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Key attends secret lunch to raise cash for flag change campaign

Written By: - Date published: 10:36 am, April 9th, 2016 - 102 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, john key, national - Tags:

David Fisher in the Herald has reported that John Key attended a private luncheon set up to raise funds for the pro flag change campaign.  Given events this week the timing and optics are shall we say not ideal for the Government.  And the story for me brought back memories of the Donghua Liu story and how Labour suffered political damage for supposed donations made by him when in reality it was National that had received the donations.

From the article:

Prime Minister John Key was the star guest at a private fundraising lunch for the Change the Flag lobby group in a last-ditch bid to raise cash from wealthy Chinese donors who supported a flag change.

The exclusive meeting with no more than six donors took place in a private room of an Auckland Chinese restaurant. Other guests included National Party president Peter Goodfellow, Cabinet minister Nikki Kaye and National MP Dr Jian Yang.

Funds raised at the February 18 lunch allowed the lobby group to fund a last-minute push for votes, including a pamphlet to 500,000 homes just days before voting started on March 3.

The article reports Lewis Holden, head of the change the flag campaign stating that overall $100,000 was raised for campaign purposes.  He did not say how much was raised by the lunch.

The returns will be interesting.  The lunch occurred on February 18, 2016.  If a donation of over $30,000 was made to the National Party it should have been disclosed by now but has not.  Details of all advertisements and their costs relating to the referendum have to be made within one month of the date the result is formally announced.  There is a $50,000 cap on advertising expenses.  If Holden raised as much money as he said how he spent it will need to be examined.  It also appears that a return of donations will be required.

David Cunliffe has said this on Facebook:

Does anyone remember Donghua Liu?

He was the guy that in 2014 National and some media framed me as having “helped out” with a standard 11 year old constituent inquiry letter … of which I was not aware and from whom I had never received a cent …

This article reminds us that National Whip Jamie Lee Ross was given $25000 by Liu for John Key attending a private dinner at Liu’s home.

The hypocrisy is absolutely breathtaking and shows the lack of moral compass of this “government”.

Water under the bridge you might well say, and indeed i had virtually forgotten, until I read the article attached.

Key is at it again, pumping (Chinese) donors for cash for his pet flag referendum. The one he spent nearly $30 million of your money to hold. The one he lied that he was fairly neutral about. The same one he was hustling donations to skew.

What did he trade for those donations? Just his affable charming presence? Or weak investment rules, land sales, rampant house prices, and a little bit more of your kids’ shot at the Kiwi dream.

And in case you think I care where those donors were from – I don’t. Could have been from, say, Jersey or the Cayman Islands, or New York, or Switzerland or any of Mr Keys other favourite tax havens that he wants to emulate.

Wake up NZ. We are being played!

Well said.

102 comments on “Key attends secret lunch to raise cash for flag change campaign ”

  1. Paul 1

    If you don’t pay tax, it’s easy to have left over cash to donate to the party that assists your position.

  2. BM 2

    Seriously, what is it with Labour and the Chinese?

    • RedLogix 2.1

      Seriously what is it with National and very wealthy, powerful and privileged Chinese?

      Because I’m quite certain that none of the six or so donors who were so keen to get rid of the Union Jack were anything like ordinary Chinese working people.

      Where they?

      • BM 2.1.1

        Are wealthy Chinese New Zealanders not allowed a say about the flag?, are they in the same category as people with expensive beach houses.?

        • Macro 2.1.1.1

          No they are not allowed a say on the matter. They probably haven’t been in the country 5 mins.

          • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 2.1.1.1.1

            …and don’t get me started on their drivin’!

        • They are allowed a say, if they’re eligible to vote, or anyone asks for their opinion.

          The issue is twofold:
          1) Backroom events for fundraising is pretty dodgy.
          2) We’ve long suspected that it’s standard practice not to declare some categories of donations for at least the National Party, if not also to some degree for ACT, Labour, and some others, because they feel nobody is going to be able to track the money.
          2a) (ie. why “2” is an issue) We allow private donations to political parties on the principle that it facilitates a national debate, so long as we’re informed as to who large donors are. If anything’s deliberately not being declared, it’s a Big Issue. It OUGHT to be as big an issue as stealing a retirement fund, because you’re literally undermining the ability of the electorate to make informed decisions.

