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National received two dodgy $100,000 donations

Written By: - Date published: 7:25 am, February 18th, 2020 - 46 comments
Categories: election 2020, election funding, electoral commission, national, same old national, Simon Bridges - Tags:

Maybe we now know why National’s economic policy release was such a fizzer.  They were all preoccupied with news of more donation scandal affecting the party about to emerge.

I was doing my best to write something deeper about tax cuts when this nuclear bomb sized piece of scandal broke.  The SFO charges concerning $100k donations to the National Party involved not one donation but two.

From Tim Murphy at Newsroom:

The Serious Fraud Office prosecution of four people over donations to the National Party involves not one but two $100,000 donations – in June 2017 and June 2018.

Court charging documents released to the media by order of Auckland District Court Judge Edwin Paul today show that three of the four defendants – whose names are suppressed ahead of a hearing next week – each face two joint charges of deception over a sum of $100,000 donated to National in 2017 and $100,050 donated to the party in 2018. The maximum penalty if convicted on the charge is seven years’ imprisonment.

The alleged deception involved is splitting the donation so that it did not have to be disclosed.

The donation discussed by Bridges and Ross in that infamous call occurred in 2018.

And it is also alleged that the fourth person went as far as supplying to the SFO false information.  The allegation is that this person “[i]n the course of complying with a requirement … of the Serious Fraud Act 1990 supplied information knowing it was false or misleading in a material particular.”

Again from the Newsroom article:

The SFO says of that charge that this defendant told investigators a $100,000 sum transferred to their account was a deposit for a building on another person’s property – when the money had been intended as a donation to the National Party. Further, in 2019 the defendant created, signed and back-dated a contract to that end, when no real contract for that work existed. The office alleges the made-up contract copied wording from an unrelated contract.

For people getting excited about Winston’s use of a photo can I just say I agree it was wrong.  But perspective is required.  A NZF member taking an opportunistic photo then sharing it on a site of ill repute is not the same as alleged multiple breaches of donation reporting requirements that result in SFO charges.

And National’s attack on the Greens yesterday for being silent “on electoral fraud” strikes new levels of hypocrisy.

There are interim suppression orders in place.  Please be respectful of these.

46 comments on “National received two dodgy $100,000 donations ”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    The money is almost certainly from the CCP via it's various front organisations. National's stance on (for example) restarting the housing bubble for the benefit of offshore investors needs to be seen in this light.

    • RedLogix 1.1

      NZ is the southern terminus of the Third Island Chain

    • Climaction 1.2

      Oh come on…? This overt racism and xenophobia has no place here, particularly when it is hearsay with no evidence to back it up.

      • Incognito 1.2.1

        The 2018 donation is allegedly from a Chinese donor: https://thestandard.org.nz/pay-the-money-back-simon/

        Please point out the racism in the comment. Do you know what racism is or do you wave the word around just to show off your ignorance?

        • Anne 1.2.1.1

          Oh this Nat troll thinks he's hit on a political bullet courtesy of Phil Twyford who correctly pointed out that it was the mass buy-up of property – especially in Auckland – by the Chinese (and we all know where their money originated) which was fueling the rapid increase in house prices.

          He was maliciously accused by the Nats and their lackeys in the MSM of racist comments.

          • Incognito 1.2.1.1.1

            The word racism is used too lightly in common language and it is losing its important meaning, IMO. Pointing out that overseas money and buyers may fuel the housing prices is not racist per se.

            • Anne 1.2.1.1.1.1

              The word racism is used too lightly in common language…

              Indeed. And the irony here is:

              Those who are most guilty of flinging the word around too lightly are more often than not the most racist of all.

              • RedLogix

                Racism is indeed a powerful word, and has great power when used correctly. But powerful tools are always a temptation to be abused.

              • Rapunzel

                That is sadly my firm belief too, some trade on that and the fact that often people are "too polite" in fighting back. The gloves are going to have to come off in this election although I think the National Party is not yet showing some very big wounds that are going to hamper them severely but they set the rules of that & the tone

      • Psycho Milt 1.2.2

        No evidence to back it up? Anne-Marie Brady's provided plenty – if you haven't read any of it, that isn't Sanctuary's fault.

