No smoking gun but plenty of sunlight from Bridges tape

Written By: - Date published: 3:32 pm, October 18th, 2018 - 207 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, Dirty Politics, electoral commission, national, Politics, Simon Bridges - Tags: , , ,

Rogue National Party MP Jami-Lee Ross’s recording of Simon Bridges has been widely characterised in the media as “no smoking gun”, but it sure as hell shines sunlight on myriad issues, especially the Chinese-National Party relationship.

What comes out is:
• Corruption within the National Party is routine
• Influence in the National Party is for sale to those with money
• China’s use of “soft power” is extensive and expanding
• Bridges and Ross are casually racist, like many in the National Party
• The National Party cynically manipulates different Asian communities for its own purposes
• The National Party routinely attempts to circumvent the law regarding party donations
• Bridges was happy to lie to National Party president Peter Goodfellow regarding the $100,000 donation of Chinese businessman Zhang Yikun
• Bridges wants rid of several dead wood National Party MPs, not counting the obvious named candidates Chris Finlayson, David Carter, and Nicky Wagner
• National list MP Maureen Pugh now has a profile but may wish she didn’t, given her leader classified her as “fucking useless”
• That venal doesn’t even begin to describe the disposition of National Party politicians

While the tape does not have Bridges explicitly saying, “how do we hide this donation”, it is clear subterfuge surrounding donations is so routine within National that it doesn’t need to be stated.

If you go past his incomprehensible English, what Bridges is really saying is that he wanted to keep the money outside the National Party official channels. He mulls whether or not he needed to inform party president Goodfellow, who he was due to meet later that night.

Bridges discusses whether the $100k is enough to get Zhang’s business partner Colin Zheng in as a National Party candidate and whether there that wad of cash was enough to up Chinese parliamentary representation. This would be at the expense of Filipino or Indian representation and would come via those ‘useless’ dead-wood MPs like Findlayson, Carter, Wagner, or the “fucking useless” Pugh.

“You’ve only got so much space. Depends where we’re polling, you know… two Chinese would be nice, but would it be one Chinese or one Filipino?” says Bridges, to which Ross retorts: “Two Chinese would be more valuable than two Indians, I have to say.”

The casual racism is nauseating but more concerning is the question of influence.

Newsroom’s Laura Walters has written a revealing profile of Zhang Yikum, who despite speaking no English was, on Queen’s Birthday, awarded an MBE “for services to New Zealand-China relations and the Chinese community”. Zhang, who has deep ties to the Chinese communist party also has close links to Labour politicians like Andrew Little and Phil Goff, who was the recipient of substantial donations for his Auckland mayoralty campaign.

Zhang’s donations are a smoking gun of the Chinese Communist Party’s political soft power.

University of Canterbury professor and China soft power expert, Anne-Marie Brady, notes Zhang is a leader in the Chinese Government’s United Front work activities, the Chinese Government’s department that “helps keep unity and promote the party’s values in China and among the Chinese diaspora”.

After moving to New Zealand in 2000, the now multi-millionaire started restaurant businesses, before expanding into property investment and food manufacturing. He has set up the Chao Shan General Association of New Zealand as a way to help support Chinese migrants, and foster relations between the two countries including promoting China’s Belt and Road Initiative in New Zealand.

He has been deeply involved in trade delegations between China and New Zealand and those activities have invariably involved high level contacts with officials from both the National and Labour parties.

In her book Magic Weapons: China’s political influence activities under Xi Jinping, Brady explains how the Chinese Communist Party uses the “United Front” technique to spread its influence. This means other organisations that are ostensibly separate from the Chinese state are used as proxies. So, in New Zealand, Brady contends that various Chinese expatriate community groups or newspapers have effectively been taken over by the Chinese government.

These organisations are supposedly directed by the Chinese state agency, the United Front Work Department, which President Xi Jinping called a “magic weapon” in China’s growing global influence.

Political Scientist Bryce Edwards argues that “debate about Chinese government influence here also seems to have been muted due to fears of promoting illiberalism. Many are understandably uncomfortable with the potential nationalistic, xenophobic, and even racist elements to concerns about Chinese government interference in New Zealand.”

The NZ Herald’s Matt Nippert and David Fisher’s article Revealed:China’s network of influence in New Zealand provides an interesting background.

Since publishing her unwelcome research, Professor Brady has been the subject of a number of strange break-ins which prompted Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to order New Zealand intelligence agencies to investigate whether China was involved.

Yesterday’s tape recording is also revealing about the murky business of how former Chinese spy Yang Jian became a National MP in 2011. Like Zhang, Jian has been a major donor to the National Party. Yang spent 15 years studying and working for a Chinese spy agency – the PLA-Air Force Engineering College and Luoyang Foreign Language Institute but we never got to the bottom of his links to the Chinese government.

Chinese soft power has been an even hotter topic in Australia where a government investigation by the prime minister’s office and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) uncovered attempts by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to influence all levels of politics in Australia.

The investigation also looked into political donors linked to China. Head investigator, John Garnaut, a former senior adviser to former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and a former China news correspondent, told a US Congressional committee that compared to Russian interference, China was “very good at it”.

“Unlike Russia, which seems to be as much for a good time rather than a long time, the Chinese are strategic, patient, and they set down foundations of organisations and very consistent narratives over a long period of time,” Garnaut told the committee.

“They put an enormous amount of effort into making sure we don’t talk about what it’s doing,” he said, adding that countries have “failed to recognise a lot of the activity that has been going on.”

The report’s findings on China’s influence of the media and academia led Turnbull to propose new laws targeting espionage, foreign political donations and foreign interference in December 2017.

Relations between Beijing and Canberra have since soured considerably.

On top of murky dealings regarding New Zealand’s Chinese elite, the National Party donations scandal exposed by Ross revealed that the man behind a $10,000 Cathedral Club National Party donation is Auckland businessman Aaron Bhatnagar.

Bhatnagar, a former Auckland City Councillor, was exposed in Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics as one of Whaleoil’s Cameron Slater’s inner cabal, who in 2011 was caught by IT commentator and blogger Russell Brown trying incognito to smear political opponents on Wikipedia.

Bhatnagar was also involved in an illegal hack of the Labour Party website.

National’s hapless hiding of a ‘Cathedral Club’ donation listed the donor’s address as Bhatnagar’s home so he had to admit to being the $10,000 donor. He described the Cathedral Club as “an informal pay-your-own-way dinner club that started in 2001, comprised of a small group of Young Nats and old friends from university days”.

The Cathedral Club, is like the so-called Cabinet Club, that was controversial through the term of John Key’s government because attendees, who paid large sums of money to attend were given access to ministers, including Key when he was prime minister. Key claimed he attended such clubs as an MP and party member but the Cabinet manual makes it clear minister MPs can talk about any portfolio matter.

In 2014, then Green Party co-leader Russel Norman damned such access “as fundamentally corrosive to democracy”.
Such a system gives wealthy people access to the halls of power. Yesterday’s tape reveals just how it works.

Ross, who interestingly has been advised by Dirty Politics actor Simon Lusk, claims the rationale for his expose of the donations scandal is that Bridges and National have lost their moral compass. Deputy leader Paula Bennett, when asked why Bridges has been involved at all in conversations with Chinese businessmen about donations to the party said:

“Because that’s his job. We fundraise.”

If that is what Bennett believes, Ross is utterly wrong – National has no moral compass.

(Simon Louisson reported for The Wall Street Journal, AP Dow Jones Newswires, New Zealand Press Association and Reuters and briefly was a political and media adviser to the Green Party)

207 comments on “No smoking gun but plenty of sunlight from Bridges tape ”

  1. Dennis Frank 1

    That certainly is a comprehensive outline of the cultural and political context in which to anchor the recorded conversation of Ross with Bridges. I’ve suspected this type of behaviour for years, and doubt I’m alone in that, but the blatant influence-buying as a communist-directed strategy makes sense. The more they act like capitalists, the less the political right will suspect them, thus collusion results.