          • RedLogix 2.1.1.2.1

            Yes but my say didn’t buy me a pamphlet drop to nearly half the households in the country.

            • Matthew Whitehead 2.1.1.2.1.1

              Which is why I personally disagree that allowing private funding for political campaigns is a good idea, but it’s the system we have today, and nobody’s succeeded in changing it.

              Until such time, we should at least make sure political parties respect both the intent and the rules of the current system.

        • Raff 2.1.1.3

          If these clearly extremely wealthy Chinese wanted to get rid of the Union Jack because of China’s own uncomfortable relationship with the UK, then that does concern me. If we’re going to get rid of it I would rather the decision grew out of NZ’s history, not other countries’. I mean – how dare they?
          Would be interesting to know exactly how kiwi these rich Chinese were.

          • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.3.1

            If we’re going to get rid of it I would rather the decision grew out of NZ’s history, not other countries’. I mean – how dare they?

            QFT&E

          • Matthew Whitehead 2.1.1.3.2

            I’m not sure we would really need a push from China to see the Union Jack as an emblem of empire and colonialism, but that of course would rely on New Zealanders being aware of the long history of white people stealing things using flags. 😉

            I’d caution against thinking that people have been successfully manipulated with advertising in this referendum. I’ve seen the debate influence a LOT of people’s opinions about both the proposed alternative flags, and about the 1902 flag we’re sticking with, if not necessarily changing their minds.

            • Raff 2.1.1.3.2.1

              Our Union Jack Is interwoven permanently with the Treaty though. And remember Rua’s flag, for instance.
              http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/photograph/35205/rua-kenanas-flag
              Can’t just dismiss it as representing colonialism. We’ve got enough complicated attitudes of our own without absorbing Chinese ones as well (if indeed that was an issue at this swanky dinner).

              • It’s not “our” union jack, unless you happen to be British, as well. (Which I actually am, but I don’t identify it as a New Zealand symbol, just part of the reticence of New Zealanders of British heritage to let go of another country’s symbols. (which is funny, as we’ve already, for instance, let go of British-sounding accents as a source of authority and trust) It’s is a symbol of some good or admirable things as a flag of Britain, (and a bunch of horrible things, like for instance wars and oppression against the Scottish, the English role in civil war in Ireland, and generally ignoring the Welsh, to stick to examples local to the UK) but has no business intruding on other nation’s flags IMO.)

                There is NO agreement on flags or symbols in the treaty, so I’m not sure what you’re on about with it being interwoven there. There was a de facto assumption the Union Jack became our flag based on the incorrect legal analysis that we originally followed in utilising the English-language version of the treaty that basically “gave” the North Island to Britain. We then used the 1902 flag after Britain made it law that colonial ships had to fly the Jack as an ensign with a national badge, after asking an Australian to design us one, hence why we got such a similar badge to them. (Fun fact: before we finalised that badge design, we ran a blue ensign with the letters “NZ” in red and white in the bottom right corner. Imagine being stuck with THAT one)

                There was later a perception at various points in history among Maori that Britain would protect their legal rights from settlers in New Zealand, and that generated an interesting relationship to British symbols, but that doesn’t mean that we’re stuck with a union jack on our flag forever, especially given that those hopes for British law to prevail never eventuated, and the first white defenders of the treaty were in fact New Zealand courts. We are our own nation and can make our own decisions on these things. For now we’ve decided to stick with it. That might change when we have a discussion about whether we want to maintain the legal fiction that the monarch of the UK supposedly has anything to do with New Zealand.

                I can and I will dismiss the use of the union jack as an ensign on other nations’ flags as a symbol of colonialism and empire, because those things are very obviously what Britain was doing out in the world at the time, and I have never heard any serious historian who studies New Zealand disagree that the practical results of British action at the time after the treaty were anything but, regardless of the intentions of those drafting it.

                We have matured beyond said ambitions of empire and colonialism. We’re not perfect by any means, and there’s a lot of work to go, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t time to start thinking about ditching the symbols of that settler mindset.

                • Raff

                  OK – by ‘our’ union jack I merely meant the one that is on our, i.e. NZ’s, flag, as opposed to others. So, you know – settle down. I’m not British either.
                  And while happy to accept your opinion, personally I feel the attachment to the UJ here is, can be, a complex thing, not necessarily anything to do with being British, but often to do with respect for a treaty partner, as many Maori views seem to attest.
                  And then there’s Rua’s flag, for which I supplied the link, which indicates a lot more subtlety in the relationship than you seem willing to acknowledge.

