The more complete Donghua Liu timeline

Written By: - Date published: 2:34 pm, February 22nd, 2015 - 89 comments
Categories: john key, national - Tags: , , ,

The Herald yesterday ran a story about how Donghua Liu gave the National Party $25,000.  My jaw dropped when I read this.  Readers of that particular article were assisted by the provision of a timeline.  But it was really scanty and I though that I should augment it so that a greater appreciation of this very sorry incident could be given.  A lot of this information is derived from this excellent post by Frank Macskasy.

April 11, 2003:  David Cunliffe sends a pro forma letter to Immigration asking when a decision concerning Donghua Liu’s permit application may be granted.

March 6, 2007: Donghua Liu claims he purchased a bottle of wine for $100,000 at a Labour Party fundraiser on this date.

2012:  Liu’s company Roncon Pacific Hotel Management Holdings donates $22,000 to the National Party.  This donation is declared in National’s 2012 Party Donations return.

August 2013: Prime Minister John Key and National Party MP Jami-Lee Ross have a private dinner at Donghua Liu’s home. The Herald claims Liu donated later that month $25,000 to Mr Ross’s election campaign through the “Botany Cabinet Club”.

December 2013: Liu is arrested on domestic violence charges.

January 31, 2014:  Parliament’s register of pecuniary interests which is meant to include gifts valued over $500 does not include Donghua Liu’s apparent gift of $25,000 to Jamie Lee-Ross’s election campaign.  Genuine donations to an electoral campaign do not need to be declared.

March 2014: Herald reveals Maurice Williamson lobbied ministerial colleague to give Liu citizenship against official advice and Liu’s $22,000 donation to National.

April 30, 2014:  National Party Secretary Greg Hamilton files a Party Donations Return that does not include the Donghua Liu donation of $25,000.

May 1, 2014: Mr Williamson forced to resign as a minister after Herald investigation reveals he telephoned senior police officer about Liu’s domestic violence charges in January 2014. Prime Minister John Key said he recalled “seeing Mr Liu at various functions, including a dinner as part of a National Party fundraiser.” He does not mention that the private dinner was at Liu’s own home.

May 9, 2014:  Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse learns of the existence of the Cunliffe letter.

May 10, 2014:  Adam Bennett reports that Williamson had lobbied three different Immigration Ministers to relax the business migrant scheme entry requirements.

May 11, 2014:  Key’s office is informed of the existence of the Cunliffe letter.

May 26, 2014: A copy of the letter is given to Key’s office.

June 16, 2014:  Jared Savage posts a story claiming that Liu donated $15,000 to the Labour Party according to a party source.  His OIA application for information from Liu’s immigration file is declined.  He refiles an urgent application seeking correspondence from any MPs concerning Liu’s immigration application.  Brooke Sabin also files a similar request.

June 17, 2014:  Tova O’Brien asks Cunliffe if he advocated on Liu’s behalf at all and his response is “nope”.

June 18, 2014:  The Cunliffe letter is released.  The timing  of events that day is very revealing:

12.10 – Labour Leader’s office told of letters, and told OIA will be mailed in 1 hour.

12.30 – Office of Immigration Minister (Michael Woodhouse) told OIA being released, with letters.

12.49 – Jared Savage is emailed OIA.

12.53 – Brook Sabin – without a paper-trail of how he got the letters (but direct from Minister’s office?) – publishes his story on the letter.

12.57 – Whaleoil references Jared Savage’s OIA about the letter.

1.00 – John Armstrong publishes call for Cunliffe’s resignation due to letter.

1.06 – David Farrar refers to Jared Savage’s OIA.

2.29 – Herald publishes Savage’s story online.

Geoff posts “Reliable sources have also told me that Donghua is still donating cash to National too. (Any journos reading might like to ask Jamie-Lee Ross about this)”

June 19, 2014: Josie Pagani puts the boot into David Cunliffe and regurgitates National attack lines about “Gocha politics”.  Michael Woodhouse denies telling Key about the letter, then says that officials from his office briefed Mr Key’s office on the letters and then by 7 pm that day his office said the minister himself told Mr Key’s office about the letters and his office also gave copies of the letters to Mr Key’s office.