    Any alert member of the public familiar with the old wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing simile will figure out the pattern for themselves but it helps for the media to summarise the evidence, that’s for sure. And of course the Labour pigs have been feeding at the same trough as the National pigs, even if the sucking sounds they make are somewhat more muted!

    • patricia bremner 1.1

      On what grounds do you make that assumption???

      • Dennis Frank 1.1.1

        Past media reporting of Chinese donations to Labour. Wealthy people often donate to the political left & right – it’s been standard practice oft reported in western countries for decades. They seem to regard it as similar to an insurance policy, inasmuch as it buys them influence regardless which party is in government.

        • patricia bremner

          Thanks for your reply Frank. It has been standard for big business to donate to both parties, insurance as you say. However you must admit the teat on the right appears to be heavy with cream while the rest get skimmed milk.
          A further point was the diversion of (milk) funds to Bridges attacks or campaigns.

          • Tricledrown

            The Donor is furious other Donors may Dry up.
            National have dug a very large hole.
            John Key has left a very corrupt legacy
            Brownlee on TV this morning played his cards close to his chest.
            Brownlee looks like the safest pair of hands.
            The National Party looks like cycling NZ or Football NZ toxic.
            Boags kiss of Death for Simple Simon.

          • Dennis Frank

            True, seemingly but we don’t really know due to both doing non-disclosure strategies (unlike the Greens). Also, note that there’s been no shock/horror reaction from Labour. No moral stand like “we’d never do that!”

            • mickysavage


              I wish that Labour had the same quality income stream. It does not.

              The deafening silence is because Labour is letting National sort this out all by themselves.

              • UncookedSelachimorpha

                “I wish that Labour had the same quality income stream. It does not.”

                Nor should it.

                “The deafening silence is because Labour is letting National sort this out all by themselves.”

                Yes, but what Labour should be doing is initiating electoral law reform to get private donor money out of politics entirely.

                • Rae

                  I think people should be able to donate to political parties still, but what we need to do is find a way that they remain anonymous, say, a website that donations can be filtered through (so no more cash in a plastic bag) to the designated party of preference of donor to that party. All that would have to be done is to make sure there are no recognisable amounts so that no-one can say “When an amount of $99,386.86 comes to your account, it’s from me, nudge nudge.”
                  Or maybe you prefer this way
                  I definitely agree that the nudge. nudge, wink, wink system is not the best we can come up with

                  • UncookedSelachimorpha

                    “I think people should be able to donate to political parties ”

                    Why should someone with $100k to give, have more political influence than a poor person?

                    Restricting all contributions to a modest maximum annual party membership fee (say $100) would reset the balance between people power and the power of wealth. A further state-funded contribution could go to parties in proportion to their party vote.

                    I doubt you could truly anonymise donations so the recipient doesn’t know. And even if you could – that would still allow very rich people to dominate the political landscape (they can donate to their favoured causes, at the expense of everyone else’s democracy).

                • KJT

                  Labour tried a while back.

                  The media kickback, remember “Democracy under attack” headlines from the right wing, terrified they could no longer buy the “democracy” they wanted.

            • Tricledrown

              Jacinda claimed when asked by media that everything’s above board
              But Labour is wisely sticking to the sidelines.

  2. Dirk.Dirkin 2

    Nats accused Labour of mishandling allegations of sexual misdeeds at a camp while keeping these allegations quiet until a whistleblower needs to be blackmailed.

  3. Sacha 3

    “He mulls whether or not he needed to inform party president Goodfellow”

    Rubbish. There is more than enough to argue about in this palaver without making shit up.

    • Sacha 3.1

      “claims the rationale for his expose of the donations scandal is that Bridges and National have lost their moral compass.”

      Ross very clearly said his concern is with Bridges, not the party.
      I’ll have whatever you’re smoking.

    • Dennis Frank 3.2

      Needs further elucidation – is there a transcript of the entire recording online yet? I recall hearing them refer to whether to inform Goodfellow (which supports what Simon wrote) but don’t recall the exact words used.

      I think the point, which Richard Harman also made (to Jim Mora’s Panel) is that Bridges apparently wanted to use the money for his own political purposes, so he wasn’t keen that it go through the normal party channels. Something a journo ought to follow up on, I reckon. Understandable if the media feeding frenzy currently rates that rather low on the list of priorities!

      • patricia bremner 3.2.1

        Yes I agree, ‘His own political purposes”, that this aspect is very concerning as it shows a casual attitude to the rules. I was interested in the comment about ‘Todd McClay maybe having something up his sleeve’, as a go to person to achieve the money diversion??

        • Dennis Frank

          Didn’t notice that one from McClay but he denied the early claim by Ross that they both knew about the arrangement Bridges apparently suggested. Since Ross has been unable to prove that the instruction to split the donation did originally come from Bridges, McClay could have done so after consultation with Bridges. Donation splitting could feasibly go back into the Key era as standard practice for the Nats, due to all that amending of the Electorate Act in various different years (reported in the other thread). Could be Ross & Lusk were trying to make Bridges responsible for it despite that.

  4. McFlock 4

    It looks to me like they were basically selling list spots for donations. That’s what seems to come through most explicitly. The racism and the stabbing of colleagues is internal shit, most amusing, but the sale of representation seems almost formalised – for a hundred K, they’ll put someone like you on the fast track to parliament.

  5. Chuck 5

    Simon as you have touched on in your piece above, our Chinese/Asian friends play the long game. I see it almost every week with my Chinese friends – how they do business, raise their children etc.

    Of course, the Chinese Govt wants to assert its influence globally, to ensure access to critical resources to grow and look after that massive country called China.

    Like any good salesperson, once you put a piece of your kit on your customer’s floor it is much easier to retain that particular order book.

    I would expect most prominent Chinese businessmen/women to have ties with the Govt in China. As long as we know that…it can be handled.

    As your headline reads “No Smoking Gun” so of course, you need to come up with other avenues of attack.

    • Dukeofurl 5.1

      “I would expect most prominent Chinese businessmen/women to have ties with the Govt in China. ”
      Really ? So those South Africans who have come to live have ties with government in Pretoria, same goes with the many Australians….UK permanent migrants? Does migrants from Singapore , mostly of chinese descent do this?

      Its bullshit of course. What the government in China does is have its proxies/agents live in NZ to influence the local media, patriotic organisations etc.
      Only a one party state would want to continue its control like this – there is no managing this from our end.

      • Dennis Frank 5.1.1

        You disagree with Simon in regard to the regime’s political strategy re infiltration? Makes perfect sense to me. Just an extension of imperialism, cloaked as capitalist collusion. Your analogy to South Africa etc doesn’t apply. Then you seem to contradict yourself in your final paragraph, which supports his point! Proxies & agents of the Chinese govt, yet somehow without ties to that govt??

    • Gabby 5.2

      How can it be ‘handled’ chuckles? By holding out your ‘hand’?

    • JessNZ 5.3

      Our children’s primary school had a program to teach some German to all the kids each week, and it was set up by some locals (whom I know personally).

      In 2014, the Government announced funding for ALLIS, which only applies to Asian languages. Because no schools get enough funding, it wasn’t surprising that the German language program was suddenly discontinued and now the kids have Chinese each week. They aren’t learning much real language – pretty much games and songs and culture.

      However, I believe the Chinese teachers in the secondary schools are also funded from Chinese contributions. Our son took some secondary, largely because of the experience in primary, and it was interesting to see what personal details were often asked as assignment questions. Again, it was hard to see that he was gaining any real command of the language, so he won’t be continuing. Actually mastering an Asian language takes more than a few years at secondary.

      And of course, there is this very recent acknowledgement of the funding for the Confucius Instititutes at our universities.

      Should we be concerned about having funded Chinese teachers inserted into our educational system at all levels from totally innocent children to young adults in higher learning? I’m pretty sure a Chinese person would consider us naive in the extreme.

      • Chuck 5.3.1

        Interesting points JessNZ I will have a look.

      • RedLogix 5.3.2

        I’m pretty sure a Chinese person would consider us naive in the extreme.

