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The best they’ve got?

Written By: - Date published: 10:35 am, October 19th, 2008 - 62 comments
Categories: Media - Tags:

When I heard a Chinese national had been approved for citizenship by a minister against the advice of officials and with a letter of recommendation from a Labour MP, after he had apparently donated to the Labour Party, I thought ‘seeing as this is coming from Ian Wishart, it’s probably nothing but the jokers better not have got themselves into anything dodgy’. So, it’s nice to see Wishart has made a fool of himself again, and accidentally turned what was meant to be this great scandal on Labour into an embarrassment for Key. 

Yang Liu appears to be a slightly dodgy businessman who has got to know politicians across the political spectrum. Indeed, John Key remembers meeting him three times (funny how his memory is so clear on this, when claims he struggles to remember so much else). He gave both Labour and National $5000 in 2005. He is also apparently strongly pro-democracy and a supporter of Falun Gong, which got him off-side with the Chinese authorities.It seems he has used multiple Chinese passports in the past, which isn’t unusual among dissidents. 

Dover Samuals and Pansy Wong gave him letters of recommendation for his citizenship application, a common practice for MPs. Immigration Minister Rick Barker also knows Liu. When Liu’s application came before him, he did the proper thing when there is an actual or possible conflict of interest, he passed the decision to the Assistant Minister Shane Jones, who approved it. That decision is now being reviewed.

The allegation of corruption is simply dumb. Liu gave a small amount of money to both major parties, the Minister correctly stood aside from the decision given his personal acquaintance with Liu. The idea that Labour is giving citizenship to people who give them $5000 donations is laughable, the guy isn’t even a Labour man he has just been getting to know politicians, regardless of party. Indeed, he seems to have known National better.

Frankly, we get emailed things like this all the time. Pointing to a few pieces of data and alleging that it there must be some huge story underneath it all. In my experience, these things usually rest on all kinds of assumptions for which there are simply no evidence. It’s the kind of thing that Ian Wishart has built his reputation on.

62 comments on “The best they’ve got?”

  1. T-rex 1

    “It’s the kind of thing that Ian Wishart has built his reputation on.”

    Nicely put 🙂

  2. Lew 2

    While I’m normally a defender of the NZ media’s relative lack of bias, the HoS is pretty partisan on this one:

    Millionaire gives $5000 to Labour
    4:00AM Sunday Oct 19, 2008
    By Jared Savage

    A millionare businessman wanted by authorities in China – and who has been granted New Zealand citizenship – donated money to a Labour Party campaign fund.

    The Herald on Sunday understands Yang Liu donated $5000 to Cabinet minister Chris Carter’s Te Atatu electorate committee before the last election. Wagering a bob each way, he also met National’s John Key and donated another $5000 to that party.

    (from
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz-election-2008/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501799&objectid=10538260 – my italics)

    I understand that only the government has the power to override the DIA’s decision not to grant leadership – but why is only Labour mentioned in the headline and lead paragraph? The information about National isn’t exactly buried, but it’s certainly downplayed so as to imply that Liu is a Labour partisan, when on the information given he’s an advocate for more Asians in NZ politicis whatever their political persuasions.

    But yeah – more wishful thinking on behalf of the brigade who think even the smallest bit of soot is a smoking gun.

    L

  3. milo 3

    Hey Steve, who’s this “they”? Does it include me?

  4. Lew 4

    Incidentally, while I’m happy to defer to people with more specific knowledge on this matter, I’m not at all shocked that there’s some confusion over dates of birth and names. Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese (at least) traditionally count their ages differently than Westerners do – the primary difference is that on the date of your birth, you’re considered to be a year old – the time in the womb is counted as a year on your age. In addition (in Korea at least), everyone gains a year on New Year’s Day (so in principle you can be counted as 2 years old when by our reckoning you’re only a couple of days old). This means that when an actual birth date is uncertain, counting backward may not produce reliable results. This was the source of much confusion and merriment when I lived there. Wikipedia has a primer here.