      • I Feel Love 1.2.3

        "1 Chinese is worth 2 Indians" – that's overt racism.

    • Cath 1.3

      👍yep that would be my conclusion too

  2. Incognito 2

    So, they went to great lengths to keep the names of the donor(s) secret, which means they have something to hide, obviously. For the sake of transparency, I’d like to see everything come into the open with as few suppression orders as possible for the sake of public interest. Same with donations to NZF. The secrecy and cover-ups undermine trust in politicians more than anything else does. If I were the Greens, I’d say as little as possible and let it all come out in Court.

  3. Ad 3

    Hopefully they don't settle and the trial is in August.

    Nothing like a stench.

  4. ianmac 4

    Is it likely that the two sums from the donations on trial are the only ones?

    How or who could back check?

  5. ianmac 5

    Audrey Young writes that, "The SFO has not yet decided to investigate. It has received a referral from the police, which received material from the Electoral Commission. It is not yet clear whether the SFO will announce they have enough to launch a formal investigation as it did in 2008."

    So in the meantime, the Opposition with the help of MSM continues to act as though NZF has been convicted and sentenced.

  6. ianmac 6

    And I can't find any column on the Herald re Dodgy National Donations. This would show us the spin they will use in defending National from harm.
    And the Stuff article is buried deep and is a reprint of Tim Murphy’s column. But headlines about a photo?

    • tc 6.1

      they'll be waiting from directions from Nat party HQ, probably be a profoma ' they did it too…' or choose from their range of dead cats to attempt a bounce.

      This is where the MSM show their partisan nature as most reasonable people are aware National tweaked the EFA to make this a common ‘pretty legal’ practice if done properly.

    • satty 6.2

      Same thoughts here. Earlier today there have been 4 or 5 article headlines at NZ Herald Online regarding NZF Foundation and why the coalition partners are weak etc. etc. Haven't seen anything about National Party's "at least two hidden $100,000 donations".

  7. Some questions for Simon Bridges in this. Firstly, when did he know about the second $100k? Secondly, why wasn't he open and honest about the second donation when it first came to his attention?

    It's bad political management to have just hoped no one would ever find out about Bung 2. Better to have front footed it the moment he knew it existed.

    However, if he's always known about it, then failing to be transparent is a sin of omission, which is equally as bad as the sin of commission that is central to Jami Lee Ross' claim about Simon's involvement in Bung 1.

    My gut feeling is that Simon has tried to lawyer his way out of mentioning Bung 2. I understand that in court it's best practice to not volunteer the answer to a question you haven't actually been asked. In this case, Simon's strategy seems to have been 'I haven't been asked about it, so I'll just keep schtumm and hope it goes away'.

    • Tiger Mountain 7.1

      Bridges denial over the donations “It wasn’t meeeee!! & it wasn’t Nashnull neither”… has been classic Trump “trample through the underbrush” bluster, hopefully it catches up with him soon. Emotion is what blue fans crave–they want the BS to be true!–and lap it up like a dog revisiting a regurgitated dinner.

      No excuses for NZ First, they have done it all to themselves ultimately, even though the two donation scenarios are not directly comparable from what is in public. It is frustrating though that there are no anguished squeals for Mr Bridges resignation from the tory media.

      • Anne 7.1.1

        A reasonable response from Jacinda Ardern to the rw press gallery is to say something along these lines:

        The difficulty here is there are two major SFO investigations… one looking into two donations of $100,000 each to the National Party, and a NZ First Foundation issue. There have been 4 arrests in the case involving National and no arrests yet in the NZ First case. If I was to stand down the NZ First leader then one would expect that the leader of National should stand down too until there is a court outcome to their case.

        • ianmac 7.1.1.1

          Well said Anne!

        • Tiger Mountain 7.1.1.2

          Well put Anne, obviously what Mr Bridges desperately wants to avoid.

