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NZ Herald – again that curious lack of detail

Written By: - Date published: 2:20 pm, June 22nd, 2014 - 112 comments
Categories: election 2014, same old national - Tags: , , ,

Back in 2007/8, I was still heavily involved as a volunteer with  the analysis of canvassing data for the NZ Labour Party. This meant that I was around a lot of the campaigners in various parts of the country, either physically or virtually. Less so around the people raising money.

But it also meant that I heard a hell of a lot of gossip. Invariably this involved the gossip about fundraisers run by various Labour Electoral Committees (LECs) trying to get their campaign limit of $20,000 and their levies to head office. But if I read the Herald on Sunday today, somehow I missed out on hearing about a $15k purchase of a book, and about a $100k purchase of a bottle of wine at what were presumably LEC auctions.  Sure it is possible. However so is time travel in physics under some very special circumstances.

Frankly, at present I don’t really believe either of those claims.  There is no detail on either of them in the coverage given in the Herald on Sunday or previous articles by the Herald. Certainly not enough to pin down amongst the large numbers of fundraisers around the country where and when these payments were made. I even went up the road to buy the hard-copy version of the Herald on Sunday, but there was no more detail in that. There doesn’t even appear to be the mythic “party source” in this latest allegations, merely a single letter that isn’t even an affidavit.

To date the Herald has not even given the detail about when the famous photo of the bottle of wine was taken being passed over by Rick Barker. FFS it could have been for the rowing club, or even taken in China, and had nothing to do with the NZLP. But nonetheless the Herald uses that photo on most of its stories. It looks to me like they have no idea when or where that photo was taken.

So far the only thing that the Herald has managed to substantiate was a proforma letter to the Immigration department 11 years ago. It now appears that they had substantial help from the National party to do even that.

Sure this could be a developing story that is being drip-fed to increase revenues to the Herald.  But it certainly doesn’t look like that. What it looks like is some journos and editors trying to spin a story out hoping it will get traction by people coming forward with corroborating details. The Herald appears to be running a smear on the behalf of the National party.

Does the NZ Herald have journalists?  Ones who check sources responsibly and informing the public. Of are they partisan hacks like Cameron Slater, working for the National party and smearing their opposition. He doesn’t publish details of his smears either. That is because then the stories can be checked. In the case of fundraisers for the NZLP, I could certainly allow find people who were there and who’d be able to say if some event did or did not happen. Perhaps that is why there have been no details?

Certainly the NZ Herald’s  journalists and editors aren’t performing to the levels that the public expects journalists to operate in. Their job is to inform, not smear. So far they seem to be doing the latter and not the former.

I rather think that they have moved into Whaleoil territory. I hadn’t realised that the newspaper business was quite that badly off…

112 comments on “NZ Herald – again that curious lack of detail”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    Lets accept for a moment that the statement from Lui is correct, and that he did donate the funds stated.

    If Labour didn’t declare funds from Lui as donations because they were technically proceeds from sales (e.g. wine, books and things sold at auction), then surely those same funds should have been declared as income in Labour’s GST returns. I wonder if that happened.

    • Te Reo Putake 1.1

      First up, can I just point out that you’ve just made the same mistake as the unknown staffer in Cunliffe’s office did eleven years ago, and mis-spelled Liu’s name? Funny old world, eh?

      And secondly, the $150k doesn’t exist.

      • Clemgeopin 1.1.1

        And thirdly, has this rich dude declared it on his IRD returns? And does he have a receipt to prove his donation? And, who behind the scene has been pressuring him to make this statement now to try and destabilise Labour just before the election?

        • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1

          The lack of fact checking by the Herald is astonishing. It’s either time that they publish Liu’s signed statement in full, or it’s time they put an apology to David Cunliffe on the front page of their gossip tabloid.

        • hellonearthis 1.1.1.2

          Technically it was not a donation.
          He purchased a signed bottle of wine.
          He did not donate a $100k and get a free bottle of wine.
          Under the laws at the time, these kinds of purchases from political parties where no classed as donations and did not need to be listed as donations.

          If it even happened.

          • McFlock 1.1.1.2.1

            Any transaction of $100k would still be in the party’s financial records.

            I doubt it even happened.

    • Lanthanide 1.2

      Apparently National has gotten around the donation laws by holding auctions, and then totalling up the amount paid by all bidders and saying it was a donation from the event that the auction was held at.

      Since the claim here seems to be items purchased at fundraising auctions, I would not be surprised if Labour had used the same technique, and therefore there’s no evidence in their accounts that the money came from Liu.

      That doesn’t explain why such a large donation to the Labour party, much larger than their typical size, wouldn’t have stuck out like dogs bollocks from their historical returns, and as Lynn is suggesting here if donations of that size were made, they would likely be known about amongst the campaign workers. Yet again we have no concrete evidence.