        Considering that for the past four decades or so we’ve done everything within our power to undermine and dismantle the values of our own civilisation, they might also regard us as careless and negligent in the extreme.

  6. Dukeofurl 6

    The nationals media strategy is going to plan:
    Yesterday stories about national Mps shocked and horrified by actions of disloyal MP
    Today stories of national Mps shocked and horrified by disloyal MP and his
    toxic ‘relationships’

    Meanwhile Bridges and Bennett hide away and sent out proxies like Farrar of princess partys fame to deflect and confuse.

    • mpledger 6.1

      The “toxic relationship” is just throwing dirt. Who hasn’t had a relationship that went wrong and people were upset with what went down. If “toxic relationship” changes to harrassment or something worse/illegal then it’s worth bringing it into the public domain but anything else and it’s obviously just meant for deflection.

      • Dukeofurl 6.1.1

        Sex and power … its parliament after all and one of those used sexually was a journalist…or was that the other way round?

  7. Cinny 7

    jlr has just released the text

    • ianmac 7.1

      It seems that Hamilton was just doing his job.
      But there is no record of how he got on tracing those donors.
      Will the police have better luck?

      • Dukeofurl 7.1.1

        Doing his job would mean ‘giving the money back’ – that clearly didnt happen as they would have said so by now.

        • ianmac

          They would only have to give the money back if the donors did not add up. But did they? If it was found that all those individuals gave $14,000 then no more would be said. Kosher? We hear that Hamilton is scrupulous so…

          • Dukeofurl

            so you are saying 7 X $14k donations from names even the party hasnt heard of, all at the same time means its all OK ?

            How did these people get the bank account number ? Ross said Bridges sent him to ‘The $100K guy’ where he provided the bank account number.

    • Dukeofurl 7.2

      Its clear they knew they were dealing with ‘straw donors’ to make up the $100k.

      Whats strange is the media keep saying ‘no smoking gun’ , but thats deliberate I think otherwise if you put it all out there they will successfully counter it.

      Drip feeding means they cant come up with bullshit to evade the story , as the next few days will produce more evidence released.

      • Dennis Frank 7.2.1

        We’ve seen elsewhere the divisions being reported as 7x14K plus one of 2K. Adds up to exactly 100K, the original donor offer. No smoking gun refers to lack of recorded evidence of Bridges discussing that division prior to the money arriving.

        So will the police prosecute National on this basis? Of course not. The Chinese were informed of how to split the donation to make it acceptable to the Nats. Not illegal due to no evidence of the Nats instructing them!

        • Chuck

          Here is Andrew Geddis take on it so far…

          And I heard this afternoon that Zhang Yikun has said he made no personal donation of any amount. It was from individuals which made up a total of $100k (in the amounts you have put above).

          It was also pointed out that if National had just recorded one donation of $100k they would have broken the law…

          • Dukeofurl

            Its also breaking the law to use straw donors or to do donor splitting to evade the limits.

            • Dukeofurl

              “Not illegal due to no evidence of the Nats instructing them!”

              Thats not what the law says Dennis. They have to give it back if ‘the party secretary knows or has reason to believe’ its non complying.

              A coordinated giving of $100K to the same account by unknowns is definitely non complying and they DID NOT give it back.

              • riffer

                Gosh, no way that can ever be proven though. It looks pretty much game over for JLR unless he can pull something miraculous out of his arse. The level of retaliatory takedown today has been breathtaking. From what I’ve seen vox pop today it seems to have completely changed the conversation for the average person.

            • alwyn

              Then who are they and who did put up the money.
              You claim that
              ‘Its clear they knew they were dealing with ‘straw donors’ to make up the $100k.”.
              It might be clear to you, but that merely seems to mean that you think like JLR. So put up and tell us why it is “clear”. It must be a simple thing to do for such a perspicacious individual as you seem to think you are.

              • Tricledrown

                Alwynger be very afraid Lusk is on the job tea party take over Slippery Slater wants National to become ACT.
                Dirty Politic’s you are Being kept out of the loop.
                Another f/ING useful Troll.

      • Chuck 7.2.2

        “Its clear they knew they were dealing with ‘straw donors’ to make up the $100k.”

        You are correct in the sense that “IF” National had recorded it as 1 donation of $100k.

        However, they did not and it was recorded in the amounts as received.

        • Dukeofurl

          They knew they were dealing with a ‘block donation’ of a group acting together – why else would a group of ‘unknown names’ give by NZ standards a huge amount of $14k donations at the same time.

          remember Ross has said he was sent by Bridges to ‘collect’ – which meant he went to provide the party bank account the payments were to be made into.

          Bridges was promised the $100k donation at a previous fundraiser, they knew the quantum was $100K and so it turned out to be .
          or is itusual to get 7 x identical donations of $14k in specific account + one of $2k.

          • Dukeofurl

            Ross knew the party had an obligation to return the money if it was dodgy and used straw donors. By some miracle that problem went away. Yet it was clear it was a coordinated multiple donors to make up $100k

            I think the law requires donations between $1.5K and $15000 for the party to retain ‘names and adresses’

            • Dukeofurl

              Heres the gen from Electoral Act

              A candidate must give back to the donor the entire amount of the donation, or its entire value, if the candidate knows, or has reasonable grounds to believe, that the donor has failed to comply with subsection (2) in any respect.
              A party secretary must give back to the donor the entire amount of the donation, or its entire value, if the party secretary knows, or has reasonable grounds to believe, that the donor has failed to comply with subsection (2) in any respect.

              S2 covers this
              the following information about any contribution that, either on its own or when aggregated with other contributions made by or on behalf of the same contributor to the donation, exceeds $1,500 in sum or value:


              • Dennis Frank

                You’re onto it with this, and if the police are unbiased they will judge the 7 x identical donations of $14k + one of $2k as corresponding to the offer of 100K. They will agree that this is in breach of the law you quoted:

                “A candidate must give back to the donor the entire amount of the donation, or its entire value, if the candidate knows, or has reasonable grounds to believe, that the donor has failed to comply with subsection (2) in any respect…
                S2: … any contribution that, either on its own or when aggregated with other contributions made by or on behalf of the same contributor to the donation, exceeds $1,500 in sum or value”

                So they seem to have a basis for prosecuting whoever signed off the Nats donations declaration! However the police have discretion as to whether to prosecute. Any bias in the heads of those who decide, it won’t happen.

                • barfly

                  “candidate” versus party different numbers involved (15K) but I think the same regulation as in u ain’t supposed to be able to pull that shit!

            • Chuck

              “By some miracle that problem went away.”

              They went back and made sure they complied with the act…in sorting out addresses etc.

              Dukeofurl I think you can discount pretty much everything JLR has alleged. It is now clear the person that JLR is…and his end game.

            • Tuppence Shrewsbury

              “Ross knew” is pretty much Ross imagines now as is clear from all the transcripts.

              When Chris Carter imploded no one imagined it was anything other than some dipshit trying to be the boss, same here really. Ross is clearly a megalomaniac, what’s surprising is how he’s kept in under wraps for so long

  8. Dukeofurl 8

    See their strategy !
    ‘National party president Peter Goodfellow released the same text messages minutes after Ross on Thursday afternoon.
    “There has been speculation that we have received a $100,000 donation, there was no such donation. The Botany Electorate of the National Party received 8 donations, and Mr Ross declared 8 donations to us. Mr Ross has also said that he will be releasing some text messages between himself and Greg Hamilton. To ensure you see the entire conversation we are releasing these 4 text messages,” Goodfellow said.”

    Makes statement to counter Ross , end of story. No interview, no questions , zilch….

    • ianmac 8.1

      The collective wisdom of the National Admin will divert Ross’s credibility. Goodfellow has shown that he is not a Good Fellow. Barclay?

    • Treetop 8.2

      I would like to examine the 8 checks to be sure that they are for the amounts they are claimed to be for.

      Also to compare the hand writing, serial numbers, time they were deposited and cleared.