                  • Something like national identity always has subtleties we can’t acknowledge in writing. And I’m not unsettled, please don’t presume tone to my writing- that’s another subtlety we can’t easily convey. 😉

                    The Union Jack on our flag is not, and will never be, ours. It is Britain’s. We can attach to it as much as we want, but in using it on our flag, we’ll always be New Coke, not Coke.

                    Respecting a treaty partner is no reason to imply symbolic ownership. That is the long-accepted meaning of the blue ensign with the Union Jack, and the obvious reason why the majority of commonwealth countries have replaced those flags. If we’re not ready as a nation to join them, that’s fine. But understand that at some point, that flag is going to change- and when it does, there will be individuals who are not ready, or who disagree. They will be upset for a few years but get over it eventually, like Canada did. And if we do it right next time, (hopefully after we’ve done something that actually merits a flag change, like say, change to a republic) we’ll have an alternative we could actually be proud of.

                    • Raff

                      I actually agree pretty much with all you say … my objection I think is with your somewhat bullying tone, assuming the authority to tell ME (or anyone else) what we are allowed to regard as ‘ours’.
                      This isn’t the way to change minds. Attachments grow, however illogical and ‘unhistorical’ you may find them, and must be taken into account.
                      Daffodils aren’t ‘ours’, either, but …

                    • You are literally concern trolling here, lol.

                      The campaign to change the flag, for the moment, is over. I’m not bullying you by saying you can’t take a symbol out of its original context. (which is the reason why, for instance, there is legitimate controversy when people try to re-purpose other symbols historically associated with injustice, like say, the Confederate battle flag from the US.)

                      Part of replacing the flag is definitely going to be ditching the Union Jack. It’s the biggest reason TO change in the first place, (although I would also argue that using the Southern Cross on our flag is the southern hemisphere equivalent to having a vertical tricolour flag, so ideally any new design will have no references to the 1902 flag, and any references to historical flags would hopefully instead be to the United Tribes flag, which while Maori also conveniently looks very English) so I don’t see any design which tries to appropriate the Union Jack out of its symbolic and historical context as being successful.

                      I apologise if that tone comes across as too much, (it’s intended to be focused on facts and analysis, but I can absolutely understand how those two cross over- just imagine I’m talking really quiet but really fast and you’ll get it 😉 ) but as the campaign for change is over, (for now) my tone is really quite irrelevant at this point.

        • Paul 2.1.1.4

          We can’t afford the rich.
          They don’t pay their taxes.
          They are parasites feeding on the host that nurtured them.

        • Unicus 2.1.1.5

          Absolutely – the problem is they aren’t New Zealanders . they are Han Chinese who comprise the worst racist and classist cliques in Asia .

          They laugh at us all when they see our Prime Miinister on his knees in some Karangahape Road slop house crawling for their money .

          Oh and don’t forget those thousands of years of Chinese history we should all be licking their boots about – the boxer rebellion and those naughty English opium traders which John ( never read a book ) Key and his retinue found so ‘interesting’. why wouldn’t we change our flag to turn a buck from thes nice fellas .

          The Chinese are not our friends folks lets get that straight – so if you are thinking about how we should deal with their sneak invasion of New Zealand – consider what their policy their government may be forming about what to do with us .

          Two and a half thousand years ago a pre eminent founder of western philosophical dicipline – Plato by name – said that the inevitable first action of a newly rich state is war .

          Will this be the case with China – let us all hope not .

          • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.5.1

            Two and a half thousand years ago a pre eminent founder of western philosophical dicipline – Plato by name – said that the inevitable first action of a newly rich state is war .

            Will this be the case with China – let us all hope not .

            They certainly seem to be pushing for it in the South China Sea.

            • D'Esterre 2.1.1.5.1.1

              DTB: They certainly seem to be pushing for it in the South China Sea.
              It’s the US pushing for it, judging by reportage. Just as it is the US pushing for conflict with Russia.

              • Draco T Bastard

                China doesn’t actually have any claim to the ‘islands’ that they’re claiming and building upon (man-made islands really which are not recognised as territory in international law) . Really, go have a look at a map.