      • lprent 1.2.1

        I’d have expected to hear about anything that large around Auckland, and probably around much of the North Island. My contacts down south are more sketchy.

        I was asking about the $15k signed book a few days ago and no-one could remember anything like it. It was vaguely possible that it could have been done in one of the areas that I have weak contacts because there is little Labour presence there but a lot of Chinese – like Howick. Even then most people I was talking to were incredulous that auction sale like that happened and they didn’t hear about it.

        But $100k. That is just ludicrous. I am damn sure I’d have heard about that in an auction!

        The NZ Herald needs to provide some more detail from their sources. But for the moment I’m assuming that they are willingly believing liars because it makes for a good story. The sure as hell aren’t acting like responsible journalists. They are acting like sleazebags like Cameron Slater.

        • Sanctuary 1.2.1.1

          “…They are acting like sleazebags like Cameron Slater….”

          And they are clearly acting in collusion with Jason Ede and the ninth floor of the Beehive. This is an outrageous slander published without any real evidence, an easy story because it has been spoon fed to their useful idiots of reporting staff by the government.

          APN had better watch out. If I were Labour, I’d be telling them frankly and on the record they’d better keep up their partisan support for National, because the minute we are in power we coming after you with new media ownership laws.

          • BM 1.2.1.1.1

            Yeah what a great idea.

            Cunliffe needs to do this first thing Monday morning, I can tell you now they’d be cowering in their shoes and begging forgiveness after that sort of ultimatum!!.

            LOL, you guys are so funny, it’s one of the reasons I like this blog so much.

            • Lanthanide 1.2.1.1.1.1

              Yes, there are a few people around here that aren’t quite in touch with reality when it comes to how political parties can and should deal with the media.

              • BM

                The disconnect is quite something.

                I wonder how many are paid up party members, hopefully for labours sake, not too many.

              • Sanctuary

                kissing their ass gets you nowhere, in fact all it does is provide a veneer of balance to the Herald. acknowledging them as the enemy simply returns the left to the position it was in relation to the establishment media that existed for the majority of its existence. once in power, you do what the first Labour government did – heavily fund alternatives to the likes of the Herald (back then Labour set up the National Film Unit and the National Broadcasting Service specifically to bypass the newspapers to get their message out) and make sure media monopolies are regulated.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Nah, make sure media monopolies are a criminal offence.

                  PS: joking aside, I wonder if this is the answer: regulate something and Tory scum will defund the regulators: cf. Pike River etc.

                  Tories, with their diminished ethics, don’t need regulating, they need policing. Quite happy that the same strictures be applied across the board.

                  Stop setting up new regulatory bodies and consider the Crimes Act.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    OAB, you have to set up true public media infrastructure AND regulate private sector media.

                    You can’t do only one. You have to weaken the corporate stranglehold of biased media AND you have to provide the public with high quality non-commercial public broadcasting and media.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      ideally a 3rd prong would be supporting high quality indy news and other media to thrive in the country

          • Grumpy 1.2.1.1.2

            Ah, the old Aussie Labor tactic……..that went well for them…..???

          • chris73 1.2.1.1.3

            I agree with this strategy because nothing bad happens when you threaten the media :)

            • BM 1.2.1.1.3.1

              Absolutely, I see nothing but upside.
              It should be the go to strategy for any politician who finds himself in a spot of bother.
              When in doubt, lash out.
              :)

              • Colonial Viper

                Setting high minimum standards for news and journalism is crucial in a healthy democracy because you cannot have a healthy democracy if reality based and fact based journalism is not dominant.

                Taking rampant commercialism out of the sector will be extremely helpful to that end.

        • jaymam 1.2.1.2

          There is a lot of metadata in the master copy of the Herald photo, like about 5 pages. Most of it is from Photoshop or some other image manipulation program. Unfortunately I can only copy one line at a time.
          Here’s some more metadata. Maybe David at the Herald knows more:
          http://i61.tinypic.com/2h37sxz.png

          Here’s the master copy of the Herald photo, with all metadata:
          http://i57.tinypic.com/106wtn8.jpg

          • jaymam 1.2.1.2.1

            Ah, I see the problem everyone is having with metadata. When the Herald resizes a picture from its master copy they remove the metadata. If you know where to look you can get the original picture which I have shown above. If I tell everybody where to look, I may not be able to look there in future!
            Unfortunately Hotmail does not seem to work any more.

    • Colonial Viper 1.3

      No GST on second hand goods unless you are doing it for business purposes

      • Grumpy 1.3.1

        You can claim GST on second hand goods.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 1.3.1.1

          But can you claim GST back on second hand talking points? Wingnuts the world over wait for the answer with bated (sp. attn. Micky Savage) breath.

        • tsmithfield 1.3.1.2

          Yes. If you’re registered for GST then you have to declare the proceeds from sales of both new and second-hand goods.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 1.3.1.2.1

            Easy, comforting echo chamber blankie.