June 22, 2014: Herald publishes exclusive story claiming that Donghua Liu had bought a bottle of wine at a Labour Party fundraiser for $100,000 and donated more than $150,000 to the Labour Party.

June 25, 2014:  Herald publishes a further story stating that the $100,000 was not for a bottle of wine but the total of all donations to Labour.  $50,000 to $60,000 of this was the cost of hiring a boat [for] Liu’s concrete company which Labour Minister Rick Barker attends and $2,000 was a donation to the Hawkes Bay Rowing Club.  John Armstrong publishes a column saying Cunliffe managed to survive “his own self-inflicted body blows last week”.  No mention is made of his previous column.  Use of the phrase “fucking joke” peaks on social media.

June 27, 2014: the Herald publishes an editorial Cries of bias will not stop reporting and readers take the opportunity to pour scorn on the editorial.

November 2014: Mr Ross returns the $25,000 donation to Liu.

February 2015: Electoral returns to reveal the $25,000 donation.

The claim that this donation was for Jamie Lee Ross’s electoral expenses appears to me to be contrived in the extreme as it meant that the donation, unlike the previous donation made by Liu, did not have to be disclosed the day before Williamson resigned.  I am sure that Liu did not care or even think about the difference.  And why should any electorate seek donations when they were receiving a $24,000 cheque from head office?  This feels like an extra serving of spin designed to preserve as much as possible TeamKey TM branding.  If any media is reading this they should ask is who the cheque was made out to.  And which account it was banked into.  And why this particular Cabinet Club payment was treated differently to other Cabinet Club payments as well as the previous Liu donation.

And how do I feel about this?  Well fucking mad.  Extra words seem unnecessary.  This whole fiasco could have cost Labour the election.  Rob Salmond estimates that it may have cost Labour 2% of the vote and I agree with this.  That is up to three seats and it sucked a lot of momentum out of the campaign.

And you want to know the really funny thing?  There is no evidence of a donation to Labour or of Labour breaking any rules to help Liu.  But there is now pristine evidence of National receiving a donation from Liu and of subsequent action taken by a National Minister to help Liu in a police prosecution that resulted in this Minister being sacked.

New Zealand you got played.

89 comments on “The more complete Donghua Liu timeline”

  1. Excellent post. If John Armstrong (& the Fox NewZ Herald) has any conscience he needs to apologise to NZ for regurgitating unverified spin lines from National’s dirty election campaign.

    I hope that lying Liu is on the list of corrupt expats China wants extradited to face the music.

  2. Nordy 2

    Thanks MS – I always enjoy your contributions and the questions you raise.

    I sometimes despair at the ‘incompetence’ of much of our media. They have never got close to what this story is really about, and I’m not sure they ever will – even with yours and others putting it in ‘plain english’ for them.

    I would add just the one word to your final comment – ‘again’.

    • tc 2.1

      You have it all arse about, the MSM are very competant at running smear lines and NACT spin, its what they do as part of tge DP machine.

      Dont expect any serious independant journalism from sabin,savage,smellstrong, oshillivan etc they are as owned as the outlet they work for.

      Go read hagers book, like the hollowmen doco it tells you all you need to know about controlling the narrative and duping the sheeple.

  3. Clemgeopin 3

    The WHOLE lot of the NATIONAL party hierarchy, the PM and the NATIONAL ministers should all be hauled before the ombudsman, the auditor general and the criminal courts and EVERY BIT of the corruption should be exposed fully so that New Zealand does not ever descend to the political corruption depths found in many other countries.

    But, as usual, with our weak and biased media and gutless officials, these crooks will lie, spin, bullshit, get away and pretend they are clean and that their clothes are made of Teflon.

    What a disgrace.

  4. Incognito 4

    Somebody ought to file a complaint with the Electoral Commission; surely they have the powers to investigate this properly, incl. to whom the cheque was made out.

    Those “Cabinet Clubs” are certainly not within the spirit of the law to declare donations; they look like money laundering clubs.

