Cunliffe’s secret trust

March 4th, 2014 at 12:58 pm by David Farrar

Just imagine the howls of outrage from left wing commentators if the successful winner of a National Party leadership race was found out to have used a secret trust for donations from businesses to fund their leadership campaign. Their outrage would be massive. As far as I can see, No Right Turn is the only left commentator to have said anything at all on Cunliffe’s secret trust.

The Herald reports:

has admitted a trust was used to take donations for his leadership campaign, allowing him to sidestep the obligation to disclose donations in the MPs’ register of financial interests.

So the public will never know who funded his successful leadership campaign. These donations were not to a political party, but effectively to the MP personally to pay for their leadership campaign.

Mr Cunliffe said his campaign team opted to use a trust because the Labour Party’s rules for the contest specified donations would be confidential. “That is a decision we made as a campaign team at the time, pursuant to the rules which meant donors could have an expectation of confidentiality.”

Asked if he was trying to hide something he said “not at all. That has been common practice in New Zealand.”

Neither Grant Robertson or Shane Jones used a trust. And while trusts have been used previously in wider political terms, they have been outlawed for general elections and local body elections (can still be used but donors to the trust must be revealed so donor identities can not be hidden). And the party that has campaigned loudest and strongest for outlawing these trusts – Labour. Cunliffe himself has railed in Parliament against the use of secret trusts, yet here he is defending his own one/

By deadline, Mr Cunliffe had not responded to further written questions about whether he knew the names of donors who had given to the trust, or whether he had included individual donations in his return to the Labour Party under its rules.

That’s a fascinating question. I suspect that Cunliffe does know the donors (especially if family members are trustees of the trust, which is what I have heard) and has revealed them to the party. He is just refusing to reveal them to Parliament despite the requirement in Standing Orders to do so.

What surprises me about this is the political idiocy in using a trust to hide donations. When he decided to run for leader and someone proposed setting up a secret trust to launder the donations through, did none of his advisors think or say “Hey, that may not be a good idea, we could look a bit hypocritical”.

Equally surprising is Labour’s response to this is to focus on the legality, not the politics. The brand damage to Cunliffe from having a secret trust for his donations is considerable. It neuters Labour on any issues of transparency. If I was an advisor to Cunliffe I’d be saying “Why don’t we ask the donors if they are happy to be named”. I imagine most donors would be happy to do so. Shane Jones received donations and he has stated his are included in his Register of Pecuniary Interests.

Getting permission from the donors seems the obvious thing to do, to defuse this. The fact they are refusing to do so, despite the political cost, makes you wonder why. I can only conclude that they believe revealing the identities of the donors would do more political damage than keeping them hidden.

UPDATE: Labour are in full retreat now. Cunliffe now says using the trust was an error in judgement. No shit Sherlock. Why did it take so long to work that out. Two donors are refusing to be named, and their donations are being returned. Named donors include Selwyn Pellett (owner of “independent” Scoop News), Tony Gibbs and Perry Keenan. Keenan appears to be a colleague from Boston Consulting Group now based in Chicago. I presume Tony Gibbs is the company director.

UPDATE2: Just returning the anonymous donations doesn’t avoid the need for transparency. Maybe they’ll just donate the money to Labour now instead. At the end of the day the donations were made in the last calendar year and should be disclosed in his Register of Pecuniary Interests – even if refunded this year. And you have to wonder why those two donors are so desperate not to be named? How embarrassing would it be if their names were disclosed.I can only assume the answer is greatly, if they are being refunded.

UPDATE3:

mickysavage

 

This is hilarious. Attack National for secret trusts (which were wound up in 2007 by the way) and then go and set up a secret trust for your own leader to hide the donations to his leadership campaign. Again, how did no one think this was a bad idea?

The number of “errors” by David Cunliffe is growing. Off memory it includes:

  • The secret trust for donors
  • Getting the details wrong for the baby bonus and a false advertisement
  • Claiming he had  a”middle range existence”
  • Breaking the law by encouraging people to vote Labour on the day of Chch East by-election
  • Including details in his CV that were inaccurate

I leave the last word to Danyl Mclauchlan:

 

Imagine what it would be like if they were running the country!

UPDATE4: Idiot/Savant at no Right Turn quotes Cunliffe:

“I don’t think in hindsight that a trust structure fully represented the values I would like to bring to this leadership. Decisions that were made to set up the trust could have been better. I have learned form that and am now making sure I do whatever I can to ensure transparency.”