  9. outofbed 9

    If i was one of the eight who was told to make a donation. I would want to be the one who only had to give 2 grand rather then the 14 grand the others had to fork out 🙂

    • Barfly 9.1

      If the “people” who made these 8 donations actually even exist – the money they donated was all provided by the same source

  10. Ross 10

    JLR is racist? I don’t see that. He makes a comment about Indians presumably because he thinks that is what Bridges wants to hear. After all, JLR is recording their convo. I would not give much credence to anything he says. 🙂

  11. Pat 11

    Stephen Franks on The Panel this afternoon made some pertinent observations ( surprisingly I find myself agreeing with his views) ….the biggest scandal from the tape is the willingness of our so called representatives to sell seats in the house ( something that Labour need to also reflect upon).

    No wonder politicians rate below used car salesmen in the respect stakes…something that it is imperative to change if we are ever to attract citizens of worth to the house.

    A pox on all their houses

  12. Dennis Frank 12

    Checkpoint just now, Bridges said no criminal behaviour evident in the four complaints, so no need to involve the police. Lisa Owen mentioned that she’d discovered one of the bullying complaints went to Goodfellow before Bridges became leader. As a result, that complainant signed a non-disclosure agreement with the NP.

    Later they told us that what they got from Ross today was his text exchange with Greg Hamilton (Sep 12 I think) in which Ross informs him that Bridges arranged the 100K donation(s):

    The Nats are responding by claiming that this was a set-up. Given Lusk is working with Ross, they could easily be right!

    • Dukeofurl 12.1

      Set up ? Sure sounds they have Textor back on board as the rebuttals have been ‘too good’.
      Yestrday he was a lone wolf, and crazy to boot….but that cant have worked so its now its hes cunning and manipulative

    • Cinny 12.2

      Thanks Dennis, hey awesome I didn’t know Lisa Owen was on Checkpoint now, was wondering where she went, primo, will have to tune in to them more often.

    • Treetop 12.3

      As a result, that complainant signed a non-disclosure agreement with the NP.

      The Jamilee Tweets
      I wrote I want to know if there has been a payout to any of the four women by National.

      Why sign a non disclosure agree ment?

      It was either to compensate the woman for wrong doing against her within the National party, or to hush her up, or to protect JLR.

      • Treetop 12.3.1

        I know there has not been mention of a payout. It would be plausible.

        JLR would be unwise to lash out at the woman through a lawyer who signed a confidentiality clause with Goodfellow over seeing it.

  13. Jay 13

    Yes the casual racism is nauseating, but let’s not pretend that this very thing isn’t rife in our public sector, or that it isn’t a direct and predictable result of affirmative action and the like that many of us might support. We might find it distasteful to hear it spoken about in such a cynical fashion, but that won’t change the fact that we have systems and policies across the public sector and other organisations aimed at achieving exactly what Bridges and Ross are discussing. Policies, attitudes and systems like these have in my opinion now largely reduced the value of human beings to their ethnicity, sex, or race, rather than their skills, knowledge, experience etc… Ironically this institutionalised racism is the result of policies and practices aimed at eliminating… racism.

    • David Mac 13.1

      Jamie Lee and Simon’s conversation had nothing to do with race and everything to do with who was going to be best at feathering the nest.

  14. David Mac 14

    I’m astounded by how cheap it is to get on the list. At 100k a nod, lets crowd source 2.6 million and the 26 members of the Petone Municipal Brass band could be controlling the opposition.

    • Tricledrown 14.1

      David Mac they would do a better job

      • David Mac 14.1.1

        Yep, the long-term treasurers of small clubs are wonderfully straight and fastidious.

        • Tricledrown

          And they would all sing from the same song sheet.
          The rats have been outed and are all trying to save themselves from the stinking ship.

          • David Mac

            This Chinese joker with 8 hands, he must have the Charisma of Jackie Chan. Hardly speaks English and our Governor General has dubbed the guy on our behalf for his services to NZ.

            I so wanted people like him to be honoured for making a difference in a way that floats under my radar. Humane shit, helping others before themselves, prospering and helping others at the same time.

            Oh what a sucker I’ve been.

  15. Refreshing to see someone accurately outlay the broad picture on geopolitics rather than pontificate and beat around the bush on side issues. The saga is two sided. On the one hand it involves the squabbles between two members of an defeated opposition party , which then leads on to an expose of casual racist attitudes, contempt for democracy via buying ones way in to positions of influence, party division , and that party’s MO…

    But it also exposes the extent to which a foreign power has made inroads into our democratic process. New Zealanders seem to have a real problem with coming out in no uncertain terms and admitting that we’ve allowed this to go unchecked,… yet we are more than happy to read and comment about China’s soft power influence in a significant number of country’s in Africa for example.

    And in that continent, China has developed infrastructure and trade among those country’s. And political influence. With the latter being the real motive.

    We read about the trade war with the USA, we read about China building islands in the South China sea, and Americas antagonism towards those military installations, – and we seem to have a mental block in remembering that we are part of the 5 eyes agreement.

    And as such we are the weakest link in that chain.

    Yet one that carry’s out on the behalf of the US surveillance of the Pacific and China itself. China knows that we are no military threat, – but the 5 eyes are. There is no need to threaten us with arms,- far simpler , effective and cheaper to buy into our political system. And the price paid is considered literally peanuts compared to the gains achieved. Obviously , to have ‘buy – ins’ to both major party’s is a bonus.

    Sweeteners to individuals in political party’s via lucrative trade deals are easily arranged , and a small price to pay for gaining political influence. Particularly if influence in local legislation means it contains exceptionalism towards China and their interests.

    China , despite being an emergent capitalist nation is also a totalitarian one with one of the worst human rights abuse records globally. Executions for what we would consider in no way deserving of such treatment are common . They are well known to practice soft power… and also for having members of the communist party monitor other Chinese nationals in foreign nations. It would be no stretch of the imagination to say that of all these Chinese students we have in NZ, that there are many communist party loyalists whose job it is to monitor them… with the leverage being that they have family’s at home in the mainland…

    The whole altruistic drive from the business elite , – and the vast media campaigns they embarked upon to embed the message and influence public opinion in this country started with the notion of being’ tolerant’ , embracing ‘diversity’ , – implying at once that we were a small , insular and xenophobic nation intolerant of all those from different cultural backgrounds… and those who disagreed were labelled as ‘racists’ and ‘xenophobes’…

    Yet in light of seeing just who all this peace , love , natural foods and goodwill to all mankind actually benefited ,… this latest between Bridges and Jamie Lee Ross has blown all those noble aspirations wide apart.

    And what it has revealed instead is an insidious long term operation to influence our political landscape by a foreign power using the bait of petty financial rewards and avarice to buy off weak willed elected officials in this country , – and thus betray the voting public.

    We have slipped a long way from when we faced down America over their warships coming into our ports and their ‘neither confirm nor deny ‘ policy.

    Then we were bold.

    Whats changed ?

    • Ed 15.1

      The says this week has shown how deeply embedded China is in the National Party.
      Anyone who votes for National after this week’s events knowingly supports the takeover of the country by Chinese interests.

      • WILD KATIPO 15.1.1

        Indeed , Ed,…

        Yesterday we were 10 years old , yesterday we were freezing cold , yesterday you had us bought and sold but now , – we are Billy Bold !!!

        Billy Bold – Graham Brazier. 1981 – YouTube

  16. Mat Simpson 16

    It is always interesting to watch how the right wing press manage these attacks on a group of their ” own people ”
    When the shit was thrown at Cunliffe they were murderous in their treatment of someone who had done nothing wrong and were prepared to destroy Cunliffe regardless of the facts around the accusations being levelled at him and since then it has changed the way i view the fourth estate in this country and their appalling behaviour over that whole affair.
    There is according to the way they are covering this ” no smoking gun ”
    but that is not the point.
    Simon Bridges has proven by his behaviour that has been kept concealed from the public that he is not fit to hold any office in this country.
    Once again it has shown the public the calibre of the people who make up this political party and their tactics in pursuing power at any cost.


