31 pm, May 13th, 2009 - 15 comments
Categories: national - Tags:

Here’s Melissa Lee explaining on Checkpoint how her staff volunteered their time to produce a video for National Party list candidates:

LEE: Well we were doing a launch, you know, for the Asian campaign and I thought it might be a good, fun thing to actually have a video to put onto Youtube or Facebook, I can’t actually remember exactly how it happened and I needed some assistance with the camera and I asked my staff if they wanted to help me and, you know, told them they are certainly allowed to say no, you know. It’s not like I forced them to do it.

She “can’t actually remember exactly how it happened”. Yeah right.

But she needed some assistance with the camera, for the Youtube video authorised by Mark Oldershaw, the financial agent for the National Party. It is definitely a National Party election advertisement for the party vote. Until recently it was on the National Party website.

Those cameras would cost real money to hire. And cameras can’t volunteer, even for Melissa Lee.

So where is their expense declared on the National Party election return for the party vote, signed by Mark Oldershaw?

15 comments on “Melissa keeps on digging”

  1. Nick 1

    Melissa should front with the original video clips which in their digital format will be timestamped, and with her wage book which records her staffs times for PAYE etc. Easy to audit, she already has a member of staff intimating stand over tactics. In her position if she has the evidence to contradict the accusations she would do well to do so.

    Guilty or innocent Melissa has put hersef in the gun. It seems to me that Melissa has a problem with self ethicacy awareness.

  2. Anthony Karinski 2

    Not the biggest scandal out there. But it seems the Nact government is riddled with loose cannons waiting to go off. Key is popular at the moment, which has allowed him to cruise on despite making some rather poor decisions in regards to how to deal with these people.

    In the long run though it can only spell doom for his leadership unless he starts taking some decisive action pretty soon. Patience is a virtue but I can’t see the NZ public taking it forever – as Winston Peters found out in the end.

  3. Principessa 3

    When an organisation receives government funds it has to be accountable for them, so there will be records of how government funds were spent. If her company so much as bought a paperclip, that a staff member used to pin together any pages for the script for the video, that was photocopied on paper bought with government funds…. all sorts of unearthing to be done here. Question is- does the Official Information Act touch the records of a company that is in receipt of government funds?

  4. outofbed 4

    After looking at Tv3’s report either the ex employee of “Asia down under” is telling porkies or Ms Lee is. And as M lee company has been the recipient of millions of dollars of tax payer funding over the years through NZ on air , I think its beholden on her to be squeaky clean.

    I bet Ravi wouldn’t have behaved like this

    • calltoaccount 4.1

      Wonder how many Nat people are wondering if it’s too late to change their candidate?

      Anthony: I reckon the byelection makes Lee the biggest game in town. :)

  5. Jared 5

    So she can’t use cameras she owns?

    • corkscrew 5.1

      She does not own any cameras, Asia Vision Ltd owns them, Lee is a director and shareholder of Asia Vision.

  6. Lee got her office cleaner who is filipino to hold the camera and the tongan tealady did the editing.
    quite simple: as a quick viewing of the pansy wong movie readily shows.
    i think don mcglashan or dave dobbyn does the song but I’m not sure as I passed after the first few seconds.

  7. Pascal's bookie 7

    It’s not like I forced them to do it.

    Hey lookie, she forgot to say whether or not she paid them to do it.

  8. burt 8

    Fingers crossed that if there is an inquiry the terms are wide enough to stop it being a whitewash. We had enough of them from the last administration.

  9. i thought Lee’s resort to the ‘disgruntled employee’ line was pretty lame and transparent.
    if the allegations were really only that, Lee would be talking about defamation suites. but of course she won’t go anywhere near bringing a defamation case because Lee’s story just doesn’t stack up.

    as far as the ‘they weren’t professionals, they were just doing it for practice’ line goes, are these the same people that justify Asia Downunder getting $1.2M of taxpayers’ money for this year? where is the paper trail to show what NZOnAir money was spent on what? what kind of transparency and accountability with public funding was Lee practising?

    no wonder National thinks all public spending is about people ripping off the system.

    • Irascible 9.1

      The question of unethical behaviour will now be spun as another example of a poor woman being subject to unprovoked attacks because she is Asian. This is the NACT response to criticism of any of their ethnically selected candidates. Already Melissa Lee has played the card when being bested by David Shearer in an open debate. She will play it over this issue as the grilling gets more intense.
      She knows and Key she’s been caught out on this issue so she’ll revert to form and play the victim card. What do we christen this as…. Melissagate? Leegate? or simply Videogate?

    • Tim Ellis 9.2

      I get it, Sprout. You mean in the same way that Helen Clark sued Ian Wishart all those times for Wishart’s stories.

  10. Trevor Mallard 10

    Principessa asks “Question is- does the Official Information Act touch the records of a company that is in receipt of government funds?” Until very recently I would have answered no. I now think it might – but only for the functions they were contracted to do. Images of Awatere Huata and the Pipi foundation spring to mind.

  11. burt 11


    Until very recently I would have answered no. I now think it might

    Would that change of heart about accountability for spending public money have been after Nov ?

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