    Also – the past century (and especially the bit between 70 and 40 years ago, when I presume Liu Yang was born) was a pretty complicated time in China, one where many families were broken up and killed, many records were destroyed and lost, and the generally Confucian weight given to such information was somewhat lessened. It’s not at all uncommon for people of a certain age to have more than one name – since the Japanese enforced the adoption of Japanese names in many of their colonies and concessions, and since the ructions of the occupation, the Korean War, the Civil War and the Cultural Revolution necessitated widespread fostering and adoption.

    Now, I don’t know if any of this applies in Liu Yang’s case – and I’ll not speculate. But the `different name + different date of birth = false identity’ calculation isn’t as simple as it appears.

    L

  5. Lew 5

    Err, I understand that only the government has the power to override the DIA’s decision not to grant leadership should read citizenship.

    L

  6. Pat 6

    Frogblog is making some pointed observations:

    “Labour hasn’t declared a single received donation over $20,000 this year to help fund its estimated $2.4 million dollar campaign”

    IrishBill: That’s because Labour are not going to get anywhere near their $2.4m limit. Because they don’t have the money to do so. It’s also because they’ve focused on the Obama model of many small donations from a broad constituency and so won’t have had to declare them. Another reason to drop the declarable donation limit.

  7. Spider_Pig 7

    Well it’s clear that the bureaucrats involved in approving citizenship applications at the Department of Internal Affairs can be sacked (or removed via natural attrition). They clearly can not be trusted to make decisions on our behalf; that honour can now fall to the Labour Party.

    National certainly would not have had the same level of information about this gentleman’s background as Labour had, and therefore Labour have a lot more to answer. And Labour’s statement that he donated $5000 cannot be backed up by evidence because of the manner that Labour have used to fundraise.

  8. randal 8

    more tripe from the swingeing right. get on with it. I want to hear what the nats policy is on selling kiwibank and privatising ACC.

  9. higherstandard 9

    No corruption – just appears to be an immigrant who has plalyed a few people for chumps and a Minster making a decision which perhaps should have relied more on the civil servants dispassionate advice than those of the immigrants QC and supportive letters from MPs.

  10. randal 10

    okay…so what is the nats policy on selling kiwibank and privatising ACC?

  11. gobsmacked 11

    It’s very simple.

    This corrupt foreigner cynically donated money to Labour, to try and buy favours.

    He then stepped inside a phone booth, rearranged his underpants, and emerged as a Kiwi philanthropist, who generously donated money to National, and courted John Key. In an entirely unrelated development, he then received help from a National MP.

    That’s all.

  12. Bill 12

    TV 1 reported that Patsy Wong wrote a supporting letter too. Anyway. The deal is that all other things being equal, if you have a million to invest you are in.

    Bribery? Nope. Immigration policy.

    Anybody remember ‘internationalism’ and the arguments for the right to freedom of movement for all people regardless of their wealth?

  13. Lew 13

    Spider Pig: National certainly would not have had the same level of information about this gentleman’s background as Labour had, and therefore Labour have a lot more to answer.

    You’re half-right on this one. Nobody is saying it’s wrong to accept donations from dodgy folks; only that it’s wrong for them to gain from their donations. Since National have no power to grant anything (being as they are in Opposition) there’s no question they did. That is the reason Labour has more to answer than National in this case.

    However, when reporting the facts of the case, saying Liu Yang donated to Labour (and conveniently omitting from the headline that he donated equally to National) implies something which isn’t borne out by the facts: that Liu is a Labour man. That’s my problem with the HoS coverage.

    L

  14. Rodel 14

    On the Waiheke Island Ferry recently (Sunday 5th October,12 o’clock Ferry) sitting just across From Nick Smith and the Nat candidate for Auckland Central. I think her name is Nikki Kaye.
    I overheard them talking about the free travel for senior Supergold card holders which had just been instituted, and on which my wife and I were travelling.
    Petulant comment by one of them was,
    “As a taxpayer I have to say…..Of course you know where this money’s coming from…. From family incomes.”