Idiot/Savant comments in turn:

Which is just sociopathic “sorry I got caught” bullshit. The thing about values is that you live them, and they’re instinctive. Cunliffe’s aren’t. When faced with a choice between transparency and corruption-enabling secrecy, he chose the latter, and then tried to cling to that choice when it was questioned. These are not the actions of an ethical man who believes in open politics – they are the actions of someone trying to get away with something they know is wrong. 

I’m sorry I got caught!

Tags: ,

103 Responses to “Cunliffe’s secret trust”

  1. big bruv (14,211 comments) says:

    Might a fat German be one of the donors?

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 34 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. dave_c_ (225 comments) says:

    Bloody typical – there are rules for thee, and rules for me
    “How dare you question my ehtic”
    What a prick

    Vote: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Bovver (173 comments) says:

    And/or UTU

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. JMS (367 comments) says:

    Three more terms.

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. thedavincimode (6,890 comments) says:

    Surely the referee needs to step in and stop the fight.

    This isn’t sport any more – it’s out and out brutality and Viscount Cunners, home renovator of Herne Bay, is pummelling himself into the canvas.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 41 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    This “Tojo” is showing more arrogance than Clark, and he is only in opposition. He is being ably supported by Fairfax, and APN to a lesser degree, leaving the topic alone. Did he receive funding from the obese German crim, or was it McCarten’s union associates, in order to get him his latest position?

    Vote: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Souvlaki (48 comments) says:

    A SERIOUS indictment on the ‘moral compass’ of Labour and the left in general. I know I shouldn’t be, but I continue to be gobsmacked by their rank hypocrisy, and particularly by the stupidity of their supporters for not having the honesty ( in general ) to even acknowledge a problem !

    One is left with the lasting impression the ‘left’ are in the true sense, retarded intellectually :-(

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Harriet (5,199 comments) says:

    It’s plainly fucken obvious that the Greens are also doing it…….as Wussle would have caned Cunliffe over the matter by now so as to get some of his voters.

    Afterall, Labour have been trying hard-out over the last couple of weeks in getting Green votes.

    Vote: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. eszett (2,450 comments) says:

    The fact they are refusing to do so, despite the political cost, makes you wonder why. I can only conclude that they believe revealing the identities of the donors would do more political damage than keeping them hidden.

    Begs an interesting question: Who would be politically more damaging if revealed? And to whom? Cunliffe or the donors themselves?

    The list cannot be very long.
    Dotcom does seem an obvious candidate.

    But who else?

    Vote: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. RRM (10,097 comments) says:

    Imagnng what might happen if… can be a lot of fun ;-)

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. kiwi in america (2,314 comments) says:

    Yep pretty stupid own goal by Labour. In politics if its a choice between a conspiracy or a cock up, its almost always a cock up. Cunliffe has form when it comes to cock ups. I’m picking Greg Presland and his other supporters were so swept up in the euphoria of knowing the unions backed them in the primary that they just never gamed this out.

    If revealing the donors is indeed more damaging than this very bad look, brand damage and neutering of the transparency issue then DPF is right, the donors will be very embarrassing. If its the Unite union then the McCarten appointment will be seen as a corrupt. And if its the fat German, well…..there’s not enough popcorn to go around on that scenario! Oh and if Cunliffe holds out, there’s the political damage from the hypocrisy AND the speculation as to who he’s protecting.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Nigel Kearney (1,094 comments) says:

    It’s important that people are able to donate anonymously. Helen Clark’s government was very aggressive in punishing any business that supported their opponents whereas businesses that have backed Labour have not been subject to any retaliation by National. So this idea of ‘transparency’ is actually very beneficial to Labour because it means people are putting their business and/or career at risk if they support any other party.

    If this trust received money and spent it on Cunliffe’s leadership campaign but Cunliffe did not gain personally, then it should not be in the register of pecuniary interests. Of course he gained in a sense by becoming the party leader, but if that is the standard then every dollar donated to Labour would have to be put in the register for every single Labour MP and the same for other parties.

    The hypocrisy accusations are correct though.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. Rick Rowling (816 comments) says:

    Yeah, we’ll crucify Banks, Brash & the National Party over secret donations.

    Nah, we don’t have a problem with Cunlippes secret donations.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 34 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. J Bloggs (251 comments) says:

    Never mind Unite…what would it say if it came out that the CTU and PSA had financially backed Cunliffe substantially but not done the same with Robertson or Jones….

    Vote: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. itstricky (2,020 comments) says:

    Yeah, we’ll crucify Banks, Brash & the National Party over secret donations.

    Speaking of which, whatever happened with that? I do not see Banks’ name on KB anymore… …only Labour (check the graphic on the side bar, Labour is twice the size of National). I wonder why.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 21 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. twofish (107 comments) says:

    Is there any mention in Parliament rules on donations to members that specifically covers the so-called leaders “primaries” as adopted by Labour, which I understood to be an “innovation” by them?