            • Grumpy 1.3.1.2.1.1

              New, or second hand? Nothing like a second hand echo chamber, after GST, of course.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                The Herald will do nicely. See you behind the pay-wall, tovarisch. Such delicious irony.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.4

      Yeah, just put the record on and we’ll all do a little dance for you.

      No, wait, here’s a thought: you tell us who the anonymous border official was, give us a look at Antoinne’s guest list, and then you’ll have demonstrated a shred of personal responsibility to go along with your rhetoric.

  2. Jackal 2

    I rather think that they have moved into Whaleoil territory. I hadn’t realised that the newspaper business was quite that badly off…

    We all know what happened when Slater took over at the Truth…it went under big time. Perhaps that should’ve been a warning to the Herald that such muckraking isn’t appreciated by enough Kiwi’s to keep a printed syndication afloat.

  3. Tsubasa 3

    There is a great piece by Bryce Edwards on the issue: http://liberation.typepad.com/liberation/2014/06/the-liu-donations-to-labour-discrediting-the-electoral-act.html

    At the very least, even die-hard Labour supporters have to admit the whole thing is murky, and it’s not enough to simply dismiss this as a media conspiracy. The fact is that both Labour and National have repeatedly resisted calls for more transparency surrounding political donations, lobbying, etc in recent years. The whole Liu saga could have been avoided if it weren’t for this reluctance, displayed by both of our main parties.

    The fact that an insider like you, LPRENT, did not hear anything about this shady character’s donations is likely to be evidence not of our media slipping into a new Whaloil low, but of how easy it is for parties to get around rules meant to promote transparency. The article by Edwards has some really good points on how that could have been carried out.

    I have to say I agree with John Campbell’s point this week, when he was interviewing Cunliffe: in the end, National and Labour are not all that different, especially when we’re talking about issues of morality and transparency. Sure, National is the bigger evil, but democracy isn’t about choosing the least shady politicians; it’s about choosing people you can genuinely believe in.

    Cunliffe argues this week has galvanized support for him, but personally, it has actually made me even more certain that I made the right choice to be supporting the Green Party.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1

      …but democracy isn’t about choosing the least shady politicians…

      Personally, since I realised that my vote goes to the worst possible party apart from all the other ones I’ve felt a lot less conflicted.

    • lprent 3.2

      At the very least, even die-hard Labour supporters have to admit the whole thing is murky, and it’s not enough to simply dismiss this as a media conspiracy.

      Nope. I want to see some dates and locations. So far all we have seen is bullshit from the NZ Herald.

      The one substantiated detail that they have turned up do far turned out to be a proforma letter from 11 years ago, and they had to have National government ministers helping them for that to be turned into a story.

      The point is that there would have been a lot of people present when this auctions went on. I don’t need records to find out what happened there. All I need are the dates and location.

      I guess that is why the NZ Herald isn’t releasing any information about either. They don’t have a story. What they have is people bullshitting to them and they’re too irresponsible as journalists to locate substantive confirmations. They certainly don’t want someone like me having enough information to prove them wrong…

    • Bill 3.3

      jeezuz wept! According to Edwards…

      In terms of the Labour-Liu scandal, the allegation still needs to be substantiated. The onus is on both Labour and Liu to clarify the situation. Neither can just put the responsibility on the other.

      So next week when John Key, or someone acting off his agenda, comes out and claims that David Cunliffe is a sheep shagger, the onus is on David Cunliffe (and some sheep somewhere?) to substantiate the allegation by proving beyond doubt that he is not and has never been a sheep shagger?!

      I must live in a strange world. Because by my reckoning it would be up to JK or those acting on his behalf to prove the claim, rather than DC or some anonymous sheep somewhere to prove the negative of the scenario.

      Meanwhile Tsubasa, voting either Green or IMP or Labour is just fine. And the resultant balance in the vote will influence the policies and direction of the post election, left bloc government.

      • mickysavage 3.3.1

        Agreed Bill. Liu should clarify the situation and Labour can then respond. Until then it is the worst sort of shadow boxing around where you have to deny something the details of which you do not know and the veracity of which you cannot test.

        • Grumpy 3.3.1.1

          I am sure someone has asked Rick Barker what he was doing on Lui’s river cruise. I think Labour know the whole story, they need to front up or finish up looking a lot worse in the attempted cover up.

          • mickysavage 3.3.1.1.1

            There is absolutely no cover up Grumpy. If the Herald could provide the details I am sure it could be checked on. And I wish they would stop drip feeding the story. It gives a sense that this is a gocha operation and not the investigation of a story.

          • lprent 3.3.1.1.2

            Hasn’t Rick Barker already explained that he was on what he thought was a company cruise. Yep.
            http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11277605

            “It was a surprise to me when I arrived at the boat. There was no prior indication,” Mr Barker said. He was also surprised that staff members from the cement factory he visited earlier were also on the ship. “The front office. The management team. Production workers. Supervisors and technicians. Cleaners and security staff, it felt like everyone from the cement factory and their partners were there. I felt like an intruder on a staff function.”

