Shearer defends Jones

May 21st, 2012 at 8:45 am by David Farrar

Adam Bennett at the NZ Herald reports:

Mr Shearer has been calling on Act leader to be relieved of his ministerial portfolios while police investigate whether he breached the Local Government Electoral Act by declaring donations to his 2010 Auckland mayoral campaign from German billionaire as anonymous.

But he said last night the questions around Mr Jones’ involvement in the Yan case were not as serious as those around Mr Banks donations from Dotcom.

The strength of the evidence against Mr Jones was “very arguable”.

Mr Jones has declined to comment on the matter.

Shearer’s comments defy comprehension, and reinforce that this is just “gotcha” politics rather than anything serious.

Let’s look at what the two cases have in common. Dotcom was a request to buy a house. Yan was to gain NZ citizenship. Both donated to politicians campaigns, and had politicians advocate on their behalf.

But in the case of Banks, he was neither MP nor Mayor when he advocated – and most importantly he was not the decision maker.

But in the case of Jones, we was the actual Minister who made the decision to grant citizenship. He did it against the advice of officials. He knew of the allegations that Liu was a wanted criminal, with multiple identities. Yet he still gave citizenship, and had a special ceremony in the Labour Caucus Room for it, attended no doubt by some of the MPs Liu had financially supported.

While in the Dotcom case, officials made no recommendation, yet it was still turned down.

So for Shearer to claim the questions around Jones are “not as serious” as those around Banks is a position not grounded in reality.

Also at least Banks has fronted up and answered questions (albeit not that well) on his issue. However Jones has spent years refusing to answer the question of why he granted citizenship against the advice of officials – except the obvious one that it was to keep his colleagues happy, who had been receipients of largesse from Liu.

Shearer’s comments on the Liu case mean we can pretty much ignore him in future on issues of ethics.

UPDATE: The original stories on this back in 2008 said that the room in Parliament used for the special citizenship ceremony was the Labour Caucus Room. I am informed that Mr Samuels says it was in fact the Maori Affairs Select Committee Room (which needs an MP to book it). The ceremony was two days after the approval, in contrast to the normal process where it takes weeks.

I also understand that Jones says he granted citizenship because he was told Liu could be executed upon his return. This is crap though, as Liu had permanent residency anyway. Also if someone really fears for their life, they seek asylum. He was wanted in China on fraud charges, and simply didn’t want to face them. There isn’t a single shred of proof that he feared for his life because he was associated with the Falun Gong, as he now alleges. What there is proof of is that he lied on immigration documents, had multiple passports and multiple identities and was wanted by Interpol.

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33 Responses to “Shearer defends Jones”

  1. hj (6,342 comments) says:

    Surely someone has forgotten Shearers batteries (4 x AAA?).

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  2. Carlos (686 comments) says:

    All of this stinks of corruption to me.

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  3. Scott Chris (5,870 comments) says:

    I suppose the difference between the two cases is that Banks was being deceptive whereas Jones was merely being stupid.

    Still, Jones should front up to avoid further political damage.

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  4. David Garrett (6,333 comments) says:

    Now this has all finally been dragged into public gaze it will be interesting what the MSM do with it. Looks perilously close to the Philip Field saga to me…

    SC: How do you come to that stunning conclusion since Jones thus far has kept his mouth shut?

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  5. orewa1 (428 comments) says:

    While DPF’s arguments above are sound and well-reasoned, I also agree with Carlos that too many of these issues cross the boundary from ethics to corruption. I fear for the future of democracy in this country unless leaders of all parties draw a deep line in the sand. Shearer should at the very least condemn Jones’s actions as unacceptable. Standards have declined to a dangerous degree.

    Much as I dislike Banks’s policies, I don’t think he crossed a line in the Dotcom case – his only crime was exposing himself as a bumbling dick in responding.

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  6. flipper (3,537 comments) says:

    Jones stupid? Come, come. The man went to Harvard. Still, so did Obamination (great word that!).

    Questions:
    Was Banks a Minister when his campaign received donations from Dipcom?
    Was Jones a Minister when he approved Yan(or whoever he might be)’s citizenship?
    Did Banks have a thankyou ceremony in Act’s Caucus room for Dipcom?
    Did Jones (et al) organise a very quick citizenship ceremony for Yan (or whoever) in Labour’s Caucus room?

    And we are supposed to believe Shearer is a credible future Prime Minister?

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  7. Manolo (13,327 comments) says:

    Scott, your logic is impeccable. Your nomination for the next round of Nobel prizes is assured.

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  8. slijmbal (1,210 comments) says:

    @Scott –

    “Jones is only being stupid”

    you appear to be mimicking the behaviour of Shearer.

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  9. hj (6,342 comments) says:

    another issue is dealing with someone from China versus the west. What goes on in China is unfathomable to most people* (but it don’t smell too good!).

