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John Key received gold-nugget donation from mining industry

Written By: - Date published: 3:18 pm, March 30th, 2010 - 69 comments
Categories: Conservation, Environment, Mining - Tags:

According to a West Coast Times article sourced by norightturn, John Key received a $1000 donation in the form of a gold nugget from a mining company. Key has claimed that he “didn’t know” whether he’d received donations from the mining industry. Now it’s pretty clear just how close the connections are between the mining industry and John Key’s National Party are.

A fundraising dinner was held for John Key in 2007 on the West Coast. According to the West Coast Times:

The fundraiser attracted 167 people who had paid $50 each to attend and further funds were being raised with the raffling of a $1000 gold nugget donated by Birchfields Ross Mining. Mr Key answered numerous questions from dinner guests, covering a range of topics

Saying he “didn’t know” about the donation simply isn’t good enough.

It’s time John Key disclosed the full extent of his connections with the mining industry. Kiwis deserve to know for what purpose their natural heritage is being destroyed.

Update: Hat-tip Marty G for the new thumbnail.

69 comments on “John Key received gold-nugget donation from mining industry”

  1. bobo 1

    Lets hope any potential mining donations before the election are pursued by the msm with the same persistence as Winston Peters was….

  2. Bright Red 2

    A gold nugget, a literal gold nugget… I mean how much more of a mining donation can you get?

    And Key was there – that makes a complete lie of his claim not to have known about donations

  3. Peter Johns 3

    bottom scraping of the barrel again. How much do the unions donate in use of cars to erect election hordings?
    LAbor/Greens are the alternative, we know we are fucked then.

    [lprent: I’ve never seen a union car used for that, perhaps because any big hoarding can’t fit in a car. It is a lot easier to rent a van or truck, and they are pretty damn cheap. You really are a extremely stupid dork aren’t you… Even a moments thought would have given you that answer.

    Still I suppose you’re paid to spin these daft lines by people even more stupid than you are. Sounds as rational as any other explanation for these rather ignorant comments you’ve been trying recently. I can see why someone started throwing you into spam. ]

  4. Ianmac 4

    Does it mean that John Key received a donation of a $1000 gold nugget or that the Nat Party did? The former could be quite serious couldn’t it? Remember Taito Phillip Fields?

    • Bright Red 4.1

      The article says it was a fundraiser for the party but Key was there

    • Lanthanide 4.2

      I had to read it a couple of times, but it seems the nugget was donated to the party, and then raffled off, so the party gets to keep the money generated from raffle ticket sales. Not a direct donation of cash, but still a donation.

      • Smokie 4.2.1

        I wonder if the party could’ve kept the gold nugget. You know, that nugget may have just jumped in value.

      • Bright Red 4.2.2

        it’s quite a normal way for corporates to donate to a party, put up goods for a raffle. That the party doesn’t end up with the goods is irrelevant because it gets all the value out of the raffle and wouldn’t have but for the donated good.

        John Key should have admitted he had received a donation from a mining company when he was asked.

        • Smokie


        • Lanthanide

          Of course, I’m not disagreeing that it was a donation, or saying that this is an unusual way to do things.

          Hard to say how much they got out of it though, because raffle sales could’ve easily been well under $1k, or well over. There’s no way to know how much money the National party actually got out of it, without them telling us.

  5. So your trying to say he can be bought out with a gold nugget????

    The guy has 50 million bucks for cripes sake.

    Thats almost as bad as the Peter haters, saying he soldf out for a 17 dollar piece of fish.

    • Smokie 5.1

      Old Brett. Losing the point again. Clearly the mining industry have a cosy relationship with National if they’re giving Key a gold nugget (an undisclosed nugget, may I add).

    • gobsmacked 5.2

      Brett, the National party received the donation, as a fund-raiser.

      Did John Key turn it down?

    • Bright Red 5.3

      no-one’s saying he was ‘bought’. his party received donations in return as a result of the promises to mining companies, which it had kept secret from the public, to open up schedule 4.

  6. gobsmacked 6

    John Key will need to answer questions about this in Parliament.

    He’s available any day except Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

    • Bright Red 6.1

      It’s now 3 straight question times he has missed – only been at 2 of the past 7

  7. getontrack 7

    [lprent: currently banned under any name]

  8. Robb 8

    Already laying his evil plans back in 2007, gold nugget with a value of $1k towards his guest to become leader of this fair nation.