                They’re claiming territory that is well outside their territorial and legal limits but which are inside other nations.

    • framu 2.2

      your arms must be made of elastic to draw a bow that long

    • Keith 2.3

      Seriously, what is it with National and money changing hands for favours done on the quiet? 6 foreigners paying out only a bit more than $100000 (ashtray change to Nationals hierarchy) to attend some so called lunch with that odious little prick Key, to change our flag. What-fucking-ever!

      Kind of getting tired of the smell of corruption coming from Nationals rotten corpse infecting our country.

    • Paul 2.4

      I think the issue is wealth.
      And you know it…….

    • North 2.5

      Seriously what is it with Key and rich Chinese ? And seriously what is it with BM and blind stupidity ?

    • Observer (Tokoroa) 2.6

      Hi BM

      Your strange Leader goes out scrounging money off Chinese for National Party secret pursuits. Your simpleton colleagues even make life easier for Chinese by attempting to corrupt the NZ Police Force in criminal cases.

      And there you are rooting around like a diseased pig grunting out praise for your associates. What is it with you and the wealthy Chinese BM?

      Are you just a mug? Silly little boy.

  3. doug stuart 3

    I don’t care who helps as long as we get rid of the butchers apron off our flag.

    • sabine 3.1

      but still stay a constitutional monarchy with the Queen as head of the state? Yes?

      • Binders full of women 3.1.1

        Definitely- given the choice between Elizabeth/Charles/William and Geoffrey palmer toting a 40 page constitution I’d go with the former.

  4. A big come on to all the Opposition Parties.
    Get your shit together.

    Never has there been so much ammunition to throw at the current National Government.
    J Key is just playing with you all.

    Why do National remain popular ?

    Is it because National has a better propaganda machine working in the back ground ?
    Is it because, somehow, they generally have the Media on their side ?
    Is it because they are better financed ?
    Is it because they tell more lies ?

    Surely, it is not because they run the economy best.
    The next election is there for the taking.

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      “Surely, it is not because they run the economy best.”

      But they’ve obviously convinced the electorate (through to the 2014 election, anyway) that they do.

    • Incognito 4.2

      National is displaying self-belief and confidence. So do the ABs but this doesn’t mean they can’t be beaten. What I find so fascinating is that the left in NZ, and particularly NZLP, have bought into the framing by National and CT even when comes to their own identity (or lack thereof) and raison d’être. If you don’t know who you are and what you stand for then others will tell you and ‘own’ you.

    • It is because New Zealanders get out of bed, go to work and do their money making, go home exhausted to family and are too tired to care much about politics. The wages are deliberately low so that we have to work harder and thereby stay exhausted, and the micro-fiddling with benefits, minimum wages and such is just that. It’s designed to make people think things are getting better when they are not.

      • RedLogix 4.3.1

        Yes. It dates back to 1980.

        Something happened that year; the 1970’s were heading in an interesting direction, then ever since it’s been all the other way.

        I often wonder what underlay that pivot.

  5. greywarshark 5

    Compare our political scene and attitudes from NZ public to our leader’s malefactions and malfunctions to those in Iceland.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/201796405
    Smári McCarthy: Iceland, the Pirate Party and the Panama Papers
    8:12 AM. Guest host Philippa Tolley interviews Smári McCarthy, chief technologist for the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, and founder of the Iceland Pirate Party.

  6. Phil Williams 6

    Noodle and Conudle anyone?

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    Wake up NZ. We are being played!

    That would be SOP for National. They lie, get caught in their lies and lie again. And still the MSM report them as being good and popular.

  8. Mark Wilson 8

    Just when I think you conspiracy theorists can’t get any more loony you get worse! “Secret meeting”. Yeah sure – the title will be “shock horror sex probe next!
    He had a meeting to ask for funds which Labour and the Greens do all the time as well.
    So from now on they should give advance notice anytime they do that – otherwise it is a secret meeting as well. I enjoy reading the Guardian because although it is left of centre it doesn’t do the “4 legs good – two legs bad” everyone who doesn’t agree with you is evil and a fool. Childish!

    • Hanswurst 8.1

      the title will be “shock horror sex probe next!

      Nah, that’s a National line.

