Ashcroft out of Belize into New Zealand?

Written By: - Date published: 9:45 pm, November 1st, 2009 - 29 comments
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‘Lord Ashcroft of Belize’ facing eviction as country turns on him.

This is the heading in an article in today’s Observer. It’s worth a read. Some excerpts:

So extensive are his interests, and so arcane some of his methods, that many Belizeans believe Ashcroft owns businesses that he may not. “He uses so many shell companies you look inside a company and there is another company inside and another inside that, and so on and so on,” said Russell Vellos, editor of Amandala, a leading Belize newspaper that has been a persistent critic of Ashcroft. “He may own lots of businesses around here, but you would never know it.”

For the Tories, too, the row is toxic. The ugly juxtaposition of impoverished Belize and the Tories’ super-wealthy deputy chairman are damaging to the David Cameron brand at a time when the party is trying to escape claims that it is a haven for the rich and powerful.

The row also threatens to focus attention on Ashcroft’s tax status. When he became a peer in 2000, Ashcroft pledged to return to the UK and pay income tax. But despite repeated requests for clarification from opposition parties, Ashcroft’s status remains known only to himself and the taxman.

But Cameron cannot afford to sideline Ashcroft. The peer has given more than £5m in cash and services to the Tory party since 2003, much of it used to shore up prospective MPs fighting marginal seats. His wife, Susan Anstey, has also given hundreds of thousands of pounds in recent months.

Ashcroft is interested in New Zealand. He is the Treasurer of the International Democratic Union, and visited John Key in his private jet just before the last election.

With that background and history, he would have absolutely no difficulty in setting up shell companies registered in New Zealand that could all give $10,000 to the National Party – he gave John Howard $1,000,000 in 2004. It would all be legal and deniable and we would never know.

That’s why much greater transparency about donations is needed in our electoral law. Anything over $1.000 should be disclosed.

29 comments on “Ashcroft out of Belize into New Zealand?”

  1. Gooner 1

    Anything over $1.000 should be disclosed.

    Then he simply gives more lots of $999.

  2. Jared 2

    Is it different when a NZer donates? Or is the last election a distant memory…

  3. sk 3

    The way to deal with this is a $1000 cap, but where what matters is not the entity donating, but rather the beneficial owner of the entity. Like the US one could also restrict donations to tax residents only.

    This is an issue for NZ, given the number of NZ tax exiles who still take an active interest in NZ politics. They do not want to remain resident here and pay tax, but are prepared to donate. Ashcroft is the most extreme example of this in the Anglo world, but only one of very many.

    See also:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/nov/01/lord-ashcroft-conservative-party

  4. prism 4

    Is this tale about Lord Ashcroft true or the summary of the latest new high drama novel or film about the machinations of a formidable wealthy man with plum pie fingers? Obama got in with a broad spectrum sweep of donations, we need to do something here about limiting the rich, never mind the super rich, from playing chess with the rest of us as pawns. State funding for advertising would help and ensure some opportunity for everyone to be heard, and the extra that parties would wish to solicit would be a separate matter.

  5. gitmo 5

    “. State funding for advertising would help and ensure some opportunity for everyone to be heard”

    Excuse me but Fuck off !!

    Why do people insist on giving these twats more money so they can lie to us even more prior to the general election?

  6. So “poor” Lord Ashcroft, the man who so generously helped to finance the return of the war medals and who gave again to help find a missing toddler has met with the ungrateful ire of the people from Belize who want him out of their country. the Island he calls home. The poor man.

    And his Tory peers don’t want him in England either. Hum.

    Well the New Zealand pakeha known for their compassionate nature, what with their generosity towards “needy” people will probably welcome him with open arms.

    The eye of Mordor will without a doubt reside in New Zealand within a few months.

  7. Ianmac 7

    trav: “Well the New Zealand pakeha known for their compassionate nature, what with their generosity towards “needy’ people will probably welcome him with open arms.” Actually not all of we Kiwis unless you count John Key who really truly dinkum loves the Lord. Perhaps a Lord would be better than a Sir which John is lobbying for. “Lord John.” You see quite a ring to it.

  8. I’m sorry to be so generalising but what I meant was the sort of people who can’t see anything wrong with the whole “nobility” inequality bit and who for some reason always assume they are part of that system and when they hear Lord so and so think the world of that person just because he has a title.

  9. prism 9

    Good and intelligent discussion Gitmo!?

  10. prism 10

    I didn’t realise that Lord Ashcroft was that nice sugar daddy that got our victorious medals back, something we couldn’t apparently do on our own. He’s now got street cred obviously. Money is so handy don’t you think, especially lots of it, and a title too. Have we had a really good rort since the winebox diversion of funds in a ring a rosie around the Cook Islands etc.? If there is a rort on its way it could be the making of Winston Peters, he wants to be the comeback kid doesn’t he?