    But the best was the derisive comment,
    ” what’ll happen now is they’ll regulate that bus stops have to be outside old people’s homes.”

    Nearly leapt up and said.. “what a bloody good idea.”
    I found these comments interesting but exhibiting a somewhat callous and small minded attitude. Oldies are now up and about all over NZ. A new lease of life for many.

  15. Rodel 15

    I don’t vote for Winston but I watched with amusement (on Willie Jackson’s eye to eye programme) the attacks by Matthew Hooten on Winston Peters.
    Intellectually it’s like a gnat attacking a giant.I nearly laughed as much as Winston did.

    Hooten’s accusations and his ability to debate intelligently are nearly as funny as Ian Wishart’s attempts at a rebuttal of Richard Dawkins.

    The other amusement is Hooten’s silly spinny attempt to describe himself as ‘Centre right.’ (Should be ‘centre’.yeah right!

    Does he really think that New Zealander’s are as dimwitted as he is?

  16. appleboy 16

    where is dad4justice? the silence is deafening…choking on yer dead rats? the smell of dead rats on the breath will keep the girls away you know.

  17. lprent 17

    This is pretty much what I expect from the fevered paranoia of Ian Wishart. Very few facts, deliberately mis-interpreted, and a paranoid fantasy thrown in on top.

    Then get a pile of credulous dullards with limited brain capacity to push it around the net and see if it can be bloated into a story. In the meantime use all of this to push that horrible little rag of his – ie deliberate spamming of the blogs for advertising purposes.

    Most electorate offices spend inordinate amounts of time on immigration matters. It is common for MP’s from all parties to write letters of commendation to immigration department and minister.

    It is also common for the relevant ministers to override the bureaucracy. In this case apparently because the immigrant in question had lousy documentation, but had already setup here as a resident, had family and business. They were using the discretion given to them by the act – which is why it was written in there in the first place. The bureaucracy has to follow the exact rules, the ministers have to follow the intent of the act. Now it has been raised, the decision will be examined – and I expect nothing much to come from it.

    That really leaves this clown Wishart and the behavior of his campaign to promote his rag and books on this site. It has happened several times and I’m getting pissed off with it. Moveover it wastes my time because we usually have days of crap before the release of any actual information. It is just another form of spamming.

    I’m seriously thinking of adding anything to do with Wishart to the lists of things you can be banned for here. It adds nothing to discussion, we just get trolling from it. It always turns out to be a crock of shit.

    In the meantime I’ve added the clown and his rag to moderation. If I detect another campaign of this type I will throw the relevant people into moderation if they cannot point to a link with some facts in it.

  18. appleboy 18

    lprent – well said. Many of us rely on you to sift through the spin and mediamania to provide us with good information. Let’s put a stop to a bunch of right whingnuts in la la land speading Ian Wishart bile and hijacking this forum.

  19. Ianmac 19

    The trouble is that to the general public, the bits that they remember from the HOS headline is something like :” Those Labour people cheat/deceive/ are corrupt. Not interested in the details.” Its a constant smear, a bit like the constant barrage against, Peters or Veitch. (What do you remember about Veitch? Oh he’s the one who bashed his girlfriend and put her in a wheelchair.) Labour? They get money for letting criminals into the country. They won’t let you have a proper shower. They think 2X2 is a good idea. They think that the Govt has put us in huge debt. It adds to the smear. And the “light-hearted” intro to TV1 Friday night news which re-ran Helen’s comment repeatedly to ridicule, adds to the smear.

  20. burt 20

    If on my way walking to the beehive to bribe a politician I threw a $2 coin at blanket-man would you say he was involved in the bribery as well ?

  21. burt 21

    Ianmac

    Did you read Wisharts piece? In the same edition there were stats on the debate. Helen barked over Key more than Key barked over Helen and as I thought when watching the debate – the “don’t shout me down” nonsense from Helen was actually Helen stomping over a point John Key was making.

