Pundits on Cunliffe

March 6th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

writes at Radio Live:

Labour Leader ’s apology for setting up a trust for his campaign donations baffles me. I can see why he’s done it. He wants the issue to go away. But it leaves just so many unanswered questions.

The big question for me is, who are the other donors? Is Kim Dotcom one? Or is it another fancy, wealthy businessman who is embarrassed to be linked to him? If not, who are the other two and why can’t we know?

They must be very embarrassing to demand their donations back rather than be named.

Cunliffe has only apologised to lance the boil; he’s only done it because he’s been caught red-handed and embarrassed. So, who is the real David Cunliffe? And why did he set up the trust in the first place?

Trusts are set up to either hide something, protect something or to give people and donors anonymity. In politics, that always draws attention. What on earth was Cunliffe thinking when he agreed for the trust to be set-up? This trust wasn’t set-up without his knowledge. He gave it the nod. Nothing happens in an MP’s life without their say-so.

As I said his apology is more than odd. He said: “I don’t think in hindsight that a trust structure fully represented the values I would like to bring to this leadership”. That is weird and simply doesn’t stack up. It looks like a fake apology to me. I actually don’t believe him.

Values don’t just appear issue by issue. Values and principles are things that guide you in your everyday life. Surely Cunliffe would have known by now if having a ‘trust’ represented his values. And a trust structure completely represents who David Cunliffe is. ..

David Cunliffe is a former high-flying business consultant – his wife is a top lawyer – they know how these things work. His friends are business people. His wife knew about it and kept all this secret. How on earth did she think they were going to get away with this approach? Their collective judgement on this is woeful.

Where was he when Labour rallied against National’s use of trusts to fund its many elections campaigns? It’s why Labour changed the law and brought in the Electoral Finance Law. Was he not in the Parliament at the time? No, he was there. Did he speak up against National’s use of secret trusts? Oh yes he did.

Labour politicians of all shapes and sizes criticised National for months for receiving secret money. Cunliffe was in there, boots-’n’-all. Trevor Mallard went further and claimed there was a ‘secret American bag-man.’ It was never proved.

I’ll never forget Labour climbing into National over electoral finances. Now Cunliffe looks like a complete hypocrite despite the apology. National has every right to pile into him on this. Just like Labour piled into National over secret trusts and campaign donations.

I’m starting to wonder just who Cunliffe is. What does he stand for? Is he anti-business or pro-business? Does he care about the poor? Or hang out with the rich? My big question really is this: Who is the real David Cunliffe?

Is he a fake?

A reasonable question.

John Armstrong also writes:

You could almost hear the “told you so” refrain that is never far away from the lips of David Cunliffe’s many detractors.

Those within the Labour Party who warned that electing him as leader would be a mistake may well feel vindicated. But they will take cold comfort from that.

You do wonder if there is the odd Labour Party activist who is now sitting back an saying ‘Hey maybe the MPs in my caucus are not a total bunch of idiots after all, and we should have listened to them”

That he cannot seem to stop his fingers hovering over the self-destruct button is no surprise to anyone who has watched him for any length of time. It is a great mystery why someone overly blessed with essential political attributes gets it wrong with such frequency.

Maybe it is overconfidence. Maybe it is an inability to see the line between being bold and being foolhardy. He got away with it when he held lower ranked positions in the Labour caucus. The role of Leader of the Opposition offers no escape from the spotlight.

This latest piece of bungling follows other gaffes this year including being badly caught out as to how many parents would actually qualify for Labour’s promise of a $60-a-week “baby bonus”.

Then there was the odd decision to ping John Key for residing in a “leafy suburb” when Cunliffe does likewise. On Saturday, he admitted on TV3′s The Nation that he had not made the best choice of words on that occasion.

That makes it two mea culpas in four days – not a pretty strike rate. It is one that could see Cunliffe being indelibly labelled as accident-prone; that everything he touches ends up backfiring on him and Labour’s less-than-solid poll ratings.

For my 2c I think it is over-confidence.

And finally people may enjoy a 30 second musical compilation from Newstalk ZB’s Laura McQuillan called “Tricky

 

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38 Responses to “Pundits on Cunliffe”

  1. Huevon (186 comments) says:

    My 2c is that it’s because he is a c*nt.

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  2. Paulus (2,500 comments) says:

    Just pure pseudo Socialist Hypocrisy.

    Keep it coming for New Zealand’s sake.

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  3. ