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Ross leaks again

Written By: - Date published: 9:33 am, August 27th, 2019 - 46 comments
Categories: China, election 2017, election funding, national, same old national, uncategorized - Tags:

The Herald this morning contains details of further information provided by Jami-Lee Ross to the Herald indicating that there is a rather large hole in our electoral laws which needs fixing.

Matt Nippert has the details:

Former National Party MP Jami-Lee Ross has dropped a fresh donation bombshell, revealing then-trade minister Todd McClay helped facilitate a $150,000 donation to his party in 2016 from a company owned by a Chinese racing industry billionaire known as “Mr Wolf”.

McClay first met horse-racing mogul Lang Lin in July 2016 while the then cabinet member was in Beijing for a meeting of G20 trade ministers. The pair met again in April 2017 in Rotorua, McClay’s electorate. A month later National declared a six-figure donation paid by Lang’s company, Inner Mongolia Rider Horse Industry NZ (IMRHINZ).

The donation was largely organised by a phone call made from Ross’ parliamentary office to Lang’s representatives on the evening of April 4, 2017. Ross claims he was asked to make the call by McClay, who was in the office listening to the call on speaker, and the minister was kept informed of developments.

The revelations a minister was involved in facilitating National’s largest donation of the most recent electoral cycle – with the cash coming from a China-owned business – comes as Parliament mulls how to counter foreign interference in New Zealand’s political system.

The basic problem is that while donations from overseas individuals over $1,500 are not permitted donations from New Zealand companies are, even if as in this case the director and shareholder of the New Zealand company is an overseas national.

The donation was declared to the Electoral Commission.  I remember reading it at the time and wondering if Inner Mongolia Rider Horse Industry (NZ) Ltd was some sort of joke by Matthew Hooton using his Mongolian links.

But this shows how easily avoided the ban of overseas donations is.  Just find a New Zealand company willing to funnel the cash.

Of course the solution is state funding of political parties.  Then concerns of too much influence by overseas interests and corporates would disappear.

While I am on this subject can I urge the Electoral Commission to put the individual MPs’ returns back on the website.  Effective democracy requires this information being readily available.

46 comments on “Ross leaks again ”

  1. JohnP 1

    National will likely claim that this, once again, is all of Ross' doing and that he's the bad apple in the barrel. Which rather ignores the fact that the barrel itself is absolutely rotten.

  2. Sacha 2

    Not so much a leak as a deliberate dribble. Expect more to come.

  3. Sanctuary 3

    I doubt the public needs much more evidence that the National patsy is now a wholly owned subsidary of the Communist Party of China, huh? This sort of legal corruption goes a long way to explaining (to mention the most egregrious example) National's utter denial of a housing problem in NZ and opposition to any policy that smacked of implicit or explicit criticism of China – where they adopted the Blairite approach of smearing anyone who even dared raise the over-heating of the local housing market by Chinese investment in NZ as a racist.

    The wider interesting meta is how this plugs into Simon Bridge's general hysterical terror of allowing greater oversight of political parties by neutral state institutions. If when in power you indulged in the routine abuse of state power and got (in my opinion) corrupt donations from foreign powers and your party benefited politically from that is a way the skewed the democratic playing field sharply in your direction then like all entitled frat boys everywhere Simon Bridges will interpret leveling the playing field as discrimination and whine and bitch and engage in tantrums.

    • Anne 3.1

      … when in power you indulged in the routine abuse of state power and got (in my opinion) corrupt donations from foreign powers – while at the same time you arranged for the main opposition party to be accused of obtaining corrupt donations from foreign sources – and your party benefited politically from both…

      FIFY.

      I refer to the Donghua Liu $100,000 donation to the Labour Party in 2014 which proved never to have existed.

      Remember the screams and hollers of outrage by the MSM?

  4. michelle 4

    cash for favours all part of the brighter future that had hairs on it

  5. Robert Guyton 5

    "Ross claims he was asked to make the call by McClay, who was in the office listening to the call on speaker."

    Listening-in to the chat with “Mr Wolf” ?

    Did McClay lack the courage to speak to him directly?

    • Dukeofurl 5.1

      That way he can deny any conflict of interest when special favours are made for the Wolf.

      I can imagine a NZ taxpayer funded sheep horse breeding farm in Inner Mongolia on the horizon

    • Sacha 5.2

      Not as if they really trusted JLR on the phone with anyone alone, even then. 🙂

    • mac1 6.1

      I had a look at this article and other articles by journalist Tom Rabe. In the article linked by indiana the Labor leader referred to was described at 'former Labor boss." In another article, the Labor general secretary was described as "labor boss."

      On the other hand Liberal and National politicians were referred to as 'leaders" or as "president" as they should have been.

      In my lexicon, the word 'boss' is a perjorative one when applied to left wing leaders and union presidents. It is associated with Tammany Hall type politics and behaviour.

      Tom Rabe is described as a journalist, a profession which is supposed to be fair in its language. Is he consciously or unconsciously biased in his journalistic reporting?

    • Dukeofurl 6.2

      From your story

      " fundraising dinner attracted concern from the Electoral Commission after several restaurant workers and family members of Jonathan Yee, owner of Emperor's Garden Restaurant in Chinatown, claimed to have donated $100,000 in cash, which was supposedly raised on the night.