    Or does money donated to the three contenders fall under whatever rules exist for Members receiving financial contributions outside of an Election campaign?

    Is Cunliffe in Contempt under Standing Orders 401 [g] [h] ?

    Vote: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Linda Reid (341 comments) says:

    Nigel, I agree that people need to be able to donate anonymously – the problem here is that most of us seem to think Cunliffe knows who the donors are. Therefore not it’s not anonymous and should be disclosed. We need to know who he’s got some kind of debt to. If he does not know then he has no kind of obligation so fair enough.

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Lindsay Addie (1,332 comments) says:

    I’m waiting for Winston to get ‘outraged’ over this…………

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    If its the Unite union then the McCarten appointment will be seen as a corrupt.

    McCarten was shown last night (3 News) saying Unite didn’t donate to Cunliffe, and that they don’t donate to political parties.

    Unite are not an affiliate union so didn’t participate in the Labour leadership voting.

    Regardless of that they do contribute to political campaigns – Unite is a “Cornerstone Supporter” of The Daily Blog which has a stated idetermination to have a Labour led left wing government elected.

    Vote: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    Labour’s affiliates were instrumental in getting Cunliffe elected as leader. From Wikipedia:

    There are still six unions that are directly affiliated to the party and pay affiliation fees. These unions are:
    Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU)
    Service & Food Workers Union (SFWU)
    Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ)
    New Zealand Dairy Workers Union (NZDWU)
    New Zealand Meat & Related Trades Workers Union (NZMWU)
    Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU)

    In addition, the president of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions continues to speak at the Labour Party Annual Conference

    They all have voting rights.

    I don’t think there’s any evidence of any of them making donations to any of the candidates but due to Cunliffe’s secrecy they are all possible reasons not revealing who the donations were from.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. RF (1,487 comments) says:

    Cunning Cunners reeks of hypocricy.. His caucus must be in free fall trying to avoid the fallout from this disaster.

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. markm (117 comments) says:

    Labour have hounded John Banks out of parliament and supported criminal charges against him , for receiving a donation into a trust which he claimed not to know who put it their.

    Cunliffe received “donations” into a trust and claims not to know who put them their .

    Banks was taking donations for a mayoral campaign
    Cunliffe was taking donations for leadership of the party that’s wants to lead the country and make Cunliffe Prime Minister.

    According to Labour Banks actions were criminal.

    What does that make Cunliffes actions.
    Add this to Cunliffes prospective deputy PM Normans , law selling activities with Dotcom and we are likely to have a left wing government that will be the most unethical dishonest Government in history

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (899 comments) says:

    Neh – nothing will happen. National is lazy and always not willing to expose Labour’s corruption or ask questions about this in Parliament. Except NZ Herald, no other media outlet has taken this up. This story will go away and Cunliffe will walk away free…..

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Sir Cullen’s Sidekick (422 comments) says:
    March 4th, 2014 at 9:07 am
    Neh – nothing will happen. National is lazy and always not willing to expose Labour’s corruption or ask questions about this in Parliament.

    And I suspect there is a very good reason why they don’t ask those questions… pot kettle and all that… I think historically there is a lot of funding that neither side of the house really wants dragged up. One can only point the finger if their own is squeaky clean and one would have to be pretty naive to believe that any of our political parties have an absolute untarnished funding history.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 19 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. kiwi in america (2,314 comments) says:

    Thanks for the TV3 heads up PG

    There is a difference between the affiliate unions’ votes and their possible donations. It’s true that the unions’ votes gave Cunliffe the wining edge he needed to break the effective tie between the party and the caucus. What we don’t know is to what extent unions contributed financially to his campaign thus further deepening the ties and adding strength to the meme that he’s in the pocket of the unions.

    You’d have to take McCarten at his word that Unite did not donate. But what if they did and McCarten fudged because of the shield provided by the trust? If that were true and it got out, goodbye Matt and even more damaging fallout for Cunners.

    Vote: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. david (2,194 comments) says:

    You can look at this in one of two ways.
    Either:
    You believe in privacy and that donations should be legitimately made anonymously. This makes Cunnliffe an absolute hypocrite for his previous statements demanding transparency as a mechanism to frighten off National Party donors with the implied threat of retribution “when” the time comes.

    or:
    You believe in transparency and the right of the public to know who is supporting a particular political party or candidate (never mind that my vote should and must remain absolutely private). This makes Cunnliffe an absolute hypocrite for utilising a mechanism that hides the identity of his donors in spite of his previous statements supporting transparency as a mechanism to frighten off National )Party donors with the implied threat of retribution …. etc etc. Especially so for someone who has a “Fat Tony” complex and has a willingness to “do whatever is necessary …”

    It cannot be escaped, fudged spun or made into a silk purse, … Cunnliffe is a hypocrite by his own actions and needs to be accountable for his actions/statements.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Linda Reid (382 comments) says:
    March 4th, 2014 at 8:44 am

    Good points, but we need to know that for all parties, not just labour. We should know who ALL our representatives are indebted to.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. Colville (2,318 comments) says:

    Why the fuck are the Nats not calling an early election?