  17. Jilly Bee 17

    This saga is almost starting to get a wee bit tiresome – a whole lot of he said, they said then he said. I’m still hanging on each version though hoping the truth may come out. Couldn’t help but have a laugh at Mike Hosking though going into bat for Simon this morning, good god, he’s really getting it off over wee Soimun – his mutterings are getting more incomprehensive.

  18. Draco T Bastard 18

    It’s obvious that we need to ban foreign influence upon our internal politics. That has to include:

    *. Ban on foreign donations
    *. Ban foreign influence in our politics (Connections to offshore institutes that actually control local groups)
    *. Ban on non-citizens and dual citizens from entering parliament
    *. Ban Permanent Residents from voting (I’d prefer dropping Permanent residents altogether)
    *. Ban on foreign ownership

    It is time that we became truly independent.

  19. Delia 19

    Pretty disgusted with everything I have heard the last 24 hours.

  20. ianmac 20

    “Zhang Yikun has said he made no personal donation of any amount.” That makes another fly in the mixture. The story of $100,000 was based on that belief.
    This according to the Mayor of Dunedin who is overseas with Zhang.
    The search for the $100,000 will be futile.

    • David Mac 20.1

      Yeah…but…when Simon and Jamie lee were talking about the donation, they aren’t talking about lots of little amounts, Simon suggests the Whale comes to his new place for dinner. “I’ve mentioned it twice.”

      There was no 8 couples coming over for dinner.

  21. Cinny 21

    Confidentiality agreements, cover ups and payouts, that’s how national rolls when it comes to complaints.

    ‘National Party president Peter Goodfellow ‘signed confidentiality agreement’ with woman’

    • David Mac 21.1

      Confidentiality Agreements….

      I’ll give you money and you promise to lie, OK?

      A contract made to be broken.

    • ScottGN 21.2

      And don’t forget he brokered the deal which used taxpayer funds to pay off and shut up Glenys Dickson in the Barclay Affair and presumably Todd Barclay would still be the Member for Clutha-Southland if that all hadn’t gone to custard for National.

  22. CHCOff 22

    If this were a province of China ( & it’s GOOD that it’s not), Bridges and Co would be off to the gulags with this coming out & Ross perhaps promoted, so it’s six of one, half a dozen of another, depending on where one sits.

    Makes one miss those halycon days when the songsheet was all about the benefits of the NZ _ China Free Trade agreement to New Zealand society no?


  23. CHCOff 23


  24. KJT 24

    The law currently allows for “buying” politicians. Whether it is electoral donations, Directorships and other positions after politics, or favourable publicity and free advertising.

    Time the whole issue was addressed. Maybe public funding only in the basis of party membership? With a limit on fees.

    Amazing how National came out with “Democracy under attack” when Labour tried to restrict buying, the political results you want.

    Or, maybe we should bring it all out in the open. require MP’s to wear their sponsors logos, as someone suggested for the USA.

    Corruption is way too easy to get away with.

    • RedLogix 24.1

      Having the parties appoint List MP’s always was open to corruption; I recall commenting on this a decade back. And more pertinently when I ruminated about a neo-colonial Chinese empire’s easy capacity to buy up this small nation to serve it’s own expansionist purposes … it was rubbished as racist xenophobia.

      Well NZ should wake the fuck up and learn a hard lesson. As usual Australia is well ahead of us.

      • KJT 24.1.1

        Having list, or any, MP’s appointed by the party hierarchy is open to corruption..

        Not so open to corruption, when candidates are selected by open voting by the party members. As the Greens do.

        • RedLogix

          True that is definitely an improvement. But then you have a party susceptible to being captured by a relatively small activist membership base at a local level; which can have it’s own problems.

          Democratic accountability is a profoundly important value in our system; while our conventional approach works moderately well, there are plenty of possible alternatives we might want to consider. Another discussion for another day.

          As rewarding as it is to see National’s scab ripped off like this; there is a deeply cautionary tale in it for all our parties and democracy.

          • Macro

            No Red – as a Green member it doesn’t work that way. The ranking of the list is hugely structured and it is very difficult for any one sector to have a dominant influence. Also all candidates present their case at the ranking forum and the delegates from each area have to vote according to the directions of the members whom they represent. So the vote comes from a wide cross section of the party. There are also guidelines to ensure that the list gives a good cross section of representation of the population including balance in gender, ethnic, and experience.

          • KJT

            Would be rather difficult the way it is structured.

      • KJT 24.1.2

        Of course, gaining lucrative private positions after being an MP, with companies you have featherbedded when in Parliament. IS NOT Corrupt.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 24.2

      “Or, maybe we should bring it all out in the open. require MP’s to wear their sponsors logos”

      Idiocracy is a great movie, where exactly that happens!

  25. David Mac 25

    The problem with doing business with a corrupt regime is that you never quite know where you stand. One foot in jail or bankruptcy at the whim of a disgruntled official.

    I think most foreign countries would prefer to be dealing with a country that can’t be bought. Same rules for everyone. Then players know exactly where they stand.

    • RedLogix 25.1

      The problem with doing business with a corrupt regime

      It’s a totalitarian regime with an underbelly every bit as cruel and brutal as anything Stalin devised … just with modern decor and better window-dressing.

      • KJT 25.1.1

        Just like the USA, then.

        Unfortunately we have to deal with the world as it is, not as we would want it.

        Otherwise we would refuse trade with China, Indonesia, the USA, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Russia, etc etc…………. You can include Australia with their concentration camps also.

        We can, however try and improve things by challenging the politicians leading those countries.

        And our own ones, who are slowly making New Zealand more undemocratic and repressive.

        • greywarshark

          True, good comment KJT.

        • RedLogix

          Not really; there is not a good comparison between the single state CCCP, it’s Orwellian ubiquitous surveillance and mass concentration camps (that’s it tried to hide as ‘re-education camps’), and the USA. Or Australia FFS.

          Erasing all categories, making the relatively minor or moderate the same as the most serious is a very common conflation these days. It’s a simple strategy; nothing is perfect, therefore everything is evil. And all nuance and intelligence scrubbed away.

          We improve things by being clear on what is better or worse. China is worse than Australia … and this tells us which direction is up. Because right now there are more than a few nations; China, Russia, Phillipines, Brazil, Saudi, Nth Korea, Sth Africa and so on … that are heading the wrong way towards illiberal, totalitarian regimes.

          Trade bans are not automatically always the right response, but we do need to be very careful when we indiscriminately open up our economic sovereignty to nations ruled by govts which most definitely do not share our core values.

  26. cleangreen 26

    “Rogue National Party MP Jami-Lee Ross’s recording of Simon Bridges has been widely characterised in the media as “no smoking gun”, but it sure as hell shines sunlight on myriad issues, especially the Chinese-National Party relationship.”

    National = Blue dragon party.

    Jamie was right to tie National to the Asian ‘mafia –

  27. infused 27

    gez, you’re grasping at this one

  28. Gosman 28

    Without direct evidence of wrong doing Simon Bridges’s leadership is actually strengthened at the moment. It is still possible that he is mortally wounded but the tide has turned somewhat against Jami-Lee Ross.

    • Irrelevant.

      What this has all revealed is the Chinese communist party’s influence and buying political influence in this country. Your Bridges/ Ross dramas are side issues. I would thank you to desist with the diversions. No one particularly cares about those two grubby little individuals anymore.

      The emphasis has shifted to the real issues at hand.

      • solkta 28.1.1

        What proof is there that the Chinese communist party is involved?

        • KJT

          Doesn’t really matter.

          What we have considered the case since 84, has just been proved, National, like US political parties and 84 Labour, is for sale!

          • solkta

            What evidence to do you have that the Lange government was bought rather than just misguided?

            • KJT

              Huge increase in Labour’s funding, when they went all ACT on us.
              Don’t tell me it wasn’t paid for, and planned. Douglas and co may have been “useful idiots” but there was a lot of money and influence pushing it.