  5. Use of the phrase “fucking joke” peaks on social media.

    I LOL’d. 😀

  6. Neil 6

    Excellent post Mickey, OMG I knew this was a dirty affair, but until reading Franks post outlining the time line I didn’t relies how dirty it was. I reckon karma is going to bite Key fair & square on his backside over this, given the latest story run on the herald website this weekend about Lui’s donation to the nats.

  7. Clemgeopin 7

    Key, Jamie Lee Ross and indeed this government should resign immediately.

    If not, I hope that there are at least half a dozen or so National MPs of some integrity, ethics, conscience and courage, with some sense of right and wrong, who feel very angry and are ashamed, and decide not take this kind of shit anymore and leave this dodgy outfit of a government and become independent MPs. I bet they will get a lot of support and respect from the people of this country from all sides.

  8. Tom Jackson 8

    At the very least Armstrong needs to be hounded out of journalism.

    • halfcrown 8.1

      “At the very least Armstrong needs to be hounded out of journalism.”

      You beat me to it. I was going to suggest the same thing.

      Perhaps swamp the Herald with emails pointing out Armstrong’s and The Heralds hypocrisy.

      If anyone does do that, file a copy on here. Knowing that pathetic excuse for shithouse paper called the Herald, they will not publish them.

      • Tom Jackson 8.1.1

        I thought it would be better for Labour to go after him, and perhaps the Herald so as to make the bias a story and pour encourager les autres.

      • rhinocrates 8.1.2

        Of course the Herald is awful. Are you surprised? Consider these characteristics:

        It comes in inconveniently large sheets, not, as is the norm, on rolls with regularly perforated sections.

        It is single ply.

        The paper is of a very coarse and non-absorbent variety.

        It is single-ply.

        It is not embossed.

        It is covered in dark, poorly-fixed dark ink advertisements, rather than pastel images of seashells and starfish.

        It is not scented.

        You cannot buy it in packs of four or more.

        Really, what are you expecting?

  9. Visubversaviper 9

    You need to have a look at Liu’s citizenship ceremony being held at Williamson’s office the day after it was granted. As a JP, I am often asked to do citizenship ceremonies, but Internal Affairs makes it very difficult for them to be done privately. They turned down the request from the young Thai woman who worked at the local restaurant for me to do her ceremony in the afternoon at the restaurant where she and her Kiwi husband and all their workmates could participate, and insisted that she lose a nights pay or a days leave by going to the public ceremony. The only one I have managed to do recently was for someone who was on his way overseas to play rugby, and that was also facilitatd by a National MP.

    It takes several days to send the forms to Internal Affairs and get it all checked out and the certificate back from them to do the ceremony.

    Having it done the day after granting is exceptionally speedy service. An OIA request to see who in Wiliamson’s office did all the work and the greasing to get this done would be useful.

  10. Tom Jackson 10

    So all we know shows that the Herald along with TV3 and some talk radio was part of an organised smear machine against Labour. Yet some people still think that Labour should cosy up to these unelected brigands.

    • Anne 10.1

      And who helped facilitate TV3’s Brook Sabin’s copy of the letter and other information? His father Mike Sabin? Maybe I don’t feel too sorry for his current dilemma after all.

      It astounded me at the time that Frank Macskasy’s brilliant time-lines were not even touched upon by anyone in the MSM. It made me wonder just what was going on.
      Blackmail or intimidation if any journo stepped out of line?

      As for John Armstrong… who was standing over him wielding the stick eh? Or was he fulfilling the role of Cunliffe’s executioner as he knew it was expected of him?

      Time for some defamation cases to be seriously considered.

      • Tom Jackson 10.1.1

        I’m not sure that will work. Much of the so called neutral apparatus of democracy has been co opted by National. Quite how much wasn’t apparent until recently.

      • aaron 10.1.2

        There’s no need for anyone to get heavy with the MSM and Armstrong to make this happen – those people would never have become ‘successful’ journos if they really had the courage to take on the establishment. Sure they might throw the odd punch to make it look like they’re trying but when it comes to the crunch, like this example, they wouldn’t dare.

