Espiner on Liu

August 27th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

and 60 minutes did a 20 minute programme last night on the case. Espiner blogs on it today:

It’s not often that you put an item of nearly 20 minutes to air and still feel that there was plenty more of the story still to tell. 

60 Minutes Producer Chris Wilks and I spent a month digging deep into the story of Citizen Yan and had access to documents giving us an enormous amount of detail. 

But we still feel there is plenty we don’t know. 

In fact all the things which, for most people are very simple, in Yan’s case, are opaque. 

Like what’s his name? Yong Ming Yan, , Bill Liu, Wiremu Liu and William Yan are among his monikers. The search warrant for his Metropolis apartment also seeks documents in the name of Yong Ming Run. 

What about another simple question. Where does he live? That’s easy. He lives on the 35th floor of the MetropolisTower, known as Room 3505. He bought units 35H-L inclusive – property titles 138A/534, 138A/319, 138A/320, 138A/321 and 138A/322 – and combined them into one residence. 

He still lives there but he sold them in 2010 to Khai Wain Ng. The curious thing about that is that Khai Wain Ng had listed Room 3505 of the Metropolis as the address for his company, Global Market International Limited, as early as 2007. 

So is Liu also Ng? And still to this day we have no idea who Liu really is.

Curiously Liu’s early submissions claim that he was the Vice President of the Chinese Democracy Party. His lawyers argued that the Chinese government may want to persecute him for that and for information about the party’s 30,000 secret members. 

We tried to check with the CDP in New York but they would not confirm, or deny, whether he had held that position. Certainly their website names other Vice Presidents but no one going by the names Yan has used. 

In the paperwork, officials point out that if Yan felt he was the subject of political persecution there were appropriate avenues for him to take. 

“These claims, which effectively amount to an allegation of political persecution, could be advanced by Mr Liu before specialist forums namely the Refugee Status Branch and the Refugee Status Appeals Authority,” officials wrote. 

He did not do that. He appealed to the politicians and the politicians helped him. 

And did they ever help him.

Here are the questions that still need to be answered. 

How did Dover Samuels get to know William Yan and why did he go into bat so strongly for him? 

Why, after Rick Barker was introduced to Yan in 2005, did he take until mid-2008 to hand the case over to

What checks did Shane Jones make to see whether he had a conflict of interests in this case? We point out in the story that there is a shared business history between Jones and Liu. Liu was a director, and through his company Live Fish, a shareholder in the joint venture Crabco. One of the other shareholders was Te Ohu Kaimoana of which Jones was chair between 2000 and 2007. 

Now I am prepared to accept that this was a fact that Jones may not have had great interest or even awareness of. But did he check? Was it considered? We know that he knew of Liu’s role with Crabco and Live Fish because it was in the submission that QC John Billington made to Jones pleading the case for Liu’s citizenship. 

Pansy Wong also mentions the company, which she describes as a “joint venture with Talleys, Sealord and Sanford” in a letter received by Rick Barker’s office on February 4, 2008. 

David Shearer has said on Jones’ behalf that Jones had met Liu on one or two occasions. In what capacity? And why did the Internal Affairs official Johannes Gambo claim that Liu had rung him more than once during the process to claim that he had “big support” from Jones and from Samuels. 

It all looks very suspicious. Did Liu have a commitment from Jones he would approve it? Is that why Barker delegated it to Jones? And recall that Liu had paid $10,000 to a Labour Party fundraiser to help him with his application – and whose brother was the senior staffer for Jones.

The greatest mystery to me is why Jones approved the citizenship application and did so without documenting his reasons. 

He says he made a file note of an official telling him that Yan would be sent to his death and his organs harvested if he returned to China. 

Jones hasn’t produced the note and says he didn’t put it on the file. Why not? There are hand written notes from Jones on Parliamentary notepad paper in the file we saw. But not that one. 

He says he’s glad he didn’t put it on the file because the file “leaked”. But if you were a Minister making a controversial decision against the advice of officials wouldn’t you want your reasons to be there in black and white when the scrutiny came on? 

I don’t think it is unreasonable to suspect there was no file note ever made, and the reason is bogus. Jones can not produce the note, and it was not put on the file. He can not name the official, and no official can be found who said they gave such advise.

The worst case scenario is this is a case of citizenship sold for favours (not to Jones directly but to others in Labour). The best case for Jones is it is gross incompetence. To not do a comprehensive file note stating your reasons when you overturn the advice of officials and grant citizenship to such a dubious character is incompetent.

I personally like Shane Jones, and regard him as one of the best communicators in Parliament. He had great potential. But this Liu case has always hung over him. Unless he can produce some proof to back up his claims about why he granted citizenship against official advice – then he can not be allowed to become a Minister again – and hence a shadow Minister.

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18 Responses to “Espiner on Liu”

  1. tvb (4,509 comments) says:

    This gets murkier and murkier. I do not believe Jones acted on his own but was ordered to act. It has the makings of a first class scandal. I believe the Labour party will want Jones to take one for the team. But Jones may not see it that way. I have no confidence this matter will get fully looked into. This country does not investigate scandals with any diligence.

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  2. wreck1080 (3,961 comments) says:

    Politicians and people must have benefited indirectly or directly from this guys wallet.

    I cannot think of any other reason why they someone would advocate so strongly for some geezer who walks in off the street with no credentials.

    Corrupt corrupt corrupt.

    I want a police investigation!!

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  3. campit (467 comments) says:

    The thing I couldn’t understand is how Liu was found innocent of fraud in relation to the immigration documents because he didn’t fill them in himself. But surely he would have signed them as being true and correct?