    She lost the debate – get over it.

  22. Ianmac 22

    Yes. That should have been my $2. I would be the old chap standing with an empty bucket!

  23. Now then where was I ? Oh that’s right the standard blog, now this Chinaman thing has serious consequences regarding lapses in National Security, or is it a mandate from Labour to let unscrupulous businessmen into the country through shady political circumstances? That will do for a start.

    Edit – Hi Helen

  24. Akldnut 24

    Ianmac – You’re right on the mark. As usual they are working from the old adage “If you throw enough shit – some of it will stick” be it true or not.”

  25. milo 25

    Well, for the record, here’s what I said at Kiwiblog ot 7pm on Friday, before much info came out.

    “This just reads like the system working properly. He was rejected for something suspicious, appealed on the grounds that it only looked suspicious, and actually wasn’t a problem at all. And the Minister upheld the appeal. On the evidence provided above, I don’t see anything wrong whatsoever.”

    Got 18 negative karma for that! Always nice to be an early mover.

    And I agree the Herald headline is disgraceful.

  26. Lew 26

    milo: Heh, if you’re pissing people off both here and there I suppose you must be onto something.

    L

    Captcha: `Rough discussing’.

  27. “Wherever you see a man who gives someone else’s corruption, someone else’s prejudice as a reason for not taking action himself, you see a cog in The Machine that governs us.”
    – John Jay Chapman, Practical Agitation (1898)

  28. JoshRV 28

    That’s the only intelligent thing I’ve ever seen you post, d4j – and those words aren’t even your own.

  29. lprent 29

    milo: My sympathies. That is also why I don’t think that the karma thing works and why I haven’t implemented it here.

    What infuriates me is the way that Wishart promotes his ‘stories’. He gets the mindless to spam the blogs for long periods of time. I think that is exactly how I’ll start treating it from now on. It distracts from debate, and it isn’t like he ever has anything particularly interesting.

    burt: As far as I can tell the clown has counted Helen talking with Key interjecting and Helen talking over his interjection as Helen interjecting. Is that what you define as an ‘barking over’? If so why is that? Explain your logic.

    Consider the source of these ‘stats’. Face it the guy is a total dickhead with a slim grasp of reality.

  30. Jesse 30

    [lprent: warning comment by a previously banned wishart spammer]

    The issue is not that the man gave the donation to Labour or National. The issue is that Shayne Jones and Rick Barker cocked up knowing the facts and gave him Citizenship. That does smell fishy whatever spin you try and put on it, Pansy Wong and National didn’t have the facts in front of them like these two Cabinet Ministers. I would think that Helen Clark is seething mad over this incompetence shown yet again by a couple of her ministers. Shayne Jones ego gets in the way of everything he tries to do he just about needs a semi trailer to pull his ego along behind him. Whatever you say Wishart has done it again and no one is disputing the facts.

    [lprent: You’re talking total crap. That is what their job is. To make judgment calls on appeals about immigration decisions. They are specifically told to make those judgments on appeals by the immigration act. No-one is disputing the facts. What is in dispute is the interpretation the clown puts on it. That appears to be the result of a fevered imagination and no judgment or understanding of the immigration ministers roles.

    Now on to other matters. I just did a interesting scan of the comments using your identifying info.

    You are now permanently banned (again) for spamming under all of your various aliases – you have been warned on it previously several times. I’ve also tagged your previous comments so people reading them know exactly who you are]

  31. Bye bye Jesse. Another good chap banned. I’d better watch my right step in a red minefield.

    [lprent: Seems to have copied most of his lines. I get annoyed by shills that can’t express their own opinion. Spammers don’t deserve any sympathy from anyone]

  32. appleboy 32

    dad4justice – still no comment from you on john key meeting this man 3 times, the national party accepting a $5000 donation too, and Pansy Wong (she’s a National MP) writing to immigration in his support?