  9. He got given the nuggest in 2007??

  10. I dreamed a dream 10

    I think these kinds of stuff will have no impact on Key’s popularity — the public are too blinded by their infatuation with Key. This is just too easy for smooth operator Key to use his teflon to deflect. Unless …. you can get something really dramatic, something really scandalous. This gold nugget donation issue will have no effect even though in principle we are right.

    • Tigger 10.1

      A nuggest here, a nugget there. When the final straw breaks the camel’s back it has been preceded by a lot of other seemingly insignificant straws…

  11. tsmithfield 11

    To say that National are in the pocket of the mining industry is plain stupid for the following reasons.

    1. $1000 is a relatively small donation. Undoubtably there are lots of organisations and individuals from a wide range of fields making donations in this sort of range to the party in power.
    2. The government (which ever party) makes policy that affects a wide variety of areas.
    3. Therefore, it is highly likely on the basis of chance alone that there will be lots of policy changes that could benefit various groups that also happened to donate money in the range described.
    4. Therefore pointing out a small donation from the mining industry and pointing out how that group might benefit from government policy is absolutely no evidence that they were influencing policy.

    Show me a donation for $1000000 and I might change my mind.

  12. Anne 12

    The nugget (worth $1000) was raffled. You can bet your bottom dollar the raffle tickets were very expensive and collected far more than $1k. Why would you bother to raffle it otherwise. What’s more, Nat. history has shown that where there is smoke there is always fire. In other words, the golden nugget would have been just the tip of the iceberg!

    Is it for real that you right wingers can’t work these things out for yourselves?

  13. tsmithfield 13

    Anne, I have given a valid deductive argument. I think the conclusion logically follows from the premises. If you disagree with my argument, you need to show where I am wrong in the premises.

    What I have shown is that the donation to National is nothing exceptional and doesn’t validly imply anything untoward. There are probably heaps of groups who donated to National who are benefiting in one way or another. There are probably lots of others who donated who are being disadavantaged too.

    You need to show there was motive and intent attached to the donation. I think that if there was going to be motive and intent, then the donation would have been considerably more than a $1000 nugget, and it would have been a lot more covert as well.

    • logie97 13.1

      tsmithfield – Michelle Boag and others campaigned long and hard claiming corruption in government – there was a chorus period when Brash / Boag and a couple of others suddenly started using it immediately after an Agenda programme and from memory it was when the cameras caught Brash out over his conversion to the Pentecostal movement.

      Now are you suggesting that the Exclusive Brethren were getting involved in politics in 2005 for the love of it. They were expecting a healthy kickback from their pony if it had been elected… something to do with threats to tax-free-charities status perhaps.

      • tsmithfield 13.1.1

        logie, you haven’t actually tried to address my argument. Which of my premises do you disagree with?

        If all you can point to is a $1000 gold nugget from the mining industry, you’ve got nothing. All you have is sheer speculation.

        Something like an e-mail from the mining industry say something like “we could be encouraged to donate a considerable sum to National for favourable mining legislation” I might be more impressed.

    • Lew 13.2

      TS, the point isn’t that there was wrongdoing, it’s that this is a political matter. It’s not that there was a donation — it was that there was a donation received by Key despite the fact that he claimed no recollection of such. This echoes Brownlee’s claim that he was not lobbied by mining interests, later revealed to be false. Like with Key’s failure to recall the nugget (what lovely symbolism that is!), Brownlee’s failure is a lapse of awareness at best, and downright devious bullshit at worst. Which (or what else) will be for the electorate to decide.


      • tsmithfield 13.2.1

        Key may well have had no idea where the gold nugget had come from. Was the gold nugget the only item being auctioned at the time? It is likely there was a lot of stuff being auctioned at an event like this. I don’t expect the party leader would bother to know where every small donation had come from.

        • Lew

          That’s a predictable partisan response, as are many others on this thread. The question which matters is: what would a non-partisan think?


          • tsmithfield

            You haven’t even bothered to deal with my logical argument in my first post on this topic. Which premise do you disagree with? If you don’t disagree with the premises, then the conclusion follows. If the conclusion is valid, then there is as much reason to suspect this donation as “corrupt” as there is from any group that donated a trivial amount of money and benefited from government policy in some way.

            Everything else I have read here is sheer speculation without a shred of evidence to support it.

            • lprent

              Seems about as ridiculous as some of the wingnut rally calls against Helen. I remember that these were pointed at as being evidence of ‘corruption’.

              Good – lets run with it….. If this is the level that the right wants to play with. At least this one involves some actual value from a company that appears to be getting a benefit from their ‘donation’….