    Do they think Cun*liffe will keep shooting himself in the feet and he will be too lame/wounded to walk by October?

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    Why the fuck are the Nats not calling an early election?

    Because Key has always committed himself to full terms and to not playing politics with election dates.

    Vote: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. Prince (109 comments) says:

    Brilliant strategy from National to fund Cunliffe’s campaign.
    Win-Win.
    We get him as Labour leader, then skewer him on the trust.

    Vote: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. Sofia (856 comments) says:

    As questioned above (twofish, 8:41), was the American-style Labour leadership “primary” over three weeks, ever covered by Standing Orders at all, or are any donations – trust or otherwise – covered by rules applying outside of Elections, and are they even legal?

    I thought paying a Member of Parliament to say something in particular, or to adopt a stance in your interests outside an Election campaign, was corruption.

    Vote: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. niggly (832 comments) says:

    The brand damage to Cunliffe from having a secret trust for his donations is considerable

    Yes, John Key nailed Cunliffe’s coffin down further on Morning Report this morning and I’m sure any (non-partisan Labour) listener would have agreed this all looks dodgy, reinforced by the fact that RNZ stated that Cunliffe was approached for comment but declined.

    Oh dear, not a good strategy Cunliffe/McCarten …

    http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/mnr/mnr-20140304-0737-key_calls_on_cunliffe_to_fess_up_about_donations-048.mp3

    Vote: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. burt (7,423 comments) says:

    Sofia

    I thought paying a Member of Parliament to say something in particular, or to adopt a stance in your interests outside an Election campaign, was corruption.

    Only when National do it – It’s different when Labour do it !

    Vote: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. beautox (409 comments) says:

    So according to the silent T, it’s OK to make your own rules in your own little club that override parliament’s rules.

    In that case my family have just decided that we have a rule that prevents us from paying any income tax.

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    @avancenz

    Selwyn Pellett has told Fairfax Media that he was donor to David Cunliffe’s leadership fund @NZStuffPolitics

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. Nostalgia-NZ (5,317 comments) says:

    Hate to ask an obvious question, is there any evidence at all the Cunliffe hasn’t asked the donors if they wish to remain anonymous. If he has, and the question would be possibly offensive to them on the basis that they donated understanding they were to remain anonymous, he might have received a sharp response that it wasn’t on the basis the donations were made. Nigel Kearney makes the point that Cunliffe didn’t benefit personally. I haven’t read it thoroughly but isn’t Cunliffe’s position that the donations were legal, that he didn’t benefit personally from them and they were made on the basis of being anonymous.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. Nigel Kearney (1,094 comments) says:

    Look, this is very simple:

    The suggestion that donations from the private sector should be disclosed is an extreme pro-Labour position because they will retaliate against National’s donors and National will not retaliate against theirs.

    The idea that elections should be entirely public funded is even worse because Labour has no money, and people who do have money generally also have a pretty good grasp on how the economy works and so would rather donate to other parties.

    The best solution is that anyone can donate completely anonymously to any campaign. The actions of politicians should be judged on their merits and we don’t need to know who gave them money in order to do that. It’s also consistent with freedom of expression. Or you could apply the Zimbabwe test, i.e. what would happen to the opposition in Zimbabwe if they had to make public the identity of all their supporters.

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. Keeping Stock (9,371 comments) says:

    Selwyn Pellett’s self-outing is damaging in other ways, given that Pellett is the controlling shareholder of Scoop Media Limited, which claims to be “the leading independent news publication in New Zealand” and to “value our independence strongly”.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    @CTrevettNZH

    Cunliffe has named 3 donors who were willing to go public, including Selwyn Pellett, Tony Gibbs. will return donations of 2 others who won’t

    Also Cunliffe got donation from Perry Keenan. Cunliffe says didn’t know donors names till recently. Says using trust was error in judgment.

    It’s taken Cunliffe two days to admit that. He must be copping some flak from uncomfortable places.

    Vote: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. Nostalgia-NZ (5,317 comments) says:

    Smart to pull out isn’t it Pete George?