        • the other pat 7.1.1.3

          oh please please send that to her….magick!!yes

          • Anne 7.1.1.3.1

            Problem is 'the other Pat', its not for me to tell the prime minister what to say and what not to say. I am a mere mortal of no standing.

            It's so obviously the line that should be taken if this carry-on over the NZ First Foundation continues from Simon and Paula and their media acolytes, that she must have thought of it herself – surely.

        • Cath 7.1.1.4

          That is exactly what Jacinda should say!

    • Fireblade 7.2

      Simon pleads ignorance.

      "I have no information in relation to the other donation, I suppose someone does, and presumably they've been charged. It's now before the courts and look I don't have information and I can't speculate".

      https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/409785/national-donations-sfo-charge-details-a-surprise-bridges

    • veutoviper 7.3

      TRP, being an incurable pedant, I have wasted a lot of time this morning going back over the many press releases etc in 2018 when things blew up in the Ross/Bridges saga and since, trying (unsuccessfully to date) to pin down which year's $100K donations to National of the two now made public (2017 and 2018) the infamous tape recording of Ross' phone call with Bridges relates to … The media releases etc are amazingly fuzzy and inconsistent as to the date of the phone conversation itself – 20 to 26 June dates have been reported, but the year (2017 or 2018) was consistently not reported.

      Similarly, while a group dinner of National MPs (Bridges, Ross, Bennett, Jian etc) out with Zhang Yukin and associates is reported as taking place in May 2017, press releases re the private dinner Bridges attended at Zhang Yukin' home are very fuzzy as to the date and the year – but there is some indirect suggestion that this may have been in 2018. So which dinner is being referred to in the tapes itself – the one in 2017 or another possibly in 2018 – and therefore which of the two $100k donations were Ross and Bridges talking about in their phone call?

      Cynical me asks myself if this lack of detail, consistency, etc on the part of the media re the actual dates of certain events was unintential or incompetent – or …?

      • Anne 7.3.1

        – or… is my pick.

        • veutoviper 7.3.1.1

          LOL! I gave up the hunt for detail etc because I no longer get paid for that sort of thing, and SFO have a few good "pedantic detail hunters" in their ranks!

          PS – liked your suggested words for JA above! She gave SB a run for his money in QT this afternoon.

      • I'm also at a loss to work out which is which, veutoviper. Like you, I tried to google the timeline, but I'm still none the wiser. I guess there's only one person who could quickly clear it up. That'd be Simon Bridges.

  8. florabunda 8

    And Paula Bennett should be careful who she accuses of malpractice.

  9. veutoviper 9

    Serious Fraud Office

    As we are likely to be hearing a lot about the Serious Fraud Office in the coming months, I though people may be interested in listening to this short (6 minute) interview between Jesse Mulligan and Len Anderson, President of the Criminal Bar Association on RNZ National this afternoon which provides a short suscinct primer of:

    • the role of the SFO
    • when and why it was set up,
    • its relationship with NZ Police (separate/independent)
    • what's likely to happen from here.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/afternoons/audio/2018734666/what-is-the-serious-fraud-office

    Much more here on SFO's website https://www.sfo.govt.nz/

  10. Avocadonz 10

    Micky- genuine question. Do you get tired of running diversion for the Govt? A quick scan of your posts tells a story of someone obsessed with National.

    • peterh 10.1

      Have you asked are the media obsessed with Peters

    • ianmac 10.2

      Would like to tell Bridges that he is obsessed with NZF? Or Bridges is obsessed with Labour given that nearly every time he speaks it is about Labour or NZF?

      Actually I appreciate Micky's tireless effort at correcting the Bridges smears.

    • Enough is Enough 10.3

      He's not quite as obsessed as Clint Smith (AKA Steve Pierson) on twitter. He is tweeting essentially 24/7 about Bridges. Its weird why we give such a flake oxygen.

    • mickysavage 10.4

      Fair question. I prefer the deeper policy driven posts. But National offers so much to write about … And Bridges is dangerous. He would wreck the country if he became PM.

  11. kiwigirl105 11

    so the nats have been found not so squiky clen as they like to make out

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