            Yet the NZ Herald today published the contents of a letter that attributed the whole cost of the trip as some kind of donation to Rick Barker. And didn’t even mention that.

            Doesn’t that surprise you. Looks to me like Savage at the Herald is acting more like Slater. Not as a journalist. More like a smear

            • One Anonymous Bloke 3.3.1.1.2.1

              “Explained…”

              Well he would say that wouldn’t he?

              It was a gift. If he didn’t declare it he should resign his seat forthwith! Oh…

            • Grumpy 3.3.1.1.2.2

              One does not travel 1800km out of one’s way to go on a river cruise with someone one does not know, does one?

              • newsense

                Where is he claiming he doesn’t know him?

                How does this mean that him getting special access to push his proposed immigration changes and getting Maurice Williamson ringing the police while there is an on-going domestic violence investigation is satisfactory?

          • McFlock 3.3.1.1.3

            well, I’m growing more sure that the entire thing is an invention by tories.

        • Bill 3.3.1.2

          Well no. The mud slingers from National should justify their shit by showing what evidence they have. Asking Liu to clarify is like Cunliffe approaching the sheep, no?

    • Draco T Bastard 3.4

      At the very least, even die-hard Labour supporters have to admit the whole thing is murky, and it’s not enough to simply dismiss this as a media conspiracy.

      Not murky at all. Someone, somewhere is lying and it doesn’t appear to be Labour.

  4. One Anonymous Bloke 4

    More dancing to National’s tune.

    A whole week of it thus far. Why would they stop smearing and diverting from the issues? It works so well.

    ‘Lyndon was running about 10 points behind, with only nine days to go… He was sunk in despair. He was desperate… he called his equally depressed campaign manager and instructed him to call a press conference at two or two-thirty ( just after lunch on a slow news day) and accuse his high-riding opponent (the pig farmer) of having routine carnal knowledge of his barnyard sows, despite the pleas of his wife and children… His campaign manager was shocked. ‘We can’t say that, Lyndon,’ he said. ‘It’s not true.’ ‘Of course it’s not,’ Johnson barked at him, ‘but let’s make the bastard deny it.’

    HST

    • Anne 4.1

      The NZ Herald and H.O.S. now prefer to believe this man:

      A senior police officer in China will investigate a wealthy businessman’s involvement in a bribery trial and subsequent citizenship application in New Zealand.

      The Herald revealed yesterday that Donghua Liu, whose links to the National Party led to a senior minister’s resignation, gave cut-price real estate deals to a Chinese politician and received business favours in return.

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11267085

      Hmmm… and he’s also pleaded guilty to domestic assault charges in NZ.

      But of course he’s a a much more reliable witness than either the president and leader… or the former president of the NZ Labour Party.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.1

        Frankly if he’s fallen foul of the “Justice System” of the People’s Central Committee he should be granted immediate citizenship as a political refugee.

    • meconism 4.2

      That is exactly the story that sprung to mind for me as well.

  5. barry 5

    But,

    Rick Barker must know if he was given a free $50 000 cruise in China. I know he is saying he can’t remember dinner, but a cruise is almost like a helicopter ride.

    If he can’t come out and categorically deny it (and account for his time in China) then he is in some trouble surely.

    I too, find the $100 000 purchase of wine at a Labour fundraiser hard to believe. It would have stood out like .

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      It’s already been established that Barker must resign from Parliament.

    • Lanthanide 5.2

      A cruise is considerably longer than a helicopter ride. It’s reasonable to expect there might be photographs from a cruise, but not from a helicopter ride, for example.

    • Again with the spin. “A free $50,000 cruise” is not the same as “spent $50,000 on a cruise.”

      Assuming (and it is purely assumption) that Liu is telling the truth, it’s not difficult to see how a dinner cruise involving boat charter, fancy dinner for all Liu’s staff, alcohol, entertainment, sound system, and taxi chits to get everyone home easily adds up to a (ridiculously) large amount of money.

      For comparison: it’s only slightly more than Tim Groser spent on a two-day trip to Paris.
      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/6734597/Minister-budgets-44-000-for-trip

    • Anne 5.4

      A free $50,000 cruise in China?

      What Barker recalls is an off the cuff invite to attend a dinner function with Liu, which turned out to be a staff function on a boat. It sure wasn’t a cruise. If this is Liu’s latest allegation then the man’s clearly lying or barry’s lying.

      • mickysavage 5.4.1

        Certainly it was not a $50k gift to Barker if that is the case. And in any event it was a gift to Barker and not Labour.