    * most people here as most people are there (providing rich picking for Harcourts)

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  10. BeaB (2,056 comments) says:

    We know that according to the Left and to the media, everything National does is bad but everything Labour does, even if it is not good, can be excused or rationalised. Just listen to Brent Edwards on Morning Report with his usual partisan ramblings.

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  11. Nookin (3,033 comments) says:

    Stupid people look and sound stupid. Deceptive people deceive and when they learn that someone has caught the scent, they have the cunning to shut up and refuse to comment. Now, let’s re-appraise the allocation of those descriptors, Scott.

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  12. backster (2,074 comments) says:

    D.P.F. “But in the case of Banks, he was neither MP nor Mayor when he advocated – and most importantly he was not the decision maker.
    But in the case of Jones, we was the actual Minister who made the decision to grant citizenship. He did it against the advice of officials. He knew of the allegations that Liu was a wanted criminal, with multiple identities. Yet he still gave citizenship, and had a special ceremony in the Labour Caucus Room for it, attended no doubt by some of the MPs Liu had financially supported.”

    You state the case correctly so why did Adam BENNETT the Herald Reporter not put that question to Shearer for analyses.A bum job of reporting………Clearly Jones was not merely stupid he was criminally corrupt.

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  13. Pete George (22,754 comments) says:

    Much as I dislike Banks’s policies, I don’t think he crossed a line in the Dotcom case – his only crime was exposing himself as a bumbling dick in responding.

    That was always the aim of Labour with Banks, to try and pressure him into making a mistake using bluster and lies. They are trying the same with Dunne. They lost the election so they’re trying to win the subversion. Stuff democracy, that’s just a three year illusion for the plebs.

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  14. flipper (3,537 comments) says:

    BeaB..
    Agree about Edwards.
    But please remind me of the audience rating for Red Radio’s ” Morning Report”.

    Incidentally, Red Radio stole the name from the US where NPR has used it pretty much since inception.

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  15. Lloyd (125 comments) says:

    Actually, it was not Banks that I thought of when I read of Jones’ actions, but Nick Smith. Smith acted out of a mis-placed loyalty, over-stepped the mark, and paid a hell of a penalty for it.
    Jones, I would argue, went quite a bit further, using his ministerial authority, ramming through an acceptance and doing a secret ceremony. This needs a very serious official (judicial?) review, with appropriate action taken as a result.
    I must confess to being a little surprised: I thought Jones was a little smarter than this. Just shows my gullibility, I guess!

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  16. Keeping Stock (10,092 comments) says:

    Scott Chris’ “Jones was just being stupid” ranks right up there with “The only thing that Phillip Field is guilty of is being helpful to his constituents”.

    But the underlying issue here is one of perception, and the perception is that Shearer has already judged Banks as guilty before he has even been charged, whereas he regards the Jones/Liu issue as “not as serious”. Shearer has made an almighty cock-up due to his inexperience and naivety, and “gotcha politics” has come back to bite him on the bum.

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  17. David Garrett (6,333 comments) says:

    KS: Well said…it was always going to be thus with Shearer He wouldnt even have been in the House three years yet…and no matter what he did in his earlier life, he would NEVER have experienced anything like it….his election smacked of desparation.

    But back to Jones…he is not quite as brilliant as he thinks he is, but he is no dummy…

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  18. mara (719 comments) says:

    Now that Shearer is seen as not only inept but ALSO unethical, remind me why he should keep his job?

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  19. cows4me (248 comments) says:

    Come on everyone knows the sins of the left are trivial and are simply sins made for the glorious advancement of socialism, Jones should get a promotion for his stupidity.

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  20. David Garrett (6,333 comments) says:

    mara: Who else would they elect – some back bencher who came in last November? clayton cosgrove? (small letters deliberate)

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  21. Scott Chris (5,870 comments) says:

    Okay okay. I’m just going on what we know so far.

    Like Nookin says, maybe Jones isn’t as stupid as I gave him credit for.

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  22. Positan (383 comments) says:

    I really can’t see why Shearer’s nonsense on this matter is surprising to anyone,

    1. Labour candidates, MPs and leaders all resort to playing the man rather than the ball – an apparently genetic failing.
    2. Labour candidates, MPs and leaders will ignore any shortcoming of their own, no matter how closely it pertains to whatever they’re attempting to make into an issue. They believe that nothing will reflect on those whose stance has always been, “do as we say, not do as we do.”
    3. Labour candidates, MPs and leaders are imbued with so little in the way of workable policy, they must grasp whatever they can.
    4. Labour candidates, MPs and leaders seem to believe that the electorate will never hold their willful stupidity against them.

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  23. David Garrett (6,333 comments) says:

    Positan! By Gad sir, work that into sentences and you’d have a pretty reasonable op-ed column….not publishable in any MSM in New Zealand but very good nonetheless..

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  24. Nostalgia-NZ (4,898 comments) says:

    I don’t see this as Jones v Banks, those offering that argument are trying to claw back the position of Key on Banks by comparing it with Shearer on Jones.