  33. appleboy 33

    dad4justice – i note you tried running this stupid story again under the 12 Key Flops discussion too – how does it feel to be humiliated in public? You predicted Labour would slide to 25% after this story broke! Are you bonkers? Come we’d like to see your comment on Mr Key’s meeting and accepting a $5000 donation and Pansy Wong’s leter of support for this guy..your silence will be deafening..or will you just hang yourself…

  34. radar 34

    “Indeed, he seems to have known National better.”

    Apart from absolutely nothing, what do you base that statement on?

  35. Bill has it about right. If you have piles of money, you can buy your way into NZ….and it would be a debate worth having to work out whether National or Labour would be any more careful than the other about letting such people in.

    Being wanted by the police in China isn’t necessarily a black mark. It might just mean some party boss wants to put a competitor out of business…..or take over that business.

    As for this case, there have been numerous like it in the US in recent years: dodgy Chinese businessman with “links to the Communist Party” (as though that can be avoided in China) donated big cash to everyone in sight……seeking favour.

    Just like back home.

    I’d like to know under what circumstances Shane Jones overrode the original decision. There must have been an appeal or he wouldn’t have heard about it.

  36. applebox – was it John Key who granted this man favouritism citizenship?
    Oh for a few too many yen…………………….

  37. Lew 37

    Dunno how many yen a Chinaman would have, D4J. Care for a guess?

    Steve Withers: Yeah, this is what makes China (and Asia more generally, to an extent) so interesting – it’s as nepotistic as all hell. I’m unusual in not necessarily thinking that’s a bad thing 🙂

    L

  38. Silly me Lew,always catch one everytime, because the unit of Chinese currency is Yuan, divided into ten Yiao, which are again divided into ten Fen. 1 Yuan = 10 Yiao = 100 Fen, however the point I was trying to smack home was the fact the man brought himself residency under a Helen Clark lead government ( no doubt $US dollars).This is both a slap in the face for the kiwi born and bred struggling family and common respect and decency. The Labour government are one scandal after another. This man must be deported tomorrow.Keep it kiwi said Helen but she sold our soul to Chinaman.

  39. deemac 39

    pathetic how people whose only info is Wishart (well known spinner) are willing to denounce someone they actually know nothing about as “corrupt” a “liar” and demand he be deported. The same people who denounce the Chinese govt as tyrants (often true) now treat their allegations as valid!
    Quite apart from the fact that this guy was granted residency ages ago, on humanitarian grounds alone anyone with a wife and babies who are all NZ citizens and who has been here for 7 years without committing any offence must be odds on to stay (short of an application by the ICJ in the Hague!)

  40. Ok deemac, if your happy with the situation it must alright to buy a kiwi passport? What a sad indictment.

  41. Hi Dad, care to answer the question I asked you last night?

  42. Don’t talk to jerks. Time for a Tiger Tea bag.

  43. Lew 43

    D4J: Hey, you can has wikipedia!

    L

  44. D4J I ask once again, what do you think of National’s welfare policy? I’m curious.

  45. randal 45

    was that ten fen yuan yiao by any chance. very sorry but none of this even got mentioned on the deputies debate tonight. good name for a punk pand. deeforjay and the morons.

  46. What drugs are you on randal? Imported from China ?

  47. randal 47

    naturalhigh dude. this is as good as it gets. New Zealand the beautiful is reason enough to express optimism in the future of our great little nation. dig?

  48. appleboy 48

    dadfor justice – no answer then – you just visit us to tallk crap..nice one you are now clear for all to see…

  49. Go away and see the big bad witch for your nightly poison apple you egg head!!

  50. Can you get a New Zealand passport on Trade Me or do you have to see Mr Jones?

  51. burt 51

    Steve P.

    Have you actually read the article by Wishart?

