A random impertinent question about Donghua Liu

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 pm, February 21st, 2015 - 61 comments
Categories: john key, scoundrels - Tags: ,

Donghua Liu John Key

I am writing a post about the Donghua Liu timeline for tomorrow but one question jumps up and I wonder what the answer is.  Crowdsourcing help would be appreciated.

Today the Herald announced that Liu donated to the National Party the sum of $25,000 in August 2013.  It was said that the donation was to Jami Lee Ross’s Botany campaign.

Liu does not appear to be a details person.  His comments about the donation to Labour which includes a rowing club and a Chinese cement factory reinforce this.  Did he intend to donate it to Ross and not National?

The amount, $25,000, is above the the amount that can be donated anonymously to a party.  It has to be declared.

The National return for 2013 donations does not appear to include this particular donation.  It was dated April 30, 2014 and this is after the problems with Liu and Maurice Williamson became public but a day before Williamson’s resignation.

And it does not appear in Lee-Ross’s return of pecuniary interests.

So have I missed something or is National trying to pull a swifty?

61 comments on “A random impertinent question about Donghua Liu”

  1. Gruntie 1

    That’s why they “gave it back”
    So they can say they never used it – cos they know it stinks of corruption- again

  2. dv 2

    Does giving it back mean they didn’t need to declare it?

    • mickysavage 2.1

      If it has been returned immediately I am not sure but according to the Herald it was returned over 12 months later.

  3. joe90 3

    First the Hurricanes, now this – (▰˘◡˘▰)

  4. Anne 4

    Last night, Jami-Lee Ross said he did not intend to insult Mr Liu and any negative publicity associated to the businessman was not the reason the $25,000 was returned.

    He said the Liu donation was given to be used in the local Botany campaign, but was not spent as a $24,000 donation from the National Party covered his expenses.

    “So when the [donation and expense] returns were being put together after the election, it was decided the $25,000 should be returned to the donor because it was not used.

    Will anyone fall for that load of gobbledygook? The National Party returning money? An amateurish attempt to cover up the existence of the donation I’ll be bound.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11405494

    • mickysavage 4.1

      There is a sense of desperation and Crosby Textor designed lines to avoid the proposition that National and/or Lee-Ross should have declared the donation but did not. And I get the feeling Lee-Ross is being offered up as a scape goat.

      • Anne 4.1.1

        Don’t forget Lee-Ross figures prominently in “Dirty Politics” – a mate of Slater’s.

        • Lanthanide 4.1.1.1

          You mean, is mentioned a couple of times in passing?

          • Anne 4.1.1.1.1

            More than that Lanthanide. He was a regular communicator with Slater. He’s mentioned in email dispatches quite a few times. His candidacy was actively supported by Slater although in the latter part of the book there appeared to be some disagreement or parting of the ways.

        • linda 4.1.1.2

          he a very good mate of slug boy, as a side note does anyone know anything about the 400 names given to shonkey by the chinas president.

      • Paul 4.1.2

        Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy…..

      • whateva next? 4.1.3

        yet, I don’t think $25,000 would have been donated if it were only Lee-Ross who went for dinner

      • Clemgeopin 4.1.4

        “And I get the feeling Lee-Ross is being offered up as a scape goat”

        He often comes across as bit of a goat in his comments anyway!

        Now may be being readied to be the sacrificial goat in this Chinese year of the goat.

    • Clemgeopin 4.2

      These corrupt bastards think that they can fool most of the people all the time.
      Lucky our National party politicians aren’t in China where they shoot the buggers!

  5. whateva next? 5

    I think it was returned 14 months later?, accusations around Cunliffe having “supported” him years prior to his charge, fall a bit flat now……no wonder these guys are so loaded with scruples of sewer rats.

  6. Neil 6

    Something stinks here & its emanating from this donation not being declared, you’re quite right there Mickey, I looked at that to about it not in their declaration & seen it wasn’t listed. This has surely got to be a major embarrassment to Key that he has been caught out blatantly lying & also goes to show how much The Herald is in the Nats pockets.