        Cowards, the lot of them.

        Also, if the major papers and TV news genuinely wanted that kind of journalist there would be a bidding war over the likes of Gordon Campbell and Selwyn Manning but instead they are forced to work on the fringes.

        Let’s face it, what sort of corporation would hire people like them if they could avoid it.

      • Tracey 10.1.3

        Any chance PG will NOW understand that Dirty Politics isn’t calling someone names in Parliament?

  11. adam 11

    So the weak ass social democrats in this country got played again by the Tory scum. So the weak as social democrats are going wring their collective hands and cry into their collective milk again?

    Is this a wake up call? Will the soft, fluffy left now get the message – these are Tory scum. They hate you as much as they hate everyone else. They love money, power and they have no morals. The Tory scum in this country want nothing more – than us to shut up and do as we are told. If you just take this – them you are the weak pathetic fools the Tory scum think you are.

    The time has come – To Quote Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds

    “I aim to misbehave”

    • Murray Rawshark 11.1

      Pretty much my sentiments. You can’t play by the rules when Tory scum make those rules and hand pick the referee.

  12. ianmac 12

    Interesting that this story re the Liu donation was published yesterday in the Herald but now is well buried and hard to find online.
    Funny that?

    • halfcrown 12.1

      Yeah, I went looking for it as well and could not find it. This why I think we should have the email blitz on the Herald as suggested in my reply to Tom Jackson
      @5.07pm (8.1)
      Don’t let it slip under the Radar as the rightwing shits would like it. After all they kept the Cuncliffe crap alive
      for weeks.

      • te reo putake 12.1.1

        Your typical Armstrong headline:

        Labour Leader in Bestiality Shock:

        Police today arrested an acquaintance of Labour leader Andrew Little for interfering with a sheep. The man, John Philip Key, aged 54, of Parnell …

      • halfcrown 12.1.2

        One other thing to my reply. The Labour party wants to treat that traitorous female Josie Pagani as a hostile witness.
        Every time she is used by the media as a “left” spokesperson the Labour party should state that she is nothing to do with them and her views do not represent the views of the Labour party. If she is a member of the Labour party expel her.
        and go public about how and why she is being expelled.
        It is time to say enough is enough,

        • Anne 12.1.2.1

          +1

        • Clemgeopin 12.1.2.2

          +1 Good point.

        • Anne 12.1.2.3

          It is the first time I have seen that TV1 Breakfast interview and I’m gobsmacked.

          Gotcha politics on the part of Labour? It was the NActs and the MSM who were indulging in the gotcha stuff. Labour and Cunliffe were the victims. A perfect example of te reo putake’s comment @ 12.1.1.

          She went on to ridicule Labour for not doing exactly what they were doing over and over again… talking about jobs, houses and economic issues. It wasn’t their fault the MSM chose to ignore/misrepresent everything they said and concentrate on all the Nact gotcha lies.

          Will Q+A have the nerve to keep her on their programme as a ‘left’ panellist? If so, a full onslaught of complaints directed at TV1 could be fruitful.

    • mary_a 12.2

      @ ianmac –

      Same with the Sabin issue! As well as the lost $200 million super fund! All buried by msm. Out of sight, out of mind!

      NZ has enough ammunition (no pun intended here) to fire up a revolt of some kind to get rid of this slimy, corrupt PM and his sleazy government!

  13. b waghorn 13

    I can’t remember if Tova O’Brien got a mention in DP but it would be interesting to know were she got the” idea” to ask Cunilliffe about the his helping Lieu.

    • Anne 13.1

      …it would be interesting to know were she got the” idea” to ask Cunilliffe about the his helping Lieu.

      Her colleague Brook Sabin?

      • b waghorn 13.1.1

        If I recall right Raw shark and Hager held back a lot of names why I don’t know.
        I have been wondering for awhile about Miss O’Brien she’s not as overtly anti labour as the fool paddy but I think she’s possible rotten to the core.

        • Anne 13.1.1.1

          I think she’s possible rotten to the core.