    If Shearer has a leader’s instinct he should deal to Jones, then for the rest of his political career he will have been seen to have sent a message to the electorate that he’s tough and straight up when he needs to be. Unfortunately for Jones, who dropped himself in it after-all by most accounts, he’s made himself redundant to getting a message out there about Shearer’s leadership and what Labour should mean to the public come the next election. Shearers loyalty should be toward the people he wants to represent as Prime Minister.

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  25. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    Fields was selling immigration favours in return for the immigrants working as slave labour.

    It looks like Jones was selling immigration favours in return for political donations.

    I think the government needs to do a full audit of all Labour’s immigration decisions to ensure that all their citizenship-for-sale decisions are identified and the perpetrators held responsible.

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  26. David Garrett (6,333 comments) says:

    davidp: Well said…to paraphrase Lady Bracknell, two is more than enough to invite suspicion that there are more…perhaps many of them.

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  27. dubya (214 comments) says:

    Lawyers: If it transpires that Bill Liu or whatever his name happens to actually be has indeed committed criminal offences, and that Shane Jones’ decision to grant him citizenship was corrupt, would Liu be deported?

    His Falun Gong association gives him the perfect credentials to be the next Zaoui-esque darling of the left.

    Irony is, any economic benefit Liu may have held to NZ, is probably now going to be devoured by public spending on his prosecution and enquiries into Jones’ conduct.

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  28. David Garrett (6,333 comments) says:

    dubya: I am not an expert on immigration law, but I know a naturalised New Zealander can be stripped of citizenship…

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  29. DJP6-25 (1,268 comments) says:

    These people are socialists. Socialisim is based on a lie. Most of the stuff they do turns out wrong because of this. When that happens, they try to lie or obfuscate their way out of it.

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  30. Paulus (2,493 comments) says:

    Typical Labur bullshit – carrying on from Philip Field, and used often by Clark.
    Lie until you can get away with it.
    The facts speak, not covered in obfuscation.

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  31. Keeping Stock (10,092 comments) says:

    Shearer will regret supporting Jones so unconditionally. Jones still hasn’t answered the money question; why he approved Liu’s application for citizenship in spite of the recommedations from officials to decline it, advice from officials that Liu did not meet good character requirements, the freezing of Liu’s assets in Australia and Interpol’s interest in Liu.

    Any one of those erasons would have been adequate grounds to simply decline the application. That Jones chose to ignore ALL FOUR red flags suggests that he is totally unsuited to the role of Minister where he had taken an oath of office to act in the best interests of ALL New Zealanders.

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  32. David Garrett (6,333 comments) says:

    KS: Very well put sir…Has he actually been asked straight out why he ignored such compelling reasons, any one of which as you say would b enough to decline him?

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  33. mynamewastaken (3 comments) says:

    Way to fiddle up a strawman so you can hypocritically “gotcha” someone with accusations of hypocritical gotcha game playing.

    “Mr Shearer has been calling on Act leader John Banks to be relieved of his ministerial portfolios while police investigate whether he breached the Local Government Electoral Act by declaring donations to his 2010 Auckland mayoral campaign from German billionaire Kim Dotcom as anonymous.”

    So we have a call for a Minister to be stood down for the duration of a known, active, police investigation. This is the same as not doing “something” undefined about someone who is not a Minister in the government, and who we do not currently know is subject to an active police investigation. The two issues are identical because they both involve immigration decisions?

    A chaff filled strawman.

    The Banks case is only tangentially similar to the very concerning questions raised by the Yan case.

    For your argument to hold water, the problem with Banks’ case would need to be that he was seeking to influence a Minister’s decision, and he got a donation.

    However, that’s not actually a problem unless we have a direct confirmation steming from Banks himself that the donation was the cause of the advocacy, or the form of advocacy was untoward in and of itself. Otherwise it’s impossible to determine whether the attempt to advocate and influence a decision was on the basis of the donation, or was general advocacy based on Banks’ “best judgement” of a “good outcome” in the circumstances. Politicians routinely advocate for others, so we need to be very careful that the co-occurence of a donation does not damn someone for advocacy they would have engaged in without the donation.

    The issue with Banks is, as the quoted comments from Shearer point out, not that he advocated for Dotcom, but rather than he may have diddled his election returns. The fact that he did this at time T is not relevant when time T is relatively recent, and nothing has happened in the interim to change the ethical basis of Banks’ character. If someone would violate election law deliberately, then how are we to have confidence in their character as being fit for Ministerial authority and responsibility?

    I don’t think Banks ought to be turfed out as a representative of the ACT party, the Epsom electorate, nor that the government should break from its coalition with Act, but I do believe that he ought to stand down as a Minister while the police investigate the accusations against him. Does this make me a hypocrite for not calling for Jones to be stood down as a Minister of the government? I honestly do not see how.

    A much more apt analogue for the Dotcom case is the Owens/Winston case, and that is another instance where I believed the MP concerned ought not be allowed to carry on as a Minister while the serious accusations against him were being investigated.

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