    [lprent: I did. There was literally nothing in it apart from a few facts and the clown doing a lot of twisting to try and make those facts fit his theory. Face it Wishart is a person that simply likes blowing crap. To date in the past 9 years the only thing he has ever ‘proved’ is that Tamihere should not trust a ‘journo’ of the clown’s low stature.
    So did you read it? Did you read it with a skeptical eye? Or are you as credulous as ‘Jesse’]

  52. burt 52

    lprent

    Of course I read it with an impartial eye. I also imagined how I’d fell about this if it were my team that were pulling the strings. You know what, I don’t give a piss which party people are in when it comes to things like this. If people with that much ‘dirt’ on file with immigration officials can get a fasttrack citisenship approval with their mate the minister (Dirty o’l Dover) personally doing the deed then one needs to wonder about what is going on.

    How would you react about this if it were a National party minister and one of his big business mates buying favours rather than a Labour party person with his big business mates buying favours ?

    Of the ‘noting in it’ that you talk about, do you dispute any of the details from DIA? Do you think Wishart has made them up?

    I wonder how many people receive fasttrack citisenship approvals with so much trouble on their international criminal record ? Or is there noting to see here and we should move on.

    Question: If he is found to have committed fraud in his application will he forfeit his assets in NZ like he did in Aussie before he was granted citisenship here. (as DIA knew and had advised the minister.)

  53. burt 53

    Steve P.

    I’d still like to know if you have read Wishart’s article?

    PS: Is ‘Wishart’ a word that invoked moderation?

    [lprent: Yep. I thought I’d made that clear earlier. I think that the clown wastes my time so it is moderation permanently. Seems the simpliest way for me to identify people like Jesse who I suspect was the plagarist Rob]

  54. Your comment is awaiting moderation? What did I say that was offensive. I think burt is right as the W word upsets the apple cart?

  55. Felix 55

    Hardly surprising that the W word would be moderated.

    It’s a word which quite simply doesn’t come up in serious rational discussions among non-retarded adults. As evidenced by this very thread.

  56. burt 56

    Felix

    This very thread being the original post or this very thread being the people that have commented on it?

  57. appleboy 57

    re dad4justice – can we get of this right whinger troll – he has come on here post after post going on about this silly wankhart story that we have now 100% discredited – go and play in the sand pit with the other trolls – we don’t need crap from losers like you.

  58. Felix 58

    burt,

    If you’d read the original post you wouldn’t need to ask. But no, I’m quite obviously calling you and dad retards, not the writer of the post.

  59. Pascal's bookie 59

    appleboy, d4j gets granted leeway for style. It’s an aesthetic thing.

    There is also the unresolved question as to whether he is an art project, a stroppy Artificial Intelligence program whose developers are using blog comment threads as a Turing test, or something else.

    In any case, don’t read him if you don’t like him. Or rather read him, but don’t respond untill you find something to like about him.

  60. Felix 60

    Good advice Pb. I wouldn’t want to lose the little bastard either.

    Sort of how I feel about Winston – question time just wouldn’t be the same.

  61. lprent 61

    burt: I don’t dispute facts from the DIA immigration department. What I dispute is the clown’s interpretation of those facts – quite simply he ignores the simplier explanation, that the ministers were following the Act.

    But more importantly for this site, I don’t and won’t tolerate spamming here

    The reason why some words have been put in moderation is because I’ve been reading comments put in by shills for the clown all week promoting this pile of crap. The same thing happens whenever he comes up with a story or a book. They hype big and fall short every time. This is about the third or fourth time I’ve seen the pattern.

    This is not a site for advertising. This is a deliberate spamming policy by some clown that thinks he is a journo (against all the evidence). So anything to do with the clown is in moderation because IMO he is a just another spammer.

  62. Rich 62

    I’ve always felt that a flaw in the system is that we give credence to convictions in places like China where reasonable standards of justice don’t apply. As someone said above, this guy might have a conviction there, but that could well just mean he’s pissed the authorities off.

    I reckon that to be denied citizenship somebody should have to have been convicted of something that is a (reasonably serious) crime here on evidence that an NZ court would reasonably have accepted.

    I’m actually less likely to vote Labour (even at electorate level) after seeing ministers acquiescing in Wishart’s lunacy.

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