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. Prince (109 comments) says:

    …So National get their money back.
    Win-Win-Win.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  42. Kimble (3,955 comments) says:

    The best solution is that anyone can donate completely anonymously to any campaign.

    How about this?

    Everyone DOES donate anonymously, but into a single trust which then distributes to the nominated campaign.

    You could even break up the amounts into random chunks and disperse the funds at random times to further obscure the source.

    “Hey! I donated to your campaign!”

    “Really? Yeah right! Everyone says that!”

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  43. artemisia (268 comments) says:

    Personal benefit – Mr Cunliffe will have got a substantial pay rise for being leader. That’s a personal benefit.

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  44. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    Ironically at The Standard, just under Bunji’s post How short are memories? defending Cunliffe is a repost of Rob Salmond with Polity: Three ramshackle PR fiascos and you’re out. Salmond was referring to the Taxpayers’ Union, not Labour but…

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  45. smttc (767 comments) says:

    What the hell is Tony Gibbs doing donating to a guy who is anti-business?

    Vote: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  46. peterwn (3,332 comments) says:

    Strange that these rich guys want to commit financial hari kiri by supporting David Cunliffe – but wait – perhaps they wanted the leader least likely to win the next election. If Labour gets in, they will be unwilling helpers in the campaign to redude inequality – but – they are perhaps too well set up tax wise and know how to make big money out of disruptive political changes.

    Vote: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  47. david (2,194 comments) says:

    Presumably there will be a raid on the “Leader’s Budget” to refund the two donations made by donors who don’t want to be outed.

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  48. Grant (286 comments) says:

    From Claire Trevett:
    “Cunliffe has named 3 donors who were willing to go public, including Selwyn Pellett, Tony Gibbs. will return donations of 2 others who won’t”

    Will we get to see the receipts from the returned donations?

    Also, surely the original donations were spent during the so called “primary”. So can Cunliffe give an assurance that the refunds to the donors will not be made from their parliamentary budget, but, rather, from labour party funds?
    G

    Vote: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  49. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,703 comments) says:

    “What surprises me about this is the political idiocy in using a trust to hide donations”

    Why are you surprised? You’re dealing with a political idiot.

    Vote: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  50. ShawnLH (6,565 comments) says:

    That was a nice bit of work from Key on RNZ. Calling him “tricky David Cunliffe” was brilliant, and he did a good job of making Cunliffe look decidedly shady. He needs to keep the fire under Cunliffe’s feet over this.

    More popcorn please! :)

    Vote: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  51. wreck1080 (3,999 comments) says:

    damage already done.

    whenever cunliffe tries to point the finger at anyone this will come back to haunt him.

    Vote: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  52. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    It’s always amusing to see the words “Cunliffe” and “trust” in the same sentence.
    Even more so when “trust” is the “trust fund” type of trust.

    Vote: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  53. lolitasbrother (774 comments) says:

    haya, off topic following, but mostly about the Integrity of Cunliffe.
    He is a disaster walking.
    I had reason to question the Kiwi Insurance Company, Cunliffe proposed .
    There has been no analysis, no costings. they don’t know what an underwriter is. forget it,
    everyone says it was just a slogan.
    Cunliffe already has forgotten what he said yesterday , there are new slogans out tomorrow.
    We love this man, its incredible how stupid he is .
    Stupidity is forgivable, it is born, but lack of integrity and honesty is not good .
    Cunliffe has dishonesty and lack of Integrity.
    We can look forward to NZ Nat Government 2014.
    Not everything is as we would wish, all of us could tell the Government some things they need to know.
    I was hoping some leadership on the Home Insurance dilemma in Christchurch,
    but sadly no leaders.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  54. nickb (3,696 comments) says:

    Labour seems to be slowly reducing the amount of issues they can credibly campaign on.

    Government transparency? Leader uses secret trusts (as do most of Labour’s MPs – see pecuniary interests register)

    Tax avoidance? Leader’s chief advisor is a tax cheat

    National’s “big business” influence? One of NZ’s richest men having clandestine meetings with Cunliffe & Norman in appraent negotiations for political favours.

    Industrial relations? Most of NZ’s redundancies stem from staff laid off as a result Labour’s continually changing leadership. Andrew Little and Brenda Pilott constantly berating retail and food employees for bad service on twitter (#firstworldproblems)

    Economic nous: Russell Norman as Minister of Finance (enough said), can’t even get a $60/week baby bonus right, Chavez-style nationalisation of electricity network

    “Common man” touch: Leader comes off as a arrogant toff with a god complex, lives in NZ’s most expensive street in a $2.5m mansion, then claims it is a do-up and only purchased for breastfeeding purposes (WTF?)