    • Whateva Next 8.2

      Yes, I keep hearing this line that Labour are “childish”…and then I watch Question Time in Parliament, what more can I say? (without being accused of being “childish”)

    • ge 8.3

      Key has not reported the donation, that is breaking the law

    • Olwyn 8.4

      He was raising funds to screw the referendum on the flag. We don’t know quite why he wanted to screw that referendum, since he has said that he was pretty neutral about which flag we ended up with. But a quick drop of 500,000 pamphlets promoting his preferred flag, paid for by his own fundraising, is an odd way of expressing neutrality. His behaviour in this was at least underhand and duplicitous.

    • Whispering Kate 8.5

      Mark -In a private room at the back of a restaurant – doesn’t sound too open to me. The information about this meeting had to be obtained under the OIA for heavens sake. The flag referendum was for the citizens of NZ to vote in and nobody else, the PM is being a sleeze trying to suck up for funds from people who have been here five minutes, what the hell do these Chinese have which pertains to our sovereignty/flag that they can donate funds to influence the vote. Can just see us trying to do that sort of thing in China and trying to influence the changing of their flag. Get a life mate, you are trying too hard for your sleezy PM – for your peace of mind flag him away he doesn’t deserve it.

    • Paul 8.6

      Are you a fool?

  9. Richard Christie 9

    Clearly, David Fisher’s days at NZ Herald are numbered.

    • Keith 9.1

      It sure makes Audrey Young’s mega ridiculous comments about Key not politicising the flag distraction campaign look stupid. Of course most of us knew that anyway!

    • whateva next? 9.2

      It sure takes alot of courage to say anything but the “National” narrative atm, how far from McCarthyism are we in NZ these days? Must watch Good Night and Good Luck AGAIN!

  10. Whateva Next 10

    So Chinese money is dictating (or trying to )what New Zealands’s “Nationhood” means????????
    How bonkers is that?

    • ge 10.1

      People do not donate money to political parties without expecting something in return

      • whateva next? 10.1.1

        especially not that amount, BTW, absolutely no problem with one voter, one vote, whatever there nationality before people assume I am being “racist” mentioning another nationality

        • whateva next? 10.1.1.1

          “whatever there nationality ” should read “their”, not “there”, apologies

  11. Neil 11

    “There is a $50,000 cap on advertising expenses”.
    The standard national party excuse of “Labour did it too” will be rolled out if questions about it are asked, but we cant rely on MSM to ask these questions.

  12. Mosa 12

    Nikki Kaye can’t see what all the fuss is about
    They have lost touch. First,second,third time itis

    • Bearded Git 12.1

      Yes they have lost touch, but I’m not sure they ever had it.

      I don’t buy into the “losing touch in third term argument”-that doesn’t have to happen. I don’t think Helen had lost her touch when she lost to Key, for instance.

      • Anne 12.1.1

        I don’t think Helen had lost her touch when she lost to Key, …

        Agreed. A few of her ministers maybe but not Helen.

        The Nats and the C/T meme began in earnest in 2007/8 and the MSM went along with it in a big way. That’s what lost the election for them and we have all been paying the price ever since – that is all bar the 0.1%.

        • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1

          Helen handpicked many of the Labour caucuses failed/careerist MPs.

          Also, twice as many Kiwis vote for National as for Labour. Thats not just the 1%.

          • Paul 12.1.1.1.1

            Why people vote against their interests is beyond me.

            • Incognito 12.1.1.1.1.1

              Most people don’t think it through. One million or so can’t even be bothered to tick a box on a piece of paper once every three years. It is less effort than brushing your teeth or wiping your bottom and I presume that those one million people at least do these things.

              Most people have extremely short-term interests anyway, this is also known as “present bias”.

            • Draco T Bastard 12.1.1.1.1.2

              Because they don’t understand their interests and believe the lies that National spread of everyone being an individual. Thus they ignore society and see it as a cost to them personally and don’t see it as what’s keeping them alive.

              • Reddelusion

                Society is simply the sum of individuals actions and efforts , RWNJ simply believe the sum of the whole is greater than the parts if individuals are incentivised to improve ones well being , LWNJ believe the sum of while is better served by some hippy socialist collective, contrary to human nature and evidence of the last 200 years

                • Draco T Bastard

                  RWNJ simply believe the sum of the whole is greater than the parts if individuals are incentivised to improve ones well being

                  And that’s where they’d be wrong because RWNJs ideas of human nature are, as a matter of fact, contrary to what human nature actually is. This is why when we listen to the RWNJs our society gets destroyed.