    And there is a clear conflict of interest with Shane Te Pou (Dover Samuel’s campaign manager) being paid $5,000 to assist with the immigration process. Is he actually an immigration consultant? Was there an invoice produced for this service? In the doco it said this money was paid back, but why would you pay it back if, wearing your hat as an immigration consultant, you were successful?

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  4. kowtow (8,763 comments) says:

    Do we really know who any of the refugees in this country are?

    Massive scams going on all over the shop.

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  5. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    The whole thing smells dodgy.

    As Dover Samuels said on the programme “It’s all on the file.” Yes it is – both the information and the glaring holes (Shane Jones’s absent file note being just one.)

    What likelihood that this act of merely trying to help a consitituent will actually be fully investigated?

    [BTW, it appeared that Dover was wearing a Mana Party cap during part of the programme – has he turned his back on his old party?]

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  6. tvb (4,509 comments) says:

    The media should mOve along. There is nothing to see here. Jones is being picked on. (yeah right)

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  7. Paulus (2,662 comments) says:

    Smellier and Smellier !

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  8. hj (7,066 comments) says:

    This reminds me of the dilemma where someone pays you a lot of money to push a button, but you don’t know what the button does.

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  9. Keeping Stock (10,429 comments) says:

    Jones is pretty obviously the sacrificial lamb for Labour in this whole turgid affair. Dover Samuels came across far worse on the 60 Minutes programme than even John Banks, and would appear to be in this mess up to the brim of his infamous hat.

    It’s little wonder that the “Shane Jones to resign” stock in iPredict roared into life last week going from $0.20 to over $0.70. Why would he stay on with a pack of time-servers who have thrown him to the wolves?

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  10. liarbors a joke (1,069 comments) says:

    This whole saga has a repulsive odour to it. It doesnt surprise me the least that liarbor members are involved in something corrupt…again.
    They really are unfit to lead.

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  11. MH (813 comments) says:

    yer can put espiner on anything these days,it’s a shane but get dover it,samuels for some,share and shearer alike even if bill liu the belt.

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  12. backster (2,184 comments) says:

    Like CAMPIT I don’t see how he could beat the fraud charges. The announcer said the Judge explained that the prosecution hadn’t proved beyond all reasonable doubt that LUI understood what he had signed. There is no way the Prosecution could do that.That is in the mind of Lui. Surely its not sufficient for him or maybe even his lawyer to simply state that. His signature at the bottom is proof that he did understand, an at the very least one would expect he would have to call the person who filled the forms in to state that they filled them in without explaining to him why they filled them in with fraudulent information.
    The answer to all Espiner’s questions is MONEY almost certainly criminally obtained, and the only question remaining is who benefited, the individuals, or the Labour Party.

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  13. Zapper (1,027 comments) says:

    Poor Shane, he’ll now have Penny Bright, our brave anti-corruption campaigner, outside his office every second day.

    /sarcasm

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  14. Viking2 (11,565 comments) says:

    Is it possible do you think that there is a fishy type smell to this?
    Would it be another “love” story of secret commissions?
    Maybe it includes Prawns and all? Now that was never settled was it and we never did find out why Winston dinned with the alledged prawn theives.

    Much, much more to this than has been uncovered I’d reckon.
    Do the Auckland watersiders unload the prawn boats etc?

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  15. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    backster,

    Surely its not sufficient for him or maybe even his lawyer to simply state that.

    Actually it was for another chap recently. While I think this Liu thing is very dodgy indeed, I can see how it is possible that the Judge would say that

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  16. Manolo (14,060 comments) says:

    The stench of corruption (and Dover’s urine) is all over this sordid affair.

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  17. hj (7,066 comments) says:

    Labours ( and Bob Jone’s) Third World Solution
    Ireland’s economic miracle was driven by Germany. Under Labour, ours is being gifted by Communist China. The Germans sent money, the Chinese are sending people.

    http://www.gmi.co.nz/news/514/labours-third-world-solution.aspx

    In a study for the Government in 2006, the Productivity Commission modelled a 50 per cent increase in the skilled migration program (an increase that eventuated in subsequent years.) That substantial increase in skilled migration was projected to yield an estimated gain in annual per capita income of just 0.7 per cent ($320) and only after 20 years. It was swamped by other, domestic drivers of productivity growth. Moreover, most of the aggregate gain accrued to migrants themselves — the average incomes of the population existing in ‘year zero’ actually declined slightly.
    The finding that the effects are generally small is similar to that of previous studies, both here and overseas. There are two, commonsense, reasons for it:
    First, the ‘flow’ of (extra) migrants is small relative to the ‘stock’ of the existing population and labour force.
    Second, the forces that determine the effects on the incomes of the existing population often offset each other, and some of the effects wash out in the long run.
    It is also a fallacy that higher immigration counteracts population ageing. Beyond an annual immigration level of around 100 000 people, the demographic benefits have been shown to diminish greatly, with migrants impacting much more on the size of the population than on its age structure. The main reason is that migrants age too! We would need to bring in increasingly more of them to ‘backfill’ the age structure over time. Indeed, the Commission calculated that to preserve the current age profile of the population, the immigration-to-population ratio would need to rise to three per cent (triple its peak of 2008-9). This would make Australia a population ‘super-power’ of 100+ million people by mid-century!
    http://www.pc.gov.au/research/conference-proceedings/sustainable-population

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  18. hj (7,066 comments) says:

    (NZ) Productivity Commision:

    We recommend that you:
    a agree to the inquiry selection process set out in Appendix 1
    Agree/disagree
    b agree that Commission’s second tranche of inquiries be selected on the degree that
    they:
    are relatively uncontroversial given the desire to establish broad political support* for the Commission
    http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/informationreleases/productivitycommission/pdfs/t2011-2000.pdf

    * National Labour Greens United Future are pro immigration and don’t want to be embarrassed. Also the news media will stay hush.

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