        • Anne 5.4.1.1

          Barker spelled it out in detail 2 or 3 days ago. I think it was RNZ’s Checkpoint programme. He also challenged Liu to provide affidavits so he (Barker) would know exactly when the donations etc. were supposed to have occurred, so that he could check the facts. Liu declined to oblige.

          • Anne 5.4.1.1.1

            Oh and Barker arrived at the place where the dinner was being held to be confronted by a boat. Perhaps it was lost in translation, but he wasn’t even aware he was being taken to a boat. That squashes any idea he went on a $50,000 cruise because he wouldn’t have had his toothbrush with him.

            • RedLogix 5.4.1.1.1.1

              Whether it was primarily a staff function that Barker happened to be invited along to – or a staff function that was organised to honour Barker’s visit seems to have been completely lost in translation.

              Either way it seems utterly absurd to suggest it was in any sense a $50,000 donation or gift of any kind to Barker.

  6. hellonearthis 6

    It was not a donation it was a purchase at a fundraiser and was legally did not need to be declared under the rules at that time being different from a donation.
    It’s all just distracting tripe and a backup up for National to use the ‘they did it too’ card.
    I wish the press would get over this and start to look at what policies the parties are offering for the future and not trivial pursuits from the pasts.
    I also wish the journos would look as deeply into current statements by parties when they contradict another parties policies, giving figures they pull out of their ass. Or just make up stuff, like John Key did on ‘the Nation’ when he said the USA invaded Iraq because of a civil war, when is was because of weapons of mass destruction (turned out to be lies) and the civil war was in Afghanistan. What a mistake by the Minister of our intelligence agencies and yet, they press didn’t say, um sorry John WTF you talking about.
    But the main point needed about these financing issues is “We need a Electoral Finance Act”

    • tsmithfield 6.1

      As I pointed out above, if it was a purchase, then Labour should have declared GST on the proceeds. If they have done this, then all is fine. However, if they are telling the electoral commmission that it was a sale, and IRD that it was a donation, then they could be in trouble IMO.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1

        If what was a purchase?

        Baby steps, Amygdala-Boy, show us the proof of your allegations.

      • lprent 6.1.2

        As someone else pointed out. Second hand goods do not have GST.

        Someone would have paid GST when they purchased the book prior to Helen signing it.

        Your argument is both silly and farcical.

        • tsmithfield 6.1.2.1

          The IRD doesn’t seem to agree with you. They have plenty to say about GST on second-hand goods.

          Your turn.

          • Grumpy 6.1.2.1.1

            Correct, as pointed out earlier.

          • lprent 6.1.2.1.2

            Yes they do. For exports and the like.

            However not for sales of second hand goods on auction sites. Haven’t you ever used trademe? Nor for selling houses by individuals when it isn’t a business. etc

            Please point to a policy about selling second hand goods in an auction… Basically you are grasping at straws.

            • tsmithfield 6.1.2.1.2.1

              In my business we have sold plenty of second-hand goods (items of excess equipment, vehicles no longer required etc) to members of the public. These sales often haven’t been part of our core business. We have always had to declare these sales as inclusive of GST.

              Also, we have purchased second-hand items from various private individuals. So long as we have had evidence of the purchase our accountant has been happy to claim the GST on these items, even though they haven’t come from a GST registered person.

              So, I think you need to check your facts. If Labour is GST registered, and especially if they were claiming GST on the expenses associated with these auctions, then they should have been paying GST on the proceeds of sales. Anyway, only Labour will know the true situation in this respect.

              • lprent

                Maybe so. But the Labour party doesn’t run auctions. LEC’s or supporter clubs do. But until the fuckwits at the herald provide enough information we don’t even know what LEC or other body might have done the alleged fundraiser and what that bodies GST status is.

                Basically National should provide details with their smear. But I guess that would be difficult if none of this actually happened.

                • tsmithfield

                  Of course I have no idea of the structure all this was done under.

                  All I have been pointing out is that using a loophole to avoid an obligation on one side of the equation can create an obligation somewhere else.

                  So long as someone has thought all this through then it may well be OK. However, what makes me suspicious is that declaring it for GST would of course cost the GST component, so it would reap a lot more money if the funds were declared as a donation.

                  • lprent

                    Well since we can’t even find when and where these ‘purchases’ were made – probably because someone is lying through their teeth, it is moot anyway.

              • Colonial Viper

                In my business we have sold plenty of second-hand goods (items of excess equipment, vehicles no longer required etc) to members of the public. These sales often haven’t been part of our core business. We have always had to declare these sales as inclusive of GST.

                Oh look, the brilliance of National Party supporting business people at work right here.

                Tell me TS, when you first bought those “excess equipment” and “vehicles” did you claim the GST from them as purchased business assets?

                • tsmithfield

                  Already answered above. A GST registered entity can claim the purchase of second-hand goods purchased from a private individual so long as they have proof of the purchase.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Not if there is no GST on that item to claim back!