          No, I don’t think so. Just doing what she was instructed to do…

          I’m beginning to understand why these ‘young things’ (of both sexes) are taking over the relatively senior MSM political roles. They have next to no knowledge and experience under their belt which makes them easy to manipulate?

          • Sacha 13.1.1.1.1

            and cheap to hire

          • aaron 13.1.1.1.2

            Tova O’Brien lives on another planet. I try not to watch the TV news but I saw some raw footage of Cunliffe being questioned about the Liu letter and she was so excited; “Is this the mother of all brain fades?” she asked about a letter that was eleven years old.

            The question makes no sense, but if her focus was manufacturing the mother of all scandals in an attempt to advance her career and help her employers sell advertising then her excitement is understandable. It was the mother of all brain fades because it would cause the most political damage, not because she was expecting Cunliffe to actually remember anything.

            As real journalism goes it’s idiotic, but then she’s clearly not interested in doing real journalism and the idiocy is just a by-product of pure undiluted sensationalism. She would be more than happy to be played by National again and again if it meant she got to keep breaking scandals. Integrity be damned!

            • bearded git 13.1.1.1.2.1

              I liked Little’s response to a journalist when interviewed just after getting elected, which was something like “that’s a stupid question”

              While to some extent the MSM needs to be kept onside they also need to be called out on stupid or biased questions

          • Paul 13.1.1.1.3

            Yes young and easy to influence.

  14. hoom 14

    And why should any electorate seek donations when they were receiving a $24,000 cheque from head office?

    Can you add the timing of this $24k cheque into the timeline & when it was first referenced in public/rumored to exist?

    Also the date of the Citizenship ceremony in Williamsons’ Office.

    • Tautoko Mangō Mata 14.1

      “Donghua Liu was granted New Zealand residency in 2005 against official advice by Labour Party minister Damien O’Connor.

      Five years later, he was also granted citizenship against official advice after Maurice Williamson, Minister for Building and Construction at the time, lobbied on behalf of the property developer.

      Mr Williamson asked his ministerial colleague Nathan Guy to process the case “as fast as possible”, who then used his ministerial prerogative to grant Liu citizenship on December 16, 2010.

      The following day, Mr Williamson conducted the VIP ceremony himself in his Pakuranga electorate office.

      Mr Williamson resigned his ministerial portfolios last month after the Herald revealed he phoned a senior police officer about the domestic violence charges Liu was facing.”
      Written by Jared Savage.
      http://corruptionbribery.com/2014/06/03/nats-donor-in-china-bribery-case/

  15. Saarbo 15

    Given the time line, if the media dont put some serious attention into Nationals/Key’s attacks/workings on this issue, then clearly NZ has a serious issue with our political journalists…this is shocking. Armstrong has continuously been accused of being biased by the Left, well if he does nothing then this proves it.

  16. Paul 16

    Time for the opposition parties to stop kowtowing to a corrupt biased and puppet media.

  17. ankerawshark 17

    Yes I felt both sad and angry about this. This was a real smear against Cunliffe,

    I remember Frank Mc took this to the Press Council and they didn’t uphold his complaint as they said the Herald maintained there was more to come on the Labour donation scandal. And of course to date there is nothing. Only National and donations from Dong Liu.

    It makes me feel pretty sad about Cunliffe. He would have been a great PM. He has way more experience and a broader back ground than Little. I am not against Little, but just think it is a huge loss re Cunliffe.

    I still maintain the left lost the election because of the msm and their treatment of Cunliffe.

    • Northsider 17.1

      And sadder still there were some Labour people helping the attack on Cunliffe.
      Not just Auckland’s Shearer and his friend Pagani. There are post from that time eminating from Robertson/King’s ABC faction. They are ” in storage”.

      This undermining is still being played out.
      Andrew Little has to sort out his chief whips ongoing attachment to Robertson and King.

    • dv 17.2

      >>I remember Frank Mc took this to the Press Council and they didn’t uphold his complaint as they said the Herald maintained there was more to come on the Labour donation scandal. And of course to date there is nothing. Only National and donations from Dong Liu.