              • Neil

                the mining company mines placer gold deposits on the West Coast – where Labour doesn’t have a problem with mining. It doesn’t mine epithermal gold deposits in the Coromandel.

                But if you want to rise to the level of “Helengrad,” go for it.

            • Lew

              I’m not talking about the merits, TS — I agree with you that there’s probably no wrongdoing. The point is the perception of consistent lazy forgetfulness.

              If you want to argue facts, fair enough — more strength to your typing fingers. But the feel is what matters here — the sneaking suspicion that the Nats are on the take, or that they’re so casual about these sorts of things that they might as well be. It’ll take more than facts to dispel it if that sense gets embedded in the public mindset.


  14. JD 14

    So if you’re making inferences that Key, a man worth $50 million can be brought by the mining industry for $1,000 then I guess Owen Glenn got ripped off for his 500k ‘donation’ to Labour and all he got was an order of merit. I though Helen would have come through with a portfolio like transport at least.


    See that’s the problem with Labour attacking National on issue like this. If you must do it then make sure your hands otherwise you look like dicks. Just like Goff’s attack on trusts where a significant number of Labour MP’s were beneficiaries of … trusts.

    “So your trying to say he can be bought out with a gold nugget????

    The guy has 50 million bucks for cripes sake.

    Thats almost as bad as the Peter haters, saying he soldf out for a 17 dollar piece of fish.”

    I’ve had the scampi at Kermadac. It’s good but not good enough to sell political favours for.

    • Marty G 14.1

      JD. try to understand. the problem is not with National receiving a donation from a mining company per se. The problem is that it was receiving at least this one donation from mining companies at the same time as it was having secret talks about opening up protected land to mining companies after the election and it didn’t campaign on that policy.

  15. Gosman 15

    Ummm…. wasn’t the Labour movement in NZ created out of the mining industry?

    Didn’t the Miners form a key component of the support base of Labour during it’s formative years?

    Why is receiving support from this industry so bad again?

    • Lew 15.1

      It’s not. It’s covering up — or conveniently forgetting about it — which is at issue.


    • lprent 15.2

      Jez, you’re talking about a period about when my grand-parents were born.

      Should we also carry on the other customs of those days?
      Treating women as chattels under the law?
      Destroying the remaining forests because they were there?
      Shifting back to a horse based economy?
      Shifting material on and off ships using human muscle.
      Going to war because ‘Great Britain’ did?

      Don’t be a total dork troll all of your life…. If you want to spin a line, then at least make sure it is realistic…

      • Gosman 15.2.1

        I’m deadly serious, Labour used to represent the economically active working classes. Now you guy’s seem to want to stop economic activity for the sake of a few thousand hectares of land.

        The Mining industry is just another primary economc activity like farming or fishing. Just as some people could claim those other industries are environmentally destructive so too can you claim mining is.

        The point being you can’t really live without any of them including mining, (if you wish to try then be my guest next time you try and use a Cell phone without rare earth minerals).

        The alternative is a society a lot poorer off and if you think Tourism is an viable ‘clean’ alternative just ask yourself how do the vast majority of NZ overseas tourists get here and what is one of the most polluting industries in terms of carbon emissions on the planet?

        • Lew

          Who’s anti-mining?

          It’s anti-mining-on-schedule-4-land we’re talking about here. That’s the equivalent of being anti-driftnetting-in-marine-reserves, or anti-farming-tuatara-for-meat.

          Labour remains proud of its mining background — listen to the Question Time last week when Gerry tabled photos of Goff, Mallard and O’Connor in mining gear, and Annette King raised a point of order to object that it was unfair her photo wasn’t tabled as well.


          • Gosman

            Conservation land is not sacrosanct. The last Labour Government recognised that fact as it sanctioned mining on the conservation estate. I see no problem removing some land from Schedule 4 and adding some other to it. There used to be a time that there was NO land in the Conservation estate. Your whole argument is based on the logical fallacy that the more land we have under conservation orders like Schedule 4 the better we are. If that was true then we might as well make the entire country one big conservation estate except the largest cities.

            • Armchair Critic

              “Conservation land is not sacrosanct.”

              s4 conservation land is. Which is why it was created.