      "The associations, along with the implausibility that restaurant workers would have the financial capacity to make lump sum donations of $5000 or $10,000,.."

      Like the National donation of $100k from a restaurant owner arranged by Bridges which, when paid , was split into smaller amounts to get below the full disclosure limit.

      I wonder if those 'straw' donors had the capacity to donate such large amounts to a NZ political party they werent members of or have no real connection to?

  6. mickysavage 7

    Thinking about this issue through my law practice I am up to my ears in anti money laundering requirements and have to put everyone and all sources of funds through pretty heavy vetting.

    Political parties should have the same requirement.

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2009/0035/latest/whole.html#DLM2140855

    • tc 7.1

      here here mickey !

    • Visubversa 7.2

      Yes, I know the stuff I have to do a a JP to enable people to establish their "true identity" under the Money Laundering Act. I tend to think that most pale, balding, middle aged chaps look very much alike – so it is a bit of a challenge sometimes. Espeically with Drivers Licenses!

  7. Incognito 8

    In other words, ‘pretty legal’?

  8. Cinny 9

    Cheers for posting all the info Micky, very much appreciated.

    Wondering if McClay planned his retirement before or after JLR went solo.

    Will have to google that later

  9. AB 10

    Gee – it looks like 1 Chinese might be worth even more Indians than Simon suggested to Jami on the phone a while back?

    • Dukeofurl 10.1

      Under the Previous PM was it known as "key money" to get a captains pick high on the List…hahaha

    • greywarshark 11.1

      Chinese, I understand, call a little succulent a 'jade money tree' and they also have 'lucky bamboo'. Perhaps the money grows on trees like the cliche says. It goes against nature to pay your restaurant workers that well.

  10. tc 12

    Bet he's wondering what he has to do to become 'prominent'.

    This could be strategic from the trougher seeking one last pay off.

  11. tsmithfield 13

    Hardly a splash on the news front. I suspect MSM is starting to tire of all this, as are the public. Again, a release with absolutely no impact. Nothing illegal.

    Probably just confirming what most suspect. That politicians try and game the rules as much as they can. And I suspect that National isn't the only party that does this.

    • woodart 13.1

      trying to bury this are you smithfeild? foriegners buying our political system is NOT tiresome. it is something that msm and everybody else should be very aware of. needs to be at front of any msm political coverage to remind us.

      • Anne 13.1.1

        If there is one positive thing Trump has done thus far in his term, it is to highlight the extent of foreign political interference in the affairs of western democracies.

        Unintentional though it surely was, we might have to give thanks to him one day. 🙂

      • tsmithfield 13.1.2

        Notice that even Labour are treading very carefully around this.

        The reason being that they have no way of knowing whether or not they have benefited from some foreign entity through exactly the same mechanism.

        • Roflcopter 13.1.2.1

          Rebecca Kitteridge @ GCSB said it happens right across the political spectrum, at central and local government levels.

        • Dukeofurl 13.1.2.2

          "they have no way of knowing" ????

          Nobody gives large donations out of the blue like you think , unless its a deceased person who leaves money in their will and they dont chop up into smaller amounts.

          National party these days, means those MPs who are big fund raisers from donors get power within the party . Thats been the case since " No Brash No cash" days.

          Thats the point of giving a large donation, you get influence or you get a family member on the party list

          • tsmithfield 13.1.2.2.1

            Maybe Labour's careful stance on all this might be something to do with this:

            https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12058818

            • Dukeofurl 13.1.2.2.1.1

              No its not. It was a private individual who made the claims to the US enquiry. Wasnt official .

              Plus the NZ labour connection was for raising money from NZ residents. It also mentions a national Mp who has strong connections to the China PLA military intelligence who seemed to appear at certain national government high level meetings in China that a lowly back bencher would never be seen at. Thats not including that lavish dinner ' on the way to the airport' in China that was connected to an Mps husbands business in China not to be confused with the other former National MP whos husbands China business interests caused her resignation – which bought in JLR to parliament.!

  12. NZJester 14

    We need a non-partisan group like the Wolf-Pac in the US here in New Zealand trying to get money out of politics to stop the legal bribing of our politicians for favors by those giving large donations.

  13. Stuart Munro. 15

    So I'm guessing donation rules are scheduled for the Gnat bonfire? Funny that.

  14. todd mcclay his father was a crook and it looks like the seed does not fall far from the tree

  15. marty mars 17

    I wish this guy would stop doing this. I remain unconvinced by any apparent sincerity this guy shows.

    • Dukeofurl 17.1

      Why do you think he has to be "sincere" LOL . hes after revenge , its surprisingly common in politics.

  16. sumsuch 18

    Ross's revelations have permanently illuminated the boofish realpoliteking of the National leadership. Can't not see Bridges in that adolescent cocky first 15 light. They can wear ties all they like but they're just far too obvious diversions from their thugee ways.

    They really do need to put in someone who the majority of us don't feel we're looking over the shoulder of, but I fear Simon has smeared his entire generation of National 'elders' with shallow venality.

  17. sumsuch 19

    Authentic — both Trump and Sanders, in their 180 degree different ways. What the people want in their leaders now according to Bill Maher.

    No one could accuse Bridges of that. Whatever he says might as well be whistling out of another region of his body for media followers.

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