                    • tsmithfield

                      These transactions are effectively GST inclusive, so there is GST to claim back.

                    • William

                      Yes, you can claim a GST refund when the seller of the secondhand item is not registered.
                      See IRD

                      I recall the reason is because when the registered entity subsequently resells the item they will have to account for gst. If for example they sell at the same price they bought the item, they’d otherwise be suffering a 15% loss, hardly equitable. The same applies if they cease to be registered.
                      The IRD would have received GST on the new price when it was originally sold, effectively they’re just continuing the cycle that places the GST cost on the final buyer.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      William, thank you for your reply.

  7. fender 7

    The Herald is a joke, the sooner it disappears behind a pay wall the better. I look forward to seeing them go bankrupt financially as well as ethically.

  8. Wayne 8

    Iprent,

    This seems a highly risky strategy by you. As I have said, for Labour (including you) to be going into this whole territory was, and is, a mistake. I am not talking about the Williamson letter, but the donations issue.

    Does it really seem likely to you that the Herald has no more information? They have known of this statement by Donghua Liu for some time, but have only now decided to release it.

    From my experience with the Media, once they start asking direct and pointed questions, it is because they know a whole lot more.

    I had experience of this on Q & A around ANZAC 2011. I was asked to go on Q & A to talk about ANZAC. I must say I thought at the time there could be more to it than simply a discussion on the meaning of ANZAC. So Guyon Espiner proceeds to to ask a few innocuous questions about ANZAC day.

    Then without warning, he asked “Tell me about the reprisal raid in Baglan last year”. I had to instantly work out that he knew everything about the operation, so saying “We don’t talk about SAS operations” was not an option. So I said “Yes, there was an operation, we were protecting the PRT from the people who had killed Lt O’Donnell”. There were many other pointed question that followed. And if I had said, “We don’t talk about SAS operations”, I could not have answered them, and they were questions that needed to be properly answered.

    Interestingly the NY Times had reported the operation two or three days after it occurred, with all the details, but not that it had involved the NZSAS. ISAF routinely puts out press releases about it’s operations, where they know they will become public in any event. In NZ we just don’t have the specialist defence journalists who can work out what is going on, who know all the relevant provinces of Afghanistan, and who read every single ISAF press release, and who have daily contact with ISAF and their media team. Well, possibly John Stephenson.

    Anyway the point of all of this, is that what has happened on donations has been perfectly predictable. In fact the PM, some weeks ago, in answer to questions in Parliament (as I recall), actually said that it would not be a good idea for Labour to pursue the issue of donations, because of Labour’s own involvement.

    And I used to see things like that when I was in Parliament (usually a “warning” given by Helen Clark or Michael Cullen). Sometimes the hint was taken, sometimes it was not. It was usually better to take on board the hint.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1

      So Maurice and Judith and Banksie are off the hook because political donations?

      Nice try Dr. Mapp.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.2

      A conversation about what you did that made New Zealand fall back in with that Four Eyes crowd is out of bounds because political donations, Dr. Mapp?

      Just exactly how many uses does your “…but but but Laaaaabbbbbboooooouuuuuurrrrrr” get-out-of answering-hard-questions free card have, Dr. Mapp?

    • mickysavage 8.3

      You are right Wayne in that the story has morphed from Williamson breaching a cabinet rule on interfering with police prosecutions which is justifiably prohibited into one of donations in general. But that is not Labour’s fault. The media has been manipulated into moving their attention.

    • lprent 8.4

      This seems a highly risky strategy by you. As I have said, for Labour (including you) to be going into this whole territory was, and is, a mistake. I am not talking about the Williamson letter, but the donations issue.

      Why? I’m not the Labour party.

      If there are problems with the donations system then I’d like to know about it myself for both Labour and National. After all there is the story about $50k being paid at an auction in 2007 for John Key’s tie.

      http://liberation.typepad.com/liberation/2010/12/pansy-wongs-dubious-solicitation-of-political-funding.html

      Besides I’m of the view that whole of the political system should be state funded and NO donations apart from volunteering should be taken from anyone. Lets just retroactively open up the whole system running back to say 1999 and put in some real controls for the future. Thats what I’d like to do.

      The way that the NZ Herald has been handling this reminds me of the way Whaleoil operates – completely irresponsibly. In the meantime if they have verifiable information. Then lets have it. Getting some allegations from a letter that has no background or verification is just stupid.

      So far through this saga, what we have seen is the anatomy of a smear campaign without any useful checkable verification from the Herald. That needs to stop, or I can’t see why journalists need any more protection under the law than we do.

      Anyway the point of all of this, is that what has happened on donations has been perfectly predictable. In fact the PM, some weeks ago, in answer to questions in Parliament (as I recall), actually said that it would not be a good idea for Labour to pursue the issue of donations, because of Labour’s own involvement.