    • Prism,

      I have heard of the Winebox thing but I wasn’t living in NZ at the time.
      Someone pointed out that the Bankers trust was up to it’s ears in the scandals. Funny that was in the time that John Key was one of the big boys there. I’d be keen to read up about out.

    • Oh yes, he is and he is also a major shareholder and participant of the Carlisle group, the biggest baddest military complex powerhouse in the world together with the Bush family and the bin Laden family amongst others.

      Real nice eh?

      Here are some links:

      Carlisle
      More Carlisle.
      More nice business connections
      Oh, and this is also really interesting.

      He’s a real piece of work this mate of Slippery John, the Smiling Assassin. I wonder why that nice Mr. Key would want to hang out with a scumbag like “Lord” Ashcroft and why the secrecy?

      Not that they would conspire of course. the powerful never do, do they?

      • robin 10.2.1

        Holy tangled web of intrigue Batman !

        I can’t figure out if you’re using hallucinogens or whether you should be using hallucinogens.

  11. prism 11

    travellerev Are you interested in knowing a bit more about Winebox? Or are you intrigued by what John Key was actually doing apart from the PR about his stellar financial background?

  12. deWithiel 12

    You mean we could have our own version of ‘Sir’ Allen Stanford here in New Zealand; does this mean that now nice Mr Key has brought back titular honours we can be just like Antigua. Does this mean that ‘Lord’ Ashcroft (or as the dear old New Zealand Herald describes him, so ingenuously and erroneously, ‘the British aristocrat Lord Michael Ashcroft’) could fund the rugby world cup as well as the National party. Does this mean that our climate will get as warm as it is in the Carribean? With these auguries our productivity levels surely will be surpassing those of Australia before you can, oh, I don’t know, find a missing VC or some other gegaw.

  13. rave 13

    NZ is far too small for this guy.

    “Billionaire Tory donor Lord Ashcroft was embroiled in fresh controversy last night after it emerged that he accompanied the shadow foreign secretary to key meetings overseas, amid rumours that he will be given a top foreign policy role in a future Conservative government.

    The Observer can reveal that the peer, who pumps millions of pounds into marginal seats but refuses to say whether he pays tax in Britain, is flying William Hague around the world and went with him on his recent trip to the US, during which Hague met Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, and other key US figures.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/nov/01/lord-ashcroft-conservative-party

    • I agree. Ashcroft is just a robber baron and together with his mates he wants to plunder NZ and after that he’s of to other plunder adventures. He just works in the shadows to facilitate the plunder that’s all.

      The thing is he’s been working on it a long time, secretly and by manipulating the NZ public with his crimestopper antics and secret meetings with is bankster buddy Slppery John.

      • robin 13.1.1

        Holy conspiracy theories Batman !

        Is this the thread for the terminally bewildered ?

        • RedLogix 13.1.1.1

          That’s right Robin. There are no conspiracies. No two or more people have ever met to collude over some matter that they would prefer didn’t see the light of day.

          Never happens.

          • Pascal's bookie 13.1.1.1.1

            Yeah. It’s like sock puppetry doesn’t happen, no one changes their handle, and when they don’t do it, no one can tell because someone clever enough to try sock puppetry would be totes clever enough to also change their writing style, punctuation ticks , and general attitude.

            A higher standard of troll please.

  14. prism 14

    Robin your posts seem infantile. A childish retort about recognising ‘the terminally bewildered’ is that it takes one to know one. You are hereby admitted to this non-exclusive group.

    • Pascal's bookie 14.1

      Robin is an old troll on the Standard prism. Keeps changing his name, but sticks to the same boring, and yes, infantile, style.

      Eg, see if you can spot him on this thread:

      So that’s the plan

      It’s real easy, cause he’s not too smart.

      Also of note: Compare…

      robin
      November 3, 2009 at 8:09 am
      Holy conspiracy theories Batman !

      Is this the thread for the terminally bewildered ?

      with this from today’s open mike…

      gitmo
      November 3, 2009 at 8:00 am
      Lingering doubts about what exactly ?

      [lprent: Good picking. He has used a large number of pseudonyms in the last few months (at least 20). However he doesn’t get many notes and they aren’t for behavior. Some of the comments under a few of the aliases actually make some adequate points. Anyway, he doesn’t trigger moderation instincts at present, so you’ll have to live with him. ]

    • felix 14.2

      prism,

      In those days he used to try to pass as a medical doctor (seriously). He thought it gave his opinions more weight or something.

      He’d plagiarise long doctor-ish texts from around the net and he’d get really stroppy when anyone called him on it.

      I’d find it funny if I didn’t think he actually believed it all himself.

  15. prism 15

    Well holy batman! What will Robin be up to next. Interesting that style of prose can be recognised like style of handwriting. Robin of course could fool everybody by writing considered opinions with long joined-up ideas to enlighten us all!

    • felix 15.1

      …considered opinions with long joined-up ideas to enlighten us all!

      Yep, that’d fool everyone alright!

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