                  Oh, look at that, Facts disproving RWNJ beliefs yet again.

                  Society really would be better if we simply worked together rather than trying to compete with each other. Society being better would make everyone better off.

                  • Reddelusion

                    Just because a LWNJ rights and article you agree with Draco they does not make it so, it’s just confirmation bias on your part

                    Owen Jones
                    Owen Jones is a columnist and the author of Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Class and The Establishment – And How They Get Away With It

            • Reddelusion 12.1.1.1.1.3

              Because your narrative is not reality Paul and possibly the answers lies in your answer, we no best, condescending and just the plain ugliness and negativity of the left

        • Robert Glennie 12.1.1.2

          Helen lost because the country thought 9 years was enough. I think she could probably have done another term, but I understand that when 9 years is up the Government of the day has to be quite something to get a fourth term.

        • mosa 12.1.1.3

          The attack against Labour began in 2005 with “Threy are stealing our money” after Cullens surpluses were announced but no tax cuts were forthcoming
          That and the inncorrectly labeled anti smacking law and other things we now know were being manipulated by Cameron Slater and the attack machine
          Helen could have won a fourth term that i have no doubt after all they had programe in place to deal with the GFC and had an impressive record on proggressive policies and were popular.
          Also they had a stable working coalition with Winston that defied all expectations
          Somehow the boy bought up in a state house, worth $50 million promising nothing more than a brighter future if you are wealthy and a man you could have a beer with convinced people that they would buy into the arguement that ” iT WAS TIME FOR CHANGE a change to what ? was what i was asking at the time
          The last seven years has answered my question.
          The one thing about Helen was she was an intelligent socialist and that terrified the establishment, elite and Key and those that hate what the proggressive left stands for and we cant have that going on for four terms.
          She and the Labour led government had to go, and the rest is history.

    • repateet 12.2

      Nikki Kaye not seeing what all the fuss is about is not unexpected. You get that when you have that “we are allowed to do anything” mentality.

      • Draco T Bastard 12.2.1

        +1

        Things is, National always believe that they’re allowed to do anything. It’s why they whinge about rules.

  13. newsense 13

    Surely the Queen on the money, the Commonwealth, the judicial system and parliamentary democracy, rugby, cricket, British spelling, the Honours system, all these things are also a reminder that we were a country of thatU unequal empire? Why stop at the Union Jack Mr Key?

  14. Colonial Viper 14

    John Key met with rich people. Say it ain’t so.

  15. Jenny 15

    David Cunliffe is the nearest thing we have in this country, to Bernie Sanders.

    In my opinion, David Cunliffe is the man who best represents the soul and the conscience of the modern New Zealand Labour Party.

    Long may he speak out, and his voice be heard.

    http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2016/04/09/guest-blog-david-cunliffe-does-anyone-remember-donghua-liu/

    • maui 15.1

      +1, and if it was possible having Hone or Laila leading a modern Labour that would be equally great.

    • Colonial Viper 15.2

      yeah thats why they got rid of him.

      • Yep, Labour (metaphorically…) shot and killed their own Sanders/Corbyn candidate and they’re not even sorry for doing so. I’m not sure why anyone who doesn’t have centrist leanings would want to engage with that party anymore.

    • Reddelusion 15.3

      David Cunliff is all about David Cunliff, his views and values move with what constituency favour suits his immediate needs

  16. Jenny 16

    “Key is at it again, pumping (Chinese) donors for cash for his pet flag referendum. The one he spent nearly $30 million of your money to hold. The one he lied that he was fairly neutral about. The same one he was hustling donations to skew.
    What did he trade for those donations? Just his affable charming presence? Or weak investment rules, land sales, rampant house prices, and a little bit more of your kids’ shot at the Kiwi dream.
    And in case you think I care where those donors were from – I don’t. Could have been from, say, Jersey or the Cayman Islands, or New York, or Switzerland or any of Mr Keys other favourite tax havens that he wants to emulate.
    Wake up NZ. We are being played!” DAVID CUNLIFFE

    – See more at: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2016/04/09/guest-blog-david-cunliffe-does-anyone-remember-donghua-liu/#sthash.FaiQcVld.dpuf

  17. Henry Filth 17

    I have a feeling that were I Chinese, I would by now becoming irritated by all these people wanting my money for their pet projects and fantasies.