              “The last Labour Government recognised that fact as it sanctioned mining on the conservation estate.”
              Not on s4 land.
              “I see no problem removing some land from Schedule 4 and adding some other to it.”
              I see a problem – land was originally added to s4 because it was unique and too valuable to be mined. Unless there has been some change that means it is no longer unique and too valuable to mine (and you haven’t suggested there has been such a change), there is no good reason to remove it from s4. ‘There might be minerals under it’ is not a good reason. I see another problem – the land that labelled as to be added to s4 was identified before National went public with their ‘let’s fuck the conservation estate’ plan. They aren’t planning to add any land to s4 that wasn’t already in line to be added anyway.
              “There used to be a time that there was NO land in the Conservation estate.”
              Or looking at it another way, there used to be a time when most of the country was in the same state as land we now consider to be s4 quality.
              “Your whole argument is based on the logical fallacy that the more land we have under conservation orders like Schedule 4 the better we are. If that was true then we might as well make the entire country one big conservation estate except the largest cities.”
              What a load of rubbish. Most of the country has been extensively modified and could not even be considered for inclusion in s4.

            • Lew

              Conservation land is not sacrosanct. Schedule 4 land is. If you want to change it, fine — but doing so with a stated policy goal of expanding the mineral take, having been lobbied by the mining industry to do so just reeks of a stitch-up. It’s poor faith, and deserves to be punished as such. It would have been a different matter to propose a review of Sch. 4 independently from a commitment to mine — but that’s not what happened.

              No need to go ad absurdum. I’m not talking about the amount of land under Sch. 4 — I’m talking about the specific land. I’m open to the argument of reclassifying parts of it, or trading off some parts for other parts — but not now. The whole discussion is tainted.


              • lprent

                Exactly. The whole thing has a strong whiff of some kind of back-room stitch up done before the election between the Nats and mining interests.

                I’m getting more and more interested in who has been giving money to whom in politics on the right..

            • lprent

              On schedule four land? Do you even know what the difference is?

    • They certainly were and they have a proud record of fighting for miners rights.Many of the Labour Parties heroes were miners. Of course they were they were truly working class people. However Blip the greatest wish of all miners and the Labour Party was that their sons did not go down the mines .Bloody hell there is enough literature about it .ie”,How Green was My Valley.” . I can’t see Key and his mates sending their sons down the mine ,can you? The debate is not about miners it about the invirironment and the destruction of the land we are surpposed to protect .

  16. Sanctuary 16

    The point about this story is yet again John Key has been caught out being sloppy. And as usual, he is being sloppy with the truth and telling the public a lie that is easily verifiable as a lie. It isn’t that it is a serious lie, but it is part of a now clear pattern that shows he is a lazy politician who can’t be bothered getting his facts straight – so instead of being on top of his game he simply tells casual lies to deflect questions.

    Our PM now has a clear track record of being caught out being lazy and less than honest with matters of fact and public record.

  17. I dreamed a dream 17

    I suppose at the end of the day, what impact it will have depends largely on whether the MSM runs this and what public perception develops, if any 🙂

    • Gosman 17.1

      So is it the MSM fault if the general public don’t buy into the position that the Mining industry has unduly influenced the National party policy in this area based on the ‘fact’ that a Nugget of gold worth $1000 was donated to the National Party before the last election?

      Yeah I can see how someone like you would think that.

  18. tsmithfield 18

    Anyway, this is boring stuff. Not a shred of evidence to support an allegation of corruption.

    Here is a case with a lot more evidence to point to political corruption. Now why DID Shane Jones over-rule Internal Affairs and grant this guy residency against the advice of officials?


    This is the sort of stuff I would like to see if I was going to make a case of corruption against JK and the mining companies.

    • Marty G 18.1

      Ah the ‘this is boring’ fall back.

      Not a shred of evidence?

      Mining sources told Patrick Gower and other journos that talks on a mining policy including opening up Schedule 4 land took place before the election and National was “highly receptive”. National did not campaign on such a policy.

      Key denied any knowledge of donations from mining companies.

      We now know that not to be true.

  19. Bill 19

    That it? Trying to get traction from a $1000 gold nugget for auction donation!

    For fuck’s sake, if that’s the extent of your gripe…and you think that it’s somehow of some massive import…then you ought to wheel yourself into the sanatorium for political has beens. Immediately and with no brakes. Smack the wall.

    • Marty G 19.1

      mate, we’re not fucken james bonds here. we can only uncover public information and stuff that is OIA-able if we find the right questions to ask.

      We don’t know the true extent of donations from the mining industry to nationalbut now we know there was definitely something.

      • Bill 19.1.1

        So Marty.

        Mining? Fuck the ‘raffle prizes’.

        Try this although it’s the wrong ‘prize’. I have no doubt you know of better, more relevant shit. So, highlight it. Push it. Hammer it. Make it impossible for government to touch it.

        But a ‘who’ or ‘what’ made a donation to a raffle? Pu-leeze….