              Decrease in party funding when Cunliffe sounded left-ish more recently. I suspect had more to do with his ousting. The Labour Neolibs were concerned about their funding sources drying up. Money is the reason why the neo-liberal nonsense hasn’t gone away, despite all the evidence of it’s failure.

            • WILD KATIPO

              New Right Fight – Who are the New Right?

          • Gosman

            What do you mean ‘For sale’? This is merely putting forward a potential candidate not setting policies.

        • Dennis Frank

          Communists aren’t usually big on providing proof of their infiltration of foreign countries. Usually we rely on circumstantial evidence to alert us. Such as this:

          • solkta

            Sure, but there is still no basis to say: What this has all revealed is the Chinese communist party’s influence and buying political influence in this country.

            They might be involved, they might not be involved. $100,000 is not really a lot of money given the potential opportunities.

            • Dennis Frank

              True. The interesting question as to why the Nats felt that the 100K donation had to be split up to hide it was asked on this site, but it hasn’t been answered. My guess is that they are just managing perceptions. Big chinese donations not a good look. The Hamilton/Ross text exchange released yesterday illiminated the process somewhat, but not the motive.

              I see two policies operating in Nat top-level thinking: plausible deniability, and use of any loopholes in our electoral law around donations to hide both large donations and donor identity as much as possible. My guess is that they were adopted early in the Key era, or earlier under Brash (married a chinese woman, so can be expected to be sympathetic). Trying to pin culpability on Bridges is therefore disingenuous by Lusk/Ross. I agree that Ross seems genuine in regard to instructions from Bridges, in his text informing Hamilton of that – but not a smoking gun.

              • Gosman

                There is currently no evidence that a donation from a single source was split up. If evidence comes to light THEN you can seek answers to those questions.

                • Dennis Frank

                  It has. Here’s the RNZ political editor: “Mr Ross claimed he had collected a $100,00 donation and under the orders of Mr Bridges broke it into smaller amounts so the donor would not have to be declared publicly – a breach of electoral law. Mr Bridges denies all of the claims made by his former MP. In a June phone conversation released by Mr Ross yesterday the two men discussed the $100,000 donation and the fact the money had landed in the Botany electorate bank account.”

                  • Gosman

                    That is not evidence that a donation from a single source was incorrectly (and illegally) broken up in to smaller donations. We still only have Jami-Lee Ross’s allegations.

                    • Dukeofurl

                      Allegations? lets go to the tape

                      JLR: They talked to you about a hundred thousand dollar donation –
                      SB: Yep
                      JLR: That is now in.
                      SB: Fantastic

                      Bridges knew it was $100k, Ross knew it was $100k, the law requires the party to return any money that ‘in any respect’ looks like its using straw donors.

                      As if the national party gets a whole swag of $14k donations into the same account at once from people they havent heard of.

                      ‘In any respect’
                      Bridges even tells the party secretary we may have to give the money back …… which never happened ( yet)

                    • Gosman

                      Ummm… did you listen to the tape. Ross actually states there were multiple people involved in the donation not just one. In which case it isn’t illegal to split it up at all.

                    • Dukeofurl

                      people who the party hasnt heard of all donating $14k each ?

                      The money should have been returned as the law requires when there is evidence the donors are strawmen used to get below disclosure limits.

            • WILD KATIPO

              There is every basis solkta.

              And I would challenge you to prove that there isn’t.

              That sort of diversion is no longer accepted. Move along or provide the evidence, please.

              • Gosman

                What an idiot. Prove to me that you don’t work for the Chinese Communist party Wild Katipo.

              • Gosman

                If you don’t prove that you don’t work for the Chinese Communist party you should refrain from commenting on matters involving Chinese people in NZ.

                • No one said anything about Chinese people in NZ . What was mentioned was the CCP buying soft power influence in NZ, – and predominantly in the National party.

                  So the challenge still remains: Prove they are not doing that.

                  • Gosman

                    Prove that you aren’t working for the CCP. I don’t trust you won’t send back anything we type here to your handlers in Beijing.

              • solkta

                You are the one making the accusations, the onus is on you to provide some evidence. Sure there is reason to suspect, but that is a different thing from saying what this has all revealed which is simply false.

                • And your the one trying to disprove it.

                  So go ahead.

                  • Gosman

                    You need to first prove you aren’t working for the CCP. solkta may be under threat if you send information back to Beijing. You must show us that you are not a Chinese counter intelligence agent.

                    • Muttonbird

                      Hey Gosman. Isn’t it great to have the diseased and corrupt inner workings of the New Zealand National Party exposed for all to see?

                    • Gosman

                      Given I’m not a National party member or supporter this is great from my perspective.

                    • Dukeofurl

                      Not a supporter ?
                      prove it!
                      There doesnt seem to much about the party you wont defend ..ipso facto ‘a supporter’

                      These are synonyms for supporter
                      ‘ advocate, backer, adherent, promoter, champion, defender, upholder, votary, partisan, crusader, proponent, campaigner, believer, apologist ‘

                      Apologist for national means you ARE a supporter

                    • Muttonbird

                      Yeah, that is a flat out lie.

                    • Gosman

                      Prove you aren’t a plant for the Chinese intelligence agencies Duke. I can’t risk revealing my identity to someone who will pass on my information to the Chinese.

                  • solkta

                    That is not how it works and you know it. You are just being a dick.

    • ScottGN 28.2

      Strengthened where Gos? Inside the National Party? He started out this week apparently on a negative 27 favourability rating with the public at large. Nothing that’s happened since Monday is likely to have shifted that in his favour.

      • Gosman 28.2.1

        Yes inside the National Party. At this point in time that is all that ,matters. His popularity among the wider electorate will come in to it later.

        • Dennis Frank

          I agree. The political interests of the Labour & National parties are identical currently in this respect: they both see it as the optimal scenario that Bridges remains leader maintaining his illusion of unity as long as possible.

          Could change real fast soon, however. Simon G posted this to Public Address: “Unfortunately there’s a TVNZ poll out this weekend.”

        • ScottGN

          National, understandably, has circled the wagons really. But in reality trouble is brewing. The cracks are getting too wide to paper over. Their main strategy for 2020 – destroy NZFirst and go for a majority on around 46% vote share – looks to have been blown out of the water, they simply can’t afford any poll slippage at all.

          • Dennis Frank

            Yep, deep shit & denial, can’t see this combination working for them! And if there really is a Colmar Brunton poll on TVNZ this weekend, I’m predicting a Nats drop around 3-4%. Depends which days this week they did the polling. If later in the week, the drop could easily be 5-6%.

        • UncookedSelachimorpha

          Hope so – hang in there Simon! You are Awesomeness.

    • KJT 28.3

      Blatantly selling the right to select candidates, is not wrongdoing.

      Only on planet Key.

      • Gosman 28.3.1

        There is no evidence that any selling of candidates were taking place.

          • Gosman

            Prove that you aren’t a Chinese spy. I’m not putting myself at risk revealing information to Chinese intelligence operatives.

        • KJT

          Only Bridges and and Ross’s, taped conversation. What more do you need? Torturing a kitten on live TV?

          • Gosman

            That is not evidence of selling candidates. In fact Simon Bridges makes clear that it would be difficult to accommodate having more Chinese candidates at that time.

        • UncookedSelachimorpha

          With a $100k donation – influence is being sold, regardless of details. No question.

          And no, I don’t think only National is guilty of this.

          • Gosman

            Any political donation leads to greater influence. The Union movement in the Labour party have greater influence than the average Jo Blow party member.

            • Muttonbird

              The Labour Party was formed by unions. There’s nothing clandestine about it – the hint is in the name.

              • Gosman

                And National represents business interests. There is nothing clandestine about that.

                • Muttonbird

                  Yes there is. National claim to be working for New Zealanders. Patently dishonest.

                  • Gosman

                    Labour also tells people they are working for all NZers or do you not think they are helping businesses out?

                    • Muttonbird

                      They are clearly very supporting of businesses in direct balance with the needs of the working and the vulnerable.

                      National is only concerned with business.