  7. Stuart Munro 7

    The Herald’s behaviour in this is particularly disgusting – Cunliffe – writes a form letter: told to resign – Key accepts a donation and illegally conceals it: that’s ok, the Herald fully endorses political corruption.

  8. Ovid 8

    Did Liu get a receipt? Did he claim the donation with the IRD? If so, did he return any tax refund when he got the donation back?

  9. Upnorth 9

    It was returned that what matters – lets be fair here, Labour did retrospective donation law changes, and all parties dont declare time donated in lieu (no pun intended).

    Review the law on donations

    See here is how I see it:
    Anyone who makes a 10.00 or a 1m donation has the same objective – keep the govt of the day in power or help change govt. The motives are the same no matter the value.

    There is zero difference – see PSA donated a huge amount of resources to change the govt and laws at the last election – is that going to be declared by the left bloc – NO.

    Of course the Nats knew and of course Labour knew – the decision was to refund and has been done. If it hadnt then I agree on full frontal assualt.

    Solution
    Monthly returns – that will keep the papework tight and take out any time line conspiracies

  10. irascible 10

    The Herald’s story implies that Ross gave Lui back his original cheque – 15 months after the donation was given him…and then, immediately after the HO of the National Party donated the same amount to Ross’s campaign account.
    This has the look of COVER UP and corruption around both Key and Ross. I look forward to John Armstrong and the Herald Editorial calling for the immediate resignation of all involved. (fat chance!)

  11. Rob 11

    Where is John Armstrong when you need him eh?
    John key will probably not remember the dinner but that will not be a problem either eh!

  12. tc 12

    Nothing a little retrospective law under urgency cant fix, gee its good to be king and rule over the land as we please.

    worse case they throw JLR under the bus, hes tainted by DP and botanys due for another dodgy nat mp anyway. Could get a discount down at sockpuppet warehouse while they shop for northland and stash a few away for laters.

  13. mary_a 13

    Dirty cash, dirty activities, dirty politics, dirty money laundering, all involving one very dirty PM!

    More odious stench of corruption!

    Hardly surprising is it, given John Key is leading a very filthy game?

  14. coaster 14

    Did they bank the chq?. If they did it should have been declared.

    im starting to think national arnt that corrupt, there just hopeless at managing anything, but are good at covering there arses after they have stuffed up.

  15. Visubversaviper 15

    The Herald story says that the donation was mde to the “Botany Cabinet Club”. These Cabinet Clubs are part of the Nats atempt to disguise who is giving them $$$$.

  16. john 16

    If the money was returned after the electoral return was filed them common sense dictates it should have been included in the return. They charged porr old Banksy for the same re Kim Dotcom

    • rawshark-yeshe 16.1

      Actually John, no, they didn’t. Banks’ prosecution was regarding a mayoral election campaign.

  17. According to the NZ Herald story:

    Outside court, he told the Herald he gave $25,000 to Mr Ross through the “Botany Cabinet Club” and “subsequently this amount was refunded”.

    We don’t know much about how these “Cabinet Clubs” work, but it is possible that National has set them up so that in theory donations made to them are a “candidate donation” to an individual electorate organisation. As such, they don’t have to be declared until after the next general election (rather than annually, as is the case for party donations) and Lee-Ross doesn’t have to include it in his declaration of pecuniary interests (campaign donations are exempted from this).

    • mickysavage 17.1

      Thanks Andrew. I was under the impression that cabinet club donations were declared by the party.

      TV3 said the following in an article last year (http://www.3news.co.nz/politics/paying-club-gets-access-to-national-mps-2014050616#axzz3SPdXUirs):

      3 News can reveal details about a fundraising network used by the National Party to get donations in exchange for access to MPs and ministers.

      The Green Party is calling it a secret racket, but because the donations are declared there are no rules broken.

      The first rule of Cabinet Club is you do not talk about Cabinet Club. Four National MPs 3 News spoke with said they were not sure what it was.

      The National Party holds 42 electorate seats which fundraise through functions.