      Can the complaint be represented now as there has been nothing more come re Labour??

      • mpledger 17.2.1

        Yea, Frank should relay his complaint or make a new complaint since The Herald’s defence that more was to come has turned into a big fat nothing.

    • You are right. The media campaign against him was vicious and obvious.

  18. North 18

    I’m in a far away place and five hours behind NZ – what strikes me is the telling absence of the right wing scum, the worshippers at the temple of HisGaucheness TheGodKey who normally disport on TS. Why so absent ? Because they know. They know and even they don’t have the gall to even attempt rationalisation. The selling
    of the offices of state sticks out like dogs’ balls.

    If he has the near semblance of a conscience fool/equally corrupt John “Resign!” Armstrong will take his own advice. And all opposition forces must publicly unite and demand abject apology from the fetid National Party attack dog the Herald. “Democracy Under Attack !” you betcha !

  19. saveNZ 19

    Dirty Politics has defiantly contributed to National’s majority. But what is anyone going to do about it? Labour are not the only ones being targeted with half truths and smears often to disguise National’s behaviour.

    You can’t change other parties so what is Labour (and other parties) going to do to stop this type of attack happening again?

    Apart from the extremely popular and long awaited ‘cut the crap’ – what else has Labour done?

  20. saveNZ 20

    Just a thought, is it possible for Labour/Cunliffe to sue the Herald and other MSM that reported the biased facts? After all an election was effected on the basis of it, so it is defiantly in the public’s interest.

    • Anne 20.1

      It wasn’t just the facts were biased, they were downright lies both from the Nacts and Liu. There were no donations to Labour. There was no bottle of wine. One former Labour cabinet minister was invited (at the last minute) to attend a staff function on a boat when he was in China. Nothing happened. No donations offered or given… the minister only stayed at the function for 30 minutes or so then left. A dirty political scandal created out of absolutely nothing.

      Shame indeed on the NZ MSM for being a willing party to it!

  21. ankerawshark 21

    save NZ I think suing would be a great idea. But again Labour are very ham strung. Where you or I might sue, they have to weigh this up against what will help or hinder their chances of winning the election.

    Other than hoping the Msm die a slow death, with people choosing other ways of getting their news, I am unsure of what would work.

    • saveNZ 21.1

      The only way to attack dirty politics from National and make MSM not print lies, is to sue them. It has worked to bring down Cameron Slater i.e. his lies being found out in a court of law.

      Labour actually need to get some balls, stop being NationalLite and actually fight back.

      Because they are actually fighting for their existence and brand.

      NZ like strong government. Labour looks weak. If they can’t stand up to National and MSM then they actually look too weak to govern.

      The 30% can be gone by lunch time next election with another smear attack. Now is the time to fight back, away from an election not with another issue before it.

  22. saveNZ 22

    If it is all lies, Labour can claim damages and put that into their coffers.

    • North 22.1

      Broadly, our legal system was never essentially directed towards guarding democracy. No. Democracy is what we do once every three years but not otherwise. Except at the pleasure of the beneficiaries of the triennial exercise who when right wing are applauded catatonically by a bought and paid for MSM. And so the myth endures out amongst the sheeple.

  23. MikiG 23

    Does Labour have the necessary guts to stand up (with the rest of the country firmly behind them) and call a vote of no confidence? Is it possible? Would it work? Can we do it… Please?

    • ropata 23.1

      Pretty sure that the opposition parties try for a motion of no confidence every week but it’s never passed. The phrase confidence and supply means the NACTs have enough seats to govern

  24. mary_a 24

    Maybe and this is just a big maybe, Rawshark and Nicky Hager might have more fresh damaging information on hand, including the Donghua Lui involvement timeline, against sleazy Key and his seedy government. Enough exposure to seal National’s fate, this time for good!

    We can always live in hope. But it’s so difficult to nail Key & co conspirators down, when the supposedly people’s proxy msm is not on our side, instead preferring to support and contribute to the corruption of this infestation of a government!