    What do they actually campaign on in 2014?

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  55. lolitasbrother (774 comments) says:

    I think it is reasonable now to see Cunliffe as a weakling, and that the next shot Labour will have is 2017.
    I know there are new people coming into NZ Nat this year.
    This is a good chance for long term planning.
    We have no Senators or President to bow toward, and this is to our advantage

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  56. RRM (10,097 comments) says:

    Named donors include Selwyn Pellett (owner of “independent” Scoop News)

    [SNIP]

    That will be a good one to keep for the scrapbook! :-)

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  57. burt (7,423 comments) says:

    Labour continue to show disregard for the law and principles. Oh… So we may have broken the law accepting donations into a secret trust … We’ll return the money…..

    That guy caught shoplifting … If he just goes back to the shop and returns the things he stole then he didn’t commit an offence – right ?

    Vote: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  58. thedavincimode (6,890 comments) says:

    whenever cunliffe tries to point the finger at anyone this will come back to haunt him

    Recent events suggest that this phenomenon occurs because he has just withdrawn his finger from his arse in order to point it.

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  59. david (2,194 comments) says:

    Makes one want to muse on wider things. Is BCG’s cred taking a hit now that one of their wunderkids turns out to be a bumbling fool who gets his jollies by telling people what they want to hear rather than the brutal truth? His experience with the firm does show through in that in my experience they were always stronger on reports and methodology rather than meaningful deliverables.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  60. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    “I don’t think in hindsight that a trust structure fully represented the values I would like to bring to this leadership. Decisions that were made to set up the trust could have been better. I have learned form that and am now making sure I do whatever I can to ensure transparency.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11213703&ref

    Another regret in hindsight.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  61. david (2,194 comments) says:

    PG – He has pinched Lyen Len Brown’s script – almost word for word.

    Vote: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  62. RF (1,487 comments) says:

    You just cannot make this shit up. What a plonker… I would love to be a fly on the wall during the next Labour caucus meeting..
    Time to order a container load of popcorn.

    Vote: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  63. david (2,194 comments) says:

    I withdraw my suggestion that Camp Cunnliffe would raid the Leader’s Budget to refund to his anonymouse donors. He has apparently said that he would pay them back from his own pocket. At least one shred of decency apparently.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  64. KiwiGreg (3,278 comments) says:

    What on earth did he spend the money on?

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  65. kiwi in america (2,314 comments) says:

    Perhaps Graeme Edgeler can weigh in on the statutory obligations Cunliffe has to report the returned donations for his 2013 Pecuniary Interests Register return.

    Vote: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  66. Roflcopter (466 comments) says:

    LOL @ Greg Presland setting up the trust.

    Vote: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  67. Commentor (11 comments) says:

    “He said his former electorate chair, Greg Presland, was the main trustee of the trust. His wife, Karen, had also assisted in the campaign and was involved in discussions to set up the trust, but was not a trustee. He said he was not personally either a trustee or a beneficary of the trust, but it was used to pay his campaign debts.”

    I was under the impression that only named beneficiaries of a trust, may benefit from a trust.

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  68. Fisiani (1,051 comments) says:

    People were asked by Team Cunliffe to pay money to a secret trust to get The Cunliffe made leader. Hardly anyone actually likes The Cunliffe so this money was a fee for services to be rendered when he became PM.
    What has the Cunliffe promised his backers and yet not disclosed to NZ?
    Who are his mysterious benefactors to whom he owes a favour.
    Did UNITE union pay money to The Cunliffe to get Matt McCarten made Chief of Staff?
    Was the UNITE money the reason that The Cunliffe is promising their members $15 a hour and $16 within 6 months.
    How much did Crim Dot Com pay The Cunliffe to avoid extradition?
    What other debts to the unions and secret payers is The Cunliffe hiding?

    Vote: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  69. nickb (3,696 comments) says:

    LOL @ Greg Presland setting up the trust.

    What else but disaster could you expect from getting a Henderson bush lawyer to set up a secret political slush fund…

    Vote: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  70. Duxton (658 comments) says:

    “I don’t think in hindsight that a trust structure fully represented the values I would like to bring to this leadership. Decisions that were made to set up the trust could have been better. I have learned form that and am now making sure I do whatever I can to ensure transparency.”

    I believe that’s Labour-ese for: “I got caught.”

    Vote: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  71. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    What on earth did he spend the money on?

    They were on the State payroll and could have their Parliamentary travel and accommodation but that was brought up at the time and I think they said they would pay their own accommodation.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  72. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    Clarification – taxpayer funded travel, they said they would pay their own accommodation.