      Supporters pay a fee or donation to the party to attend three or four “informal luncheon/breakfast get-togethers”. They get access to ministers who attend, though the party claims “not in a ministerial capacity”.

      MPs choose how their Cabinet Clubs are run. It’s what National MP Nick Smith calls “pizza politics”.

      The National Party won’t say how much it makes from Cabinet Club. Donations between $1500 and $15,000 are declared but anonymous.

      National received 185 anonymous donations in that threshold last year, raising $866,000.

      The return is here (http://www.elections.org.nz/sites/default/files/plain-page/attachments/national_party_donations_return_2013.pdf)

      I took it from the article that the donations were declared.

      • Andrew Geddis 17.1.1

        I guess the devil is in this detail:

        MPs choose how their Cabinet Clubs are run. It’s what National MP Nick Smith calls “pizza politics”.

        If Lee-Ross is spruiking for personal donations (rather than party ones) then he can hide them away until after the election. Maybe other clubs are run in a different way?

        (Note, but – $25,000 buys a hell of a lot of pizza!)

      • Clemgeopin 17.1.2

        Was this latest issue covered by TV1 or TV3 news yesterday or not?

    • Anne 17.2

      Thanks for that Andrew Geddis.

      I think we can safely say the primary purpose of the “Cabinet Clubs” are/were to effectively ‘launder’ some of their donations.

      They lost much of their previous ‘laundering’ strategy when the Clark government changed the Electoral Act. Large donations were deposited in $9,999 lots and that way they didn’t have to declare them. It was also a strategy practiced by ACT in the 1990s and early 2000s. In those days John Boscawen was in charge of their finances, so it was no surprise to me when he spear-headed the “DEMOCRACY UNDER ATTACK” meme (ably supported by the NZ Herald) later that decade. He would have been sore at having his cosy little number pulled out from under his feet.

    • Stuart Munro 17.3

      Yeah – it’ll be like the shell fishing companies that employ the slave workers – no NZ company is ever liable for anything. Bad enough at sea, in politics it’s worse.

  18. freedom 18

    I’ll just leave this here, again

    Want to get some transparency into the funding of politics in New Zealand?

    Perhaps it Is time for an Election Donation Register of New Zealand ?

    THE EDRNZ:
    The EDRNZ is an escrow body which collects and distributes donations for all local and central government election candidates and or political parties.

    Any party or individual standing in local or central government elections registers with the EDRNZ and is paid donated monies minus an administrative tax.

    A handling fee is applied on all donations for administration of the EDRNZ.
    This could be a small tax deducted from the donation itself.

    KiwiBank is an obvious choice to administrate the fund.

    All donations are deposited and logged with the EDRNZ then distributed to the relevant party or individual. With modern banking on-line processes this would be an efficient near instantaneous transaction from donation to EDRNZ to candidate. (especially quick if the candidate banked with KiwiBank)

    it would also be completely transparent and accountable to the current agencies tasked with overseeing the funding mechanisms of NZ politics.

    DONATIONS:

    Private donations below $1,000 can be anonymous but are still declared on a public register.

    Any individual or private donation over $1000 is not anonymous and is declared on a public register.

    Any donations from a business or charity are not anonymous and are declared.

    Donations from a trust, of any amount, would not be anonymous and must be declared on the register. Occasional audits of the anonymous “private donations” should show up attempts to circumvent this.

    Any private donation of any amount not made in the name of a NZ citizen or resident of NZ would not be anonymous and must be declared on the public register.

    All cash donations, bucket collections, electoral office collections and ‘raffle’ sales etc are processed/declared as per origin of funds. -this is an obvious grey area for cases where this total exceeds $1000 but it is hardly an insurmountable obstacle.

    The circumstances of its collection would show the totals were legitimate. E.g. the deposit slip from bucket collections. Large single donations (over the $1000 limit) are very rare from a bucket day (I am confident dodo eggs would be more common).

    If such a donation was made however, a donor’s details could easily be logged by the collector or alternatively the donation can be made using any number of modern technical services such as mobile Eftpos and Square, for example.