      And I used to see things like that when I was in Parliament (usually a “warning” given by Helen Clark or Michael Cullen). Sometimes the hint was taken, sometimes it was not. It was usually better to take on board the hint.

      Yeah, the MAD approach to how things operate. However I tend to view this as being non-transparent and generally not in the public interest.

      Anyone who knows how I operate around political parties is entirely aware that I don’t like that approach. I provide my skills towards the commonweal. I’ll even donate money in this rather daft system that the National party has set up over the years. I rail against the types of secrets like anonymous donations of something like the Waitemata Trust.

      If the National party or the NZ Herald had supported the obvious transparency of the Electoral Finance Act of late 2007 rather than repealing it and replacing it with the half-arsed act of 2011, then we’d have been long past this kind of problem.

      • Ant 8.4.1

        It seems like National’s messaging is winning this one, shifting the conversation to be about donations in general. The problem is not people donating money, but the dirty habit National have of giving people favours for their donations.

        They’ve very effectively changed the conversation the same way they did with ‘the battle of the mansions’, everyone seems to fall for it.

    • McFlock 8.5

      so your evidence that the media never ask questions to fish for further information is that you caved immediately at the first question from Espiner and provided further information.

      • Wayne 8.5.1

        McFlock,

        But I knew what was going to happen next (or at least I had a reasonable sense of what Q & A likely knew about the operation, and what the line of questions would be). And given that there was an allegation that civilians had been killed (noted in the NY Times article and subsequently investigated by ISAF). I knew it was imperative that any such questions be properly answered. And in fact Guyon did ask this question.

        In fact our soldiers were being attacked by armed Taliban (AK 47’s and the like), and this was the source of the allegation.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 8.5.1.1

          What do you think of the fact that these matters can’t be discussed because donations, Dr. Mapp?

        • McFlock 8.5.1.2

          It would have been interesting to see what Espiner would have asked if you hadn’t confirmed the existence of an operation and provided additional details.

          edit: and, closer to the current issue, what would you have said if NYT had alleged an operation that didn’t happen?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.6

      Your silence speaks volumes, Dr. Mapp.

      I pay attention to your contributions because for one thing, I think you’re a better wingnut, and yet the cat haz yr tongue.

      • Wayne 8.6.1

        One Anonymous Bloke

        My comments have really been about the strategy, not the specific facts. It is an area with a huge risk of blowback.

        And in fact a large number of people, including the PM were warning Labour, “Don’t go there”.

        Pretty obvious really, but if Labour wants to spend a month talking about donations, thats their call. And this site has been part of that enthusiasm.

        Well at least Labour is in the news, but is it in a good way?

        • lprent 8.6.1.1

          The real question is why National can’t even organize a smear that has some factual basis. So far they are looking like a pack of incompetent fools.

          The pm disagrees with his deputy. Woodhouse changes his story 3 times in a day. Nationals sock puppets at the herald assert that a labour fundraiser is done on Sunday in a long weekend

          FFS what crap will they spin this week from john keys top drawer?

        • felix 8.6.1.2

          What are you and Key so scared of, Wayne? Why do you want so badly to shut down this topic?

          Maurice is gone. Judith’s story is all known by anyone who wants to know.

          Or is it? What’s still secret that you and Key are so desperate to hide?

        • newsense 8.6.1.3

          So John Key promised us a dirty campaign because he had one lined up?

          Your cash for access deals are appalling. The law change hasn’t fixed that. Judith Collins looking after her husband’s company is a conflict of interest. There is no change there.

          So tell us what you know Wayne. Or is it now your M.O. to have the National Party run by the Whaleoil lot as well as the mayoral campaign? What happened to the principled conservatives? Are there any left? Or have they all resigned for ambitious amoral puppies like Simon Bridges?

    • geoff 8.7

      Wayne Mapp – always has Labour’s best interests at heart…

  9. Blue 9

    Does the NZ Herald have journalists?

    No, they don’t. I will personally be referring to them as ‘content providers’ from now on, because they do not deserve the designation ‘journalist’ and it would probably make me physically sick to refer to them as such.

  10. ianmac 10

    Should have put this here rather than Open Mike.
    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.

    • NZ Femme 10.1

      Maybe Liu has caught Key’s brain fade affliction and has confused which party he actually donated to.

  11. Jan 11

    Moira Coatsworth of the Labour Party says they have been provided with the date of 3 June 2007 for the fundraiser in question but no record of fundraisers on that day can be found. It is interesting that the day was a Sunday, I would have imagined that a fundraiser of the magnitude described would more likely have been a Friday or Saturday, in my experience Sundays were reserved for small family type gatherings such as barbecues at the Member of Parliament’s house, or picnics, though maybe not in mid-winter. Most MPs with families tried hard to keep Sundays for those families. There must be someone from that weekend who can remember if anything momentous (and that price for a bottle of wine is momentous believe me) happened then and surely Rick Barker’s diaries would show an event of that nature. Obviously the Herald is not going to provide any details to back up its muck-raking accusations unless they are required to in a court of law

    • lprent 11.1

      https://www.labour.org.nz/media/statement-moira-coatsworth-labour-party-president-donghua-liu-reported-allegations-summary

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

      22 JUN 2014

      1. 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.
      2. 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.
      3. 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.
      4. 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.
      5. 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.
      6. 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.