    “Do they think I’m made of money?”, I might say to myself. “Why can’t they use their own money instead of coming budging off me?”, I might think.

  18. NZJester 18

    Do we know if the wealthy Chinese donors mentioned are New Zealand citizens and eligible to vote?
    If they are it is just slightly shifty.
    If they are not NZ Citizens then it is more than shifty, it is morally treasonous.

    • Paul 18.1

      Someone knows the names.
      We need them to be leaked.

    • Hanswurst 18.2

      Frankly, I don’t award extra friendship points to some rich political patron because they happen to be a citizen or resident. A prick is a prick.

      If we ignore the question of rich/poor for a moment (purely because righties always come armed with a swathe of spurious memes like “the politics of envy” to derail any discussion on those terms), the issue is that everything from the poll-driven presentation of politics to the conformist fashions and reality entertainment provided in the media add up to present a world view that we should advocate and vote for the things that the majority of people want. Large donations are used to present a particular ideology as widely as possible, thus generating the impression that most people think that way, and therefore that it is inherently desirable. It’s underhanded, false and convinces some people to vote against their own interests – before they even get to thinking about what those interests are. It makes not a jot of difference what nationality those donors are.

      • Corokia 18.2.1

        +100
        And the ethnicity of the donors is irrelevant.
        The issue is the very rich having undue influence. Nothing new in that, but isn’t fighting against that inequality the whole point of being Left wing?

      • Draco T Bastard 18.2.2

        +1

        Well said.

  19. Skimmed through the above comments but did not see anyone referencing what I think is the most important point here.

    That is-

    Did any of these Chinese donors have any connection to the Chinese govt?

    Why is this important?

    Because IMHO it would be close to an act of treason for John Key or any NZer to conspire with the Chinese Govt on the matter of changing the NZ flag.

    I earnestly hope that the Herald (or anyone else interested) can chase down this question and get an answer to it.

    Naturally the Key govt and anyone else involved will do all they can to keep any such connection hidden from the public, so it won’t be an easy matter to get to the bottom of.

    How likely is it that there is a Chinese govt connection?

    Quite likely IMHO. Because anyone who is a company director in China must be approved by the Govt. Many become members of the Chinese Communist Party to facilitate any such appointments. Most people who have made money in China have done it through party connections.

    Think about the headline for this story-

    “John Key conspired with members of Chinese Communist Party to change the NZ flag..!!”

    There’s always been something not quite right about Key, his money, his quick rise to power in the Nat party, his support from wealthy donors in NZ.

    And then there was his inexplicable desire to change the flag. What motivated him to begin this mission?

    David Fisher or someone needs to do a fair bit more digging on this story.

    • RedLogix 19.1

      Redbaiter.

      For once, over many many years, you’ve written something I’ve got no quibble with at all.

      Over the past 18 months we made a close friend of a young Chinese student here. Virtually became a member of the family. And while we rarely talked much about politics directly (surprise I do have a life!) some of the casual references he made about life in China were a real eye opener.

      Two things stand out:

      One is the almost complete lack of trust people have in any business or personal transaction beyond the well-known ‘inner circle’. It’s a very real thing. And for good reason; all Chinese know precisely how corrupt ALL business matters are.

      Secondly is how very little faith the people have in any ‘rule of law’. The Courts, the Police, the CCCP … nothing is accountable, nothing can be relied upon. For all the rapid economic growth, the nation is is still a one-party totalitarian state.

      So when rich Chinese come to NZ it is because they almost certainly made their money corruptly, or at the least exploited personal and privileged connections in the process. And now they are looking for somewhere to protect it. Because if they leave it in China, they know someone with better connections will steal it.

      I agree with you completely that there isn’t something quite right about Key. He’s a very smart, skilled operator … and as I’ve often said the Left has made a terrible error in attacking him personally. I believe his real skeletons lie well buried elsewhere.

      • Redbaiter 19.1.1

        Notice none of the usual Nat party outlets (blogs) are referencing this story (so far) with the usual heavy application of white wash.

        I suspect there could be a lot more to this.

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