    THE PUBLIC REGISTER:
    Your vote is your vote and that should always be private information between you and the relevant electoral body. When it comes to political donations however, I strongly feel if you don’t want people to know you donated to a particular party then why are you donating to that party?

    I am confident NZ could produce a public register detailing the donated amount with an associated donor identity that does so without signing away excessive amounts of private data. The Addresses or locality of the donor for example need not be specific or even public, but would of course be available to the proper agencies if any irregularities had to be investigated. The transfer of data to the EDRNZ Public Register would not need to be instantaneous and a weekly or even monthly update would suffice.

    It would not be difficult to shape a register with the suitable oversights, which also provides the necessary social protections.

    There are numerous opportunities to massively overcomplicate the environment of a body like EDRNZ, and despite the spin-doctored wailing and the gnashing of teeth from some heavily invested interest groups, the actual mechanics of its operation are incredibly straightforward and there is no reason for it not to operate efficiently and most importantly, transparently.

    Transparency in the funding of politics … it is not difficult.

  19. linda 19

    let not forget the 400 names chinas president give shonkey and shonkey didn’t seem overly happy about in .

  20. adam 20

    I’m confused – if you get a gift and it’s worth a lot of money – in this case almost twice the basic income of a single person on a benefit.

    Why would you hold on to said gift for longer than a year with the intention of giving it back?

    Why would you then have to use spin, to explain said gift?

    And finally, how many people can the PM throw under the bus – till his backbench revolts?

  21. Treetop 21

    How many names does Donghua Liu go by?

    Have all names been checked?

  22. In business, to accept gifts of any kind from suppliers are a huge ethical violation.
    Undeclared conflicts of interest when tendering work are automatic disqualifiers.
    These kinds of deals are called kickbacks and bribes, and totally illegal.

    But ethics for sale seems to be built in to National’s DNA.

  23. scotty 23

    Armstrongs ‘ next Herald column should be a beauty.

    His demand for Key to resign ,over the latest Donghua Liu donation scandal – should segue nicely into his overdue apology to David Cunliffe

    • adam 23.1

      scotty – If Armstrong apologise to Cunliffe – me who has love of labour – will give the Kelston labour MP a donation.

    • Stuart Munro 23.2

      Nah, it’ll be an exhaustive critique of Russel Norman’s hairstyle.

  24. SMILIN 24

    Appears Chancellor Key is true to form of his tenure as PM
    When is the whole country going to learn the phrase “Sovereign Nation “

  25. Rolf 25

    Be a bit more sensitive instead of always throwing dirt on and persecuting China and Chinese. Every piece of dirt slinging means one less kiwi affair with the Chinese, one less bottle milk sold in China and one less can of formula sold in China. etc. In China, if a politician helps a Chinese in business then it is normal, an unwritten obligation, and not corruption to support his party or group. China has today nine political parties. In China, the money is handed to the politician, who hands it to his party. In New Zealand it is different when politicians try to help business. . Kiwis need to understand that all the rest of the world does not follow Kiwi culture or laws. Now kiwis are just freezing themselves out of the entire Asian community, and instead borrowing money to sustain their welfare.

    • Clemgeopin 25.1

      Rolf, you unethical idiot. What you are advocating is that we Kiwis should become a corrupt country just like those corrupt countries.

      We DON’T need to do that. We must NOT do that. Instead, let them do business in an ethical manner using our liberal laws and institutions that have good ethical rules and lawful procedures.

      We shouldn’t want to sell or do business with corrupt countries/officials using any dirty/unethical/unlawful means.

      It is astonishing that any worthwhile person of character and integrity will even advocate what you are stating. Unbelievable. Do you know that the Chinese government even shoots their corrupt when found guilty?

      I read that the Chinese president has given Key a list (400?) of Chinese immigrants here to be deported back to face charges!

      No, I do not condone capital punishment. But I most certainly do not condone corruption. You shouldn’t too. No one should.

  26. ianmac 26

    Note Mickey has new post up re the Donation.

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