      On a Sunday. In the middle of queens birthday weekend? No-one schedules fund-raiser auctions when everyone is off having a holiday.

      Pfft… It just went into complete fantasy and I suspect that both the Herald’s and Liu’s credibility went out of the window.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1.1

        Pfft. The low level of the Herald’s credibility was never in question. Liu gets the benefit of the doubt for his courage in risking the death penalty for supporting the wrong gang in China, but the Herald? Pfft.

  12. Sanctuary 12

    Labour should demand a retraction and an apology from the Herald/APN, and/or sue them.

    • Anne 12.1

      +1

      I doubt they would have any trouble raising the money required in legal fees to sue them for false misrepresentation of facts. And I say that even if it is discovered Liu gave a donation (anonymously) or bought something at a fundraising auction for say $1000 to $5000. I doubt it would have been much more than that.

      • Colonial Viper 12.1.1

        I doubt they would have any trouble raising the money required in legal fees to sue them for false misrepresentation of facts.

        Lack of appropriate and journalistic due diligence around cross checking facts and sources.

        • Anne 12.1.1.1

          Lack of appropriate and journalistic due diligence around cross checking facts and sources.

          Well, its better than false misrepresentaion of facts.
          Bit of an oxymoron there methinks.

  13. karol 13

    The way I see things unfolding is this:

    Rumours of an affidavit a couple of days ago. Stuff reported that lawyers were poring over an affidavit because it lacked documentation.

    Yesterday, NZ Herald reports that Liu says he won’t be producing an affidavit of any further statements. I took this to mean the affidavit was rejected by the lawyers because it didn’t stand up to scrutiny – lack of documentation and all.

    Today the Herald reports they have a May 3 signed statement from Liu. Is this the rejected affidavit, or a statement that was a forerunner to the affidavit – and with as little documented evidence as the affidavit?

    So did the Herald, having been promised an affidavit that never eventuated, decide to go with the earlier statement – in the semblance of providing more evidence to smear Labour with?

    Is Liu to be trusted? And why is it a problem if it was legal, and did not mean cash for favours?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1

      Of course Liu is to be trusted: he can be trusted to donate to the government of the day.

    • ianmac 13.2

      Maybe Liu realised that the affidavit would have to actually true. Oops. Too hard.

  14. Clemgeopin 14

    Here is the present president of Labour party, Mrs Moira Coatsworth’s comment:

    Labour president Moira Coatsworth has hit back at reports wealthy businessman Donghua Liu made large donations to the party, repeating Labour’s position that it has no records of them.

    In a written statement Coatsworth said several media organisations had reported 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,” she said.

    She said the Herald on Sunday today reported that Liu signed a statement claiming he paid “close to $100,000″ for wine at a 2007 Labour Party fundraiser, but it had refused to provide Labour with a copy “or let us read the statement”.

    “We consider this to be a denial of natural justice,” she said.

    She said the newspaper disclosed to Labour that Liu’s statement claimed the fundraiser was held on June 3, 2007.

    “We have found no record of any fundraiser held on that date.”
    [MY NOTE : READ THAT AGAIN]

    Coatsworth said Labour had not been approached by the Electoral Commission nor 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.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10187565/Labour-fights-new-Liu-donation-claims

    A few points:

    [1] Labour has to take the fight back to National who are causing all these dirty tricks destabilisation. National needs to feel the backlash of the party and the public. The public are fair minded and will see through the evil ways of the right wing sleaze machine.

    [2] Labour should. at the same time, begin to release all the policies one by one in spite of these RWNJ sewer politics.

    [3] Labour should announce that if they are in government, then within the first 100 days, they will introduce legislation to revamp the party donation laws. It should in my opinion state that every donation to a political party by any individual or any entity over a certain low amount, (I suggest $499) can not be anonymous.

    [4] Demand National to come clean as to how much this character has donated to National from 2007 to now.

  15. Clemgeopin 15

    Take a look at the biased anti Labour so called news storiers dished out to the media from our so called ‘objective and fair ‘”journalists”:

    Compare Mr Cunliffe’s (1) response during Q and A on TV1 this morning regarding the latest donation allegations and attack on him in the first link and (2) The reporting of it on One News 6 pm today by Damien Christie on the second link where only one or two of his statements were mentioned:

    http://tvnz.co.nz/q-and-a-news/no-evidence-donations-david-cunliffe-video-6009562

    http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/david-cunliffe-rejects-unsubstantiated-donation-allegations-video-6009761

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