      • Gosman 19.1.2

        “mate, we’re not fucken james bonds here.”

        No, you are definately not. Not even close.

  20. tsmithfield 20

    No evidence there Marty. Are there transcripts or the like to support any of this? Would most people consider it reasonable that a busy party leader would not recollect where every minor donation came from?

    As I pointed out above, there was a helluva lot more to support allegations of corruption against Labour in the case of Yong Ming Yan. Officials had advised Shane Jones that this guy was very dodgy, with multiple identities, criminal links, and that he was on the run from Chinese Authorities.
    Despite all this, Shane Jones over-ruled his officials and let this guy in.

    Now he has been charged with immigration fraud even though the key facts in this respect had been made known to Shane Jones at the time. There is also undisputed evidence this guy was donating funds to Labour. For all we know, what this may just have been the tip of the iceberg.

    So, Marty, perhaps you might like to answer my question: Why did Shane Jones approve this guy’s application for citizenship?

    If you can compile a case like this against Key then I might be interested. Otherwise it is based on speculation, whispers, and rumours.

    • Marty G 20.1

      “Are there transcripts or the like to support any of this?”

      We’re surely entitled to rely on the word of participants of meetings as reported by journos.

      “Would most people consider it reasonable that a busy party leader would not recollect where every minor donation came from?”

      if it was something as unusual as a gold nugget and his links to mining companies were at question – yes.

      • tsmithfield 20.1.1

        Marty “We’re surely entitled to rely on the word of participants of meetings as reported by journos.”

        So you believe everything you see on the news? Cause I certainly don’t. Quotes are regularly taken out of context and meanings distorted. You should know that. Denying knowledge of donations is not the same as claiming the didn’t get any. You should realise that too.

        Claiming you’re not James Bond is not an excuse. In one of his better moments Wishart made a compelling case against Labour. He was able to put up official documents, undisputed testimony etc. I haven’t seen anything like this here.

        BTW, still haven’t answered my question, Marty.

        Why did Shane Jones approve that guy’s application for citizenship?

      • logie97 20.1.2

        The argument here is the principle. And the “smoke” is that John Key has a habit of being unable to recall…
        – remember the question of just how many shares in Tranzrail. Changed his answer.
        – remember the visit of Ashcroft –
        Changed his answer.
        When John thinks there might be fishhooks in a question he has a habit of giving “I can’t really remember” type answers, and then when he has had time to consider he fudges it.
        Millionaire or not, if someone fronted up with a nugget, you would remember it, because it is out of the ordinary.
        It is not the size of donation but the answers he gives and public perception that will catch up with him in the end.

  21. Neil 21

    It doesn’t appear that Birchfields have got any benefit from their bribery as yet. They might want to talk to the Pikes River people who’ve done slightly better.

  22. gingercrush 22

    What a stupid post. The more important question to ask relates to the New Zealand Labour Party and how a $25, 000 donation by Toll NZ Consolidated Fund saw Toll Holdings receive 690 million dollars in payback. And we’re talking about a fucking nugget of gold? What a joke.

  23. Stacktwo 23

    Actually, the righties are right (ahem). They have proved, to my satisfaction at least, that it is only a little nugget. You don’t have to donate $1,000,000 to buy John Key. He’s a cheap whore – all you need to do is show him the colour . . .

    • B 23.1

      John Key and his little nugget…

    • tsmithfield 23.2

      “You don’t have to donate $1,000,000 to buy John Key. He’s a cheap whore all you need to do is show him the colour .”

      Yes. Those Labour politicians are much more principled. You can’t bribe them with only $1000. You have to pay much more than that before they will give NZ citizenship to known Chinese criminals, or pay way over the market for a defunct train system.

      • Mikey_t500 23.2.1

        Is, or was Shane Jones P.M.? Urgh, no. Is John Key P.M.? Urgh, yes. I find it interesting that you appear to be deflecting the focus from John Key by talking about Shane Jones, and also that you like to say that the comments people are making are nothing more than speculation – actually, that applies equally to your defence that JK didn’t know about the nugget.

  24. This must be the most sleazy government in recent years .Key dealing wih insider trading.
    (rail shares and mining shares. English rorting the Tax Payer ,and still would be if he had not ben cought out!,Brownlee Throwing elderly man down the stairs,(Fond Guilty) It goes on and on .Surely its time for the Herald to headline all this sleaze by the National Party members.
    The Herald could not print fast enough over Benson-Pope and Philip Field ,Both set up in my opinion ,just wait and see .

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