                    • Gosman

                      In your opinion. In my opinion you are wrong. But that is why we have politics.

                • Stuart Munro

                  Yup – foreign business interests. Should be changed to Foreign National.

                  • Gosman

                    Ho ho. I see what you did there. How very droll. Congrats.

                    • Dukeofurl

                      “national represents business interests There is nothing clandestine about that.”

                      Hiding big donations is clandestine….. they seem to have it all organised to do so.

                      Which party attacks labour for its links to unions and their donations ….. as though that is illegal !

                    • Gosman

                      National attacks Labour for links to Union’s like Labour attacks National for links to business,

                    • Muttonbird

                      Labour reports union donations correctly. National does not report business donations correctly.

        • Dukeofurl

          “JLR: They talked to you about a hundred thousand dollar donation –
          SB: Yep
          JLR: That is now in.
          SB: Fantastic

          and at the earlier dinner with ‘the man who didnt give $100k’

          JLR :You may recall at the dinner they did discuss candidacy, and another Chinese candidate.
          SB: Two MPs, yeah.
          JLR: Colin Zheng, the younger one, he’s put his name in for candidates college

          So candidate counting did occur at meeting with huuuuge party donor.

          Collusion over party list spots for sale.
          ‘JLR: Two Chinese would be more valuable than two Indians, I have to say.’

          A common meaning of valuable is monetary terms

          • Gosman

            Wow! Political donor is interested in future candidates for Political party. What a shocker. Next you will tell me that they discussed policies they would like implemented as well such as lower regulation and tax cuts.

            • Dukeofurl

              You are slipping Gosman…you should be claiming its not illegal to award list spots based on the money. Which it isnt… but you know why you cant say that

              So you are reduced to making up stuff they didnt say..

              • Gosman

                There was no list spot offered up in exchange of the the donation, but then again you knew that already.

                • Dukeofurl

                  ‘No list spot offered’

                  but look what the tape says-
                  “JLR . You may recall at the dinner they did discuss candidacy, and another Chinese candidate.

                  SB: Two MPs, yeah.”

                  Another chinese candidate ?

                  Ross later says 2 chinese is worth more than 2 Indians- he talking money of course

                  • Gosman

                    Yes, they discussed candidacy. Noone is disputing that. What you are claiming is that they selling list spots. There was no indication that was discussed with the Chinese donor/s. What is clear from the tapes is that Bridges and Ross have a conversation on the merit of having more Chinese or Fillipino candidates versus Indian.

            • Gabby

              It’s all about family really isn’t it gozzer.

    • Cinny 28.4

      nat party is hurting big time. They’ve lost the female vote.

      Have been listening to talk back this week, not much love out there for simon.

      And reading kb, where the lack of love for simon is also very apparent.

      • Gosman 28.4.1

        Unlikely given the women who have come forward have not criticised National only Jami-Lee Ross. In fact one woman praised the way the National party handled her complaint.

        • Muttonbird

          Her career threatened by Paula Bennett means she is bound to say that.

          The Nats have form in this practice…

          • Gosman

            Ummm… why would she still be a member of National if she felt her career was under threat by them? Your logic is faulty.

            • Muttonbird

              Her political career with National over means she has no political career at all. She’s protecting her ambitions and her future as directed by Paula Bennett, by heaping praise on a clear flawed response to Ross’ emotional abuse.

              • Gosman

                I’m pretty sure if she is a member of National she will have options outside Politics. National is not like the Labour party.

                • Muttonbird

                  She wants a career in politics – that’s her ambition and with National it is.

                  You flippant sideswipe is evidence I have won this argument.

                • Dukeofurl

                  Options outside national ?

                  You mean like being on the board of Bunnings like English scored…. still waiting to see Joyces life outside national …
                  Borrows life outside national was a labour ‘working group’

                  Pugh was a Mayor of Westland- that makes her unemployable on 2 counts ‘outside national’

    • Dukeofurl 28.5

      No direct evidence ?

      hello. he discussed with JLR how to ‘get the right words’ to speak to the party President about the $100k donation that was ‘unusual’

      “JLR: I’m just aware there’s – the money’s fine sitting there in the Botany account. I don’t know what your arrangement is with Goodfellow or not, that’s all.
      SB: I need to talk to him. I’m actually seeing him tonight, I wonder if I should..
      JLR: I don’t think we can-
      SB: I should wait and get the right words.
      JLR: I don’t think we can raise tens of thousands and completely keep him out of the loop.
      SB: No no we can’t.
      JLR: Maybe if you’re just honest with him about it.

      Why wouldnt they be honest ?

      Whats Bridges going to say to the Police in his interview ? Oh thats right there is always the barclay defence

      • Gosman 28.5.1

        Because Bridges obviously wanted to use the funds directly not for National party admin expenses (which was the risk just handing the money over to Peter Goodfellow without discussion,

        • Dukeofurl

          For a non member – non supporter you sure are presuming lots of things on what they would do with it.

          The other explanation from the context of the $100K that seems to have been broken into smaller amounts is that they knew its was dodgy so being honest was ‘the best option’

  29. Dennis Frank 29

    The most likely target of police prosecution will be Greg Hamilton, since he’s the Nat official responsible for processing donations in accord with the law:

    “A party secretary must give back to the donor the entire amount of the donation, or its entire value, if the party secretary knows, or has reasonable grounds to believe, that the donor has failed to comply with subsection (2) in any respect.”

    “(2) If this section applies to a donation, the donor must, at the time of making the donation, disclose – (a) the fact that the donation is funded from contributions; and
    (b) the following information about any contribution that, either on its own or when aggregated with other contributions made by or on behalf of the same contributor to the donation, exceeds $1,500 in sum or value:
    (i) the name of the contributor; and
    (ii) the address of the contributor; and
    (iii) whether the contributor is an overseas person within the meaning of section 207K; and
    (iv) the amount of the contribution or, in the case of aggregated contributions, the total amount of the aggregated contributions; and
    (c) the total of all of the amounts disclosed under paragraph (b)(iv) in relation to the donation; and
    (d) the total of all of the other contributions made in relation to the donation.”

    The legalese appears to suggest that parliament agreed to legislate to identify any group donations that consisted of individual contributions, and the actual clauses specify how to do this. If the Nats failed to identify the group total (100k) in relation to the components and identity of the individual donors, the police can prosecute them on a sound basis. If the NP auditors signed their approval of the NP declaration, they can also be prosecuted likewise.

    Looks like Ross was right, and the media are using the lack of obvious proof in the evidence he provided as an excuse to avoid reading the legalese!

    • Dukeofurl 29.1

      In ‘any respect’ is the killer phrase as that means its wider than just saying heres 7 x $14k donations with names and addresses that came in all at once. Nothing to see here.

      But its clear from the tape that Bridges knew it as a $100k donation, you can bundle up smaller donations to make a big one and lodge as a single name thats revelaed but not the other way round.

      If the donors were employees of Zhang Yikun , then it should have been in his company name. if the donors were members of the Chinese Association he headed then it should have been in that groups name.

      nationals only way out is to secretly return the money and just as secretly amend the party donation return , like they did with Bridges electorate return ( where he was on the hook for using a straw name for a donation he knew who the donor was)
      By doing all this means they have the greatest chance the police will look the other way like they did with Banks.

      As an aside the Police have whole ‘textbooks’ on what the law says and the court rulings on most of the crimes they investigate. I would bet the part of the shelf that is for ‘Election crimes’ is empty

      • Chuck 29.1.1

        “if the donors were members of the Chinese Association he headed then it should have been in that groups name.”

        As I pointed out yesterday if National had recorded it as 1 donation of $100k (under the above group’s name) when in fact it was a number of smaller amounts from different people then yes National would have broken the law!

        • Dukeofurl

          ” 1 donation of $100k (under the above group’s name) when in fact it was a number of smaller amounts from different people …and national would have broken the law “??