    The three contenders for the Labour leadership have confirmed taxpayers are stumping up for the cost of them flying around the country to pitch for votes.

    Labour MPs are also likely to charge their flights to the taxpayer for attending any of the 12 candidates meetings planned around the country over the next two weeks.

    The three contenders – Grant Robertson, David Cunliffe and Shane Jones – confirmed they would use the travel perk to campaign over the next two weeks.

    But they will pay for all their other expenses, such as accommodation, out of their own pockets.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9091759/Labour-leadership-campaign-you-re-paying

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  73. Paulus (2,707 comments) says:

    Sending his “Donation Bribe” (after the event) back to DotCrim will help him pay some of his bills.

    And they hound John Banks for doing the same thing.

    Hypocrisy unbound

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  74. twofish (107 comments) says:

    And you have to wonder why those two donors are so desperate not to be named? How embarrassing would it be if their names were disclosed. I can only assume the answer is greatly, if they are being refunded.

    And still Cunliffe doesn’t know who these trusted / anonymous people are?

    If, under Standing Orders donations should be disclosed, how much more should donations be notified, that are apparently inappropriate to acknowledge their having being made?

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  75. Pete George (23,793 comments) says:

    @dpfdpf

    What bad timing for Labour/Cunliffe. By chance the No 2 Government bill due for debate today is the Electoral Amendment Bill.

    If Cunliffe avoids the debate I’m sure his colleagues will really enjoy copping his flak.

    But he’s in the firing line from the start:

    Questions to Ministers
    1. Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his statement “our approach is to put everyday New Zealanders at the heart of everything the Government does, so we organise services around them”?

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  76. beautox (409 comments) says:

    At least the fat German will be able to pay some of those bills he owes. Or, more likely, spend it on self-promotion.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  77. peterwn (3,332 comments) says:

    All John Key needs to do is to try and change standing orders so that party leaders also face questions at question time.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  78. s.russell (1,649 comments) says:

    I am reminded of Mayor Quimby on The Simpsons, announcing:

    “I admit I used ratepayers money to fund the assassination of my political enemies. I’m a naughty little boy!”

    Quimby is then re-elected in a landslide.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  79. J Bloggs (251 comments) says:

    And you have to wonder why those two donors are so desperate not to be named? How embarrassing would it be if their names were disclosed. I can only assume the answer is greatly, if they are being refunded.

    And still Cunliffe doesn’t know who these trusted / anonymous people are?

    If he doesn’t know who they are, how the hell is he going to give them their refunds?

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  80. Ryan Sproull (7,360 comments) says:

    Decisions that were made to set up the trust could have been better. I have learned form that and am now making sure I do whatever I can to ensure transparency.

    No, you demonstrated that you are the kind of person who sets up trusts to avoid transparency. That’s not a mistake. It’s an expression of your character.

    Vote: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  81. davidp (3,585 comments) says:

    Shearer has his secret American bank account. Cunliffe has his secret trust. So did/does Peters. What is it about the Left and their secret money?

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  82. RF (1,487 comments) says:

    We must not forget that this poor excuse for an MP was receiving advice from Micky Presland who is obviously not up to speed with ethics and would not know one if it bit him in the arse. Thank god he is not my solicitor.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  83. SHG (321 comments) says:

    Out of the goodness of my heart I am here going to publish a valuable campaign document that will improve Labour’s 2014 election campaign by infinity percent. I encourage all Labour campaign staff to print this out and pin a copy to the back of every toilet door.

    —–

    1. Does the thing you are considering involve anonymous donations laundered through a trust? Y/N

    2. If you answered yes above, kill yourself.

    —–

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  84. Steve Wrathall (287 comments) says:

    In other news, David Cunliffe today pledged to remove an unsightly wreck.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  85. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    s.russell: Mayor Quimby, Lecher Len, “Tojo” Cunliffe, and Winston all have a lot in common.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  86. Barnsley Bill (848 comments) says:

    I cannot believe the biblical levels of mean spirited hate displayed in the comments above.

    You people need to take a long hard look at yourselves.
    Cunliffe has announced he will be refunding just north of 8000 dollars to the anonymong donors.
    Do you realise that 8000 bucks represents nearly an entire WEEKS household income for the Cunliffe family?
    No roast peacock or monkeys brain entrees at the manor this week and the downstairs staff may well have to select dinner wines from the cheap end of the Cellar.

    Vote: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  87. DJP6-25 (1,389 comments) says:

    I assume the ‘shield of sanctimony’ has already automatically deployed then.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  88. Nigel Kearney (1,094 comments) says:

    Let’s not forget that Len Brown funded his entire campaign through a trust to avoid declaring donors. John Key maintains that there is no conflict between his financial interests and his political role because his investments are through a ‘blind trust’ so he has no idea where his money is going.