  25. Old Mickey 25

    Very helpful timeline – my stomach turned to see that Savage & Slater are again joined at the hip (both are unpleasant sicko “guns’ for hire).
    This still looks like a beltway issue and a distraction. Who will care or remeber in 6 weeks time ? WIll this topple the Govt ? No way – 49% in latest poll. Advice to Andy, find something major to focus on, and hammer it home.

  26. Tracey 26

    “here is no evidence of a donation to Labour or of Labour breaking any rules to help Liu. ”

    EXACTLY

    Interesting (and pleasingly) NO contribution from one PG to this thread. Now if Little had called Key a name iin parliament….

    • Sabine 26.1

      yes funny is it not. None of the usual apologists.

      • Clemgeopin 26.1.1

        I suspect something dubious is going on with the nexus of the rich pricks and some media, commentators and blogs. Have you noticed the sudden surge in the positive promotion and extraordinary propping up of David Seymour and the 0% ACT party recently? Looks quite fishy to me.

    • Pete George 26.2

      I didn’t feel a need to add anything here Tracey (and I don’t comment on most posts at TS). Instead I circulated the timeline in a repost and also at Kiwiblog because I think it justifies a wider audience. I thought that would be better than getting involved in pointless niggles here.

      • te reo putake 26.2.1

        Most people think if colors have attributes such as good or evil, that the color of evil is either the red of arterial blood gushing from a wound, or the deepest black of the darkest night sky. While these are certainly evil colors, they are not as evil as beige…. The most evil color has to appear benign.

        At first blush, of course, the color beige might have all kinds of comforting associations—from oatmeal, that pabulum of wintertime childhoods, to a worn-to-softness pair of trousers. But beige is also the color of deceit and oppression. Khaki, after all, originated in mid-19th-century colonial India, where it took its name from the Urdu term for “dusty.”

      • sabine 26.2.2

        pathetic as always.

  27. Linda 27

    The herald the national party ,lee Ross and john key have a lot of explaining to do

  28. Pete George 28

    Stuff makes a mention of related bits in John Key confirms dinner at Donghua Liu’s house:

    David Cunliffe, who had previously accused National of doing “cash for access” deals with Liu, was in turn embarrassed in the run-up to the election.

    It was revealed a letter that turned out to be inconsequential was sent in his name asking when an application by Liu would be dealt with. Cunliffe had denied meeting or lobbying for Liu.

    Labour also came under fire over Liu’s donations to the party, the size of which were never finally established.

    I don’t have confidence in either National or Labour to openly and honestly disclose donations.

    Part of the reason for secrecy is due to the political ammunition disclosure potentially gives opponents.

    But being upfront and transparent is the best way to avoid later embarrassments.

    • mickysavage 28.1

      I agree with the description of the letter that it “turned out to be inconsequential”. It turned out to be inconsequential as soon as it was read and it was immediately available. Did not stop the beat up from happening though.

      Labour’s head office has declared consistently that it has no record of receiving any donations from Liu. And the “donations” Liu described were to entities totally unrelated to Labour.

      And we have two clear examples of donations to National, one not long before a Minister interfered in a police prosecution involving Liu.

      • Sacha 28.1.1

        Yes, a senior gallery journo writing “Liu’s donations to the [Labour] party, the size of which were never finally established” is a bit rich when it is the media who have made allegations without any supporting evidence and without apology. They really have no shame.

      • Pete George 28.1.2

        So how to promote more evidence based media coverage? Old school journalists have struggled to adapt to a social media world. The race to the scoop has become a media rat race.

        Perhaps more evidence based blogging would set a better example.

        (And that’s not a dig at you Greg, you’re one who’s actually setting a much better standard in that regard, but it’s still a minority approach).

      • felix 28.1.3

        ” Did not stop the beat up from happening though.”

        And loyal to the end, Pete is still beating it, months after everyone else recognised it as utter bullshit and the result of a dodgy OIA job by the DP crew.

  29. mary_a 29

    Just a thought. Did National or the Botany Cabinet Club, keep the interest earned on the Liu donation, which was kept for a year before being handed back?

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