          Bundling is not against the law when its moved up from non disclosure to disclosure.
          Its only illegal when its the other way around.

          national did bundling up smaller donations when it declared a large donation from the restauranteur Tony Astle- he held a fund raiser(s) at his restaurant with Key in attendance.

          Bundling up isnt illegal as the only offence mentioned is this one:
          207LA Offence relating to splitting party donation or contribution to party donation

      • Gosman 29.1.2

        What is clear from the tape is that Jami-Lee Ross frames it as a multi-party donations of $100 K and Simon Brisges requests him to get it to the party so he can use it. There is no indication Bridges knows it is from a single donor and that it will be split up before it is in the Party’s accounts.

        • Dukeofurl

          Bridges arranged the donation ( at a fundraiser duhhh) and asked Ross to collect it.
          Bridges knows its a $100k donation as he confirms it when Ross says its in the party account

          JLR: Hey um you know at Paul Goldsmith’s function you saw those two Chinese guys, Zhang Yikun and Colin? You had dinner at their home?
          SB: Yes.
          JLR: They talked to you about a hundred thousand dollar donation –
          SB: Yep
          JLR: That is now in.

          They talked to YOU – meaning Bridges- about the $100K

          • solkta

            Yes it seems clear to me that they are talking about one man and one donation. Bridges is so clear on the need to have dinner with the guy as a way of thanks and that Ross should attend. If it were from a group of people wouldn’t Bridges want to invite the others as well?

          • Gosman

            “Ross: Maybe if you’re just honest with him about it.

            Bridges: I think that’s right. I’ll raise it with him but we should probably just think it through. I mean, it can be in the Party but I do just want to make sure we’ve got that money to do those things. Don’t you think?

            Ross: Donations can only be raised two ways: Party donation or candidate donation.

            Party donation has a different disclosure which is fine, and the way they’ve done it meets the disclosure requirements… it meets the requirements where it’s under the particular disclosure level because they’re a big association and there’s multiple people and multiple people make donations, so that’s all fine. But if it was a candidate donation that’d be different. So making them party donations is the way to do it. Legally though if they’re party donations they’re kind of under Greg’s name as the party secretary.”

            Note the following “…it meets the requirements where it’s under the particular disclosure level because they’re a big association and there’s multiple people and multiple people make donations, so that’s all fine. ”

            What does that tell you?

            • Dennis Frank

              It tells me they were trying to conform to the legal requirements. Doesn’t tell me they succeeded. And you didn’t acknowledge the key point made by the Duke:

              JLR: They talked to you about a hundred thousand dollar donation. SB: Yep

              So Bridges is on record as having been offered a single donation of 100K by Zhang. That establishes some complicity by Bridges. Ross explains to him that the donation will arrive in the Botany account subdivided to fit below the 15K threshold, so he’s in the loop on that. So if a police prosecution proceeds on the basis of a National Party breach of electoral law, he’ll be called to testify on the extent of his involvement, due to that established complicity already made public.

              • Gosman

                Answer my question below. If duke is correct then the tape WAS a smoking gun. Yet even the title of this thread acknowledges it was not that. Why is that do you think?

            • Dukeofurl

              ” meets the requirements where it’s under the particular disclosure level because they’re a big association and there’s multiple people and multiple people make donations, so that’s all fine. ”

              No its not. It was arranged as $100k donation- the fundraiser remember. As the texts later showed the names attached to each of the 6 x$14k didnt make any sense.
              the Election Act specifically makes this illegal to get under the $15k disclosure level.
              207LA Offence relating to splitting party donation or contribution to party donation
              ‘A person is guilty of a corrupt practice who directs or procures, or is actively involved in directing or procuring, 2 or more bodies corporate to split between the bodies corporate a party donation in order to conceal the total amount of the donation and avoid the donation’s inclusion by the party secretary in the return of party donations under section 210(1)(a).’

              They are a big association and the straw donors were all arranged by the principals to split up a $100k donation as offered to to Bridges at Goldsmiths fundraiser ( does he get a finders fee?)

              Even in the party GM texts he talks to JLR about
              ‘Was there a particular individual who arranged it “[the donations]

              The party has to return the money if there is any’ suspicions in any respect’ of the way the donation and names arent being used to get around the law.

              Bridges is also in the gun about the Cathderal Club donation, which again was a false name to cover Bhanagars donation. Thats illegal too.

              Bridges says it was a mistake and should be a party donation. If the police look at the Tauranga bank account, it could very well show the money spent by Bridges in Tauranga for his re election and not passed onto the party at all. So he could be caught by a second sham electoral return to cover up the first.

              Bridges was of course a lawyer , but mostly as a prosecutor. he wouldnt have the fanatical attention to detail a private practice lawyer would have you have experience of getting things right. Prosecution has different skill sets and more about presentation and getting the right info out of witnesses

              • Gosman

                How come noone is stating this was a smoking gun then? If you are correct then it is a smoking gun and the title of this thread is incorrect. If even authors at the Standard aren’t seeing the way you see it then perhaps you might be wrong. Think about it.

                • Dennis Frank

                  It’s the old kiwi she’ll be right syndrome. A culturally-induced miasma that clouds the mind. Those slow on the uptake will get there eventually.

              • Dennis Frank

                That’s an interesting new dimension. Bodies corporate is a legal term, and the law often defies common sense so any assumption that individuals are excluded could easily be false. A quick reality checks shows that indeed, they are included in the definition: “A legal entity (such as an association, company, person, government, government agency, or institution) identified by a particular name.

                Looks like the section you quote there not only implicates the Zhang organisation and the National Party as two obvious bodies corporate involved, but Bridges, Ross and Hamilton as well. Cool! If the police prosecutor fails to act on this basis, citizens could take a class action against him on the basis of collusion in corruption, to defend democracy. Just watch the cops try to wriggle out of this net!!

            • Dukeofurl

              Why is Bridges going to arrange a dinner to thank the people – who from what we are told werent named as part of the $100k.

              And the party GM says there are problems with the actual names that were use …duhh.. the law says return the money if there are ‘reasonable suspicions’

              They didnt want to do that …. now they are stuck. Im pretty sure returning the money now is their first option to get out of this mess.

              Police of course can track back on the bank accounts used by the donors to ‘follow the money’

              • Gosman

                Explain the the title of this thread (“No smoking gun but plenty of sunlight from Bridges tape”) then. If you are correct then the tape WAS as moking gun. Only a few people like you seem to be arguing it was though.

                • Dennis Frank

                  Yeah, but think why. Few people read acts of parliament. Those who check out the legalese struggle with it. I do, and I’ve been adept at discerning significant nuances in text for quite a while. There’s an art to that stuff, and it’s contestable. As you have been demonstrating. Only via that contest can we establish a common ground of comprehension.

                  • Gosman

                    LOL! Yes you seem to have managed to identify this as a smoking gun when the best legal minds in NZ have yet to do so. Congrats on that.

                    • Dennis Frank

                      Thanks. I’ve commented on Pundit to see if law prof Andrew Geddis will adjust his view. Edgeler also sees no smoking gun. Understandable, given all the distracting kerfuffle going on. I trust both will eventually suss the reality of the situation. Nor am I assuming I’m right – even lawyers themselves contest the meanings of legislation and argue in court on that basis. Truth is slippery.

    • Muttonbird 29.2

      They will definitely throw someone under the bus.

  30. Dukeofurl 30

    Just to make it clear of when the donations were split – Farrar especially has been bullshitting on this

    “Ross’ story changed at his press conference after visiting the police. This money had not actually been divided up by him personally (because, I should note, if Ross had done so then he would have been guilty of those potentially serious criminal charges). Rather, the donation had appeared in his electorate bank account already split into these smaller, non-disclosable amounts.”

    Ross of course met with the head honcho of the Chinese group on this to provide the bank account details. His testimony to police on what happened there should be interesting

    • Dennis Frank 30.1

      Yes we do await further clarification. We have no record of who instructed the donor how to split the donation and transfer it to the NP with individual names attached. Hamilton complains to Ross on the text that they don’t match the electoral roll so there must have been subsequent finagling to produce the final result.

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