    This whole ‘OMG he used a trust’ thing is quite new and there is more than a whiff of hysteria about it.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9 You need to be logged in to vote
  89. Barnsley Bill (848 comments) says:

    Nigel, the whiff of hysteria you sense is more likely to be hilarious piss taking. These fuckers have spent years railing against methods that they have ALWAYS been donkey deep into.
    In the last month we have seen silent T make gaffe after gaffe. Some of his own making and others due to being ankle tapped by his own team. But the very worst gaffe to me is his trying to hide his enormous wealth while trying to score points against somebody elses wealth.
    Key does not hide or apologise for his money. and neither should he.
    Cunliffe will say or do anything to be PM. The truth is but a speed bump to be driven over.

    Vote: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  90. Bovver (173 comments) says:

    “I don’t think in hindsight that a trust structure fully represented the values I would like to bring to this leadership.”
    David Cunliffe, NZH

    Humble pie never tasted so good.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  91. notrotsky (86 comments) says:

    Silent T and Gweg Pwesland two of the biggest spanners you could hope to come across.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  92. davidp (3,585 comments) says:

    Q. Who is the odd man out: David Cunliffe, Len Brown, John Banks, Winston Peters?

    A1. Although all of them took steps to hide the donors to their election campaigns, only John Banks has been charged with doing so.

    A2. John Banks is also the only right winger. Coincidence?

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  93. infused (583 comments) says:

    The more I read from MickySavage, the more I think he’s a retard. He’s the first to defend this sort of shit, then some how try to throw it back to National.

    No buddy, fuck off.

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  94. Barnsley Bill (848 comments) says:

    No, Brown hid his sky city and KDC money in a trust. Banks got a donation and simply failed to read everything properly after he had lost and signed off on the forms. Winston did not break the law. He just lied to parliament and then his Labour mates swallowed a dead rat and saved him.
    Cunliffe is just a weapons grade hypocrite who will continue to shoot one foot off himself while his enemies in caucus ankle tap the other leg.

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  95. hmmokrightitis (1,596 comments) says:

    infused: “The more I read from MickySavage, the more I think he’s a retard. He’s the first to defend this sort of shit, then some how try to throw it back to National.”

    No, dont stop him infused, its fun watching a bag man (should that be tea bag man?) take his weapon out, realise its a rubber chicken but STILL manage to shoot himself in the foot. Im waiting for the Road Runner noise and the TNT barrel to land on his head…

    Gweggy, dear boy, what did I tell you – stick with conveyancing. You’re not suited to activities that require intelligence. Really petal, surely thats obvious even to you right about now???

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  96. big bruv (14,211 comments) says:

    Duncan Garner has savaged Cuntliffe on his radio show. Do yourself a favour and go and have a listen.

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  97. notrotsky (86 comments) says:

    Garner is going back to his roots at Westlake… good on you Duncan give the pinkos hell.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  98. Duxton (658 comments) says:

    I know that others are saying that John Key is determined to go full term, but I’m hearing noises that would suggest an election over the July-August period………

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  99. RF (1,487 comments) says:

    It is so funny. When Labour are on a brief roll the standard is like a bee hive buzzing with excitement. I seem to remember the last time I heard this activity was when Cunning Cunliffe was selected.

    Now he is invisible after fucking up all over the place and is the elephant in the room. The standard has gone dead with Prentice only banning one victim per day. We have that useless prick Micky Savage lifting her skirts and running interference for her leader and providing shocking legal advice. The other 99% of the caucus is wishing like hell that Grant was in the chair.

    What a massive cluster fuck that can only get worse. There is a god….

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  100. Keeping Stock (9,371 comments) says:

    @Duxton – once the final electorate boundaries have been announced, candidate selection can happen. From that point, John Key is in control of the process.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  101. Mags (38 comments) says:

    With all of Cunliffes “oops my mistake” and “I’ll make sure that doesn’t happen again” does anyone really have any confidence at all in him being in a serious position of power? Anyone?

    Duncan Garner summed him up well, finishing with “is he a fake?” This must surely be the final straw. I’m surprised he doesn’t just chuck it in.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  102. Manolo (14,161 comments) says:

    I suspect the grossly obese German Dotcom could be one of the secret donors. Will we ever know?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  103. burt (7,423 comments) says:

    Manolo

    Well we should either find out when he follows the rules he himself voted to pass or he should wear the full consequences of not doing so. But, as we have seen so many times before – he’ll say move on, say he’s paid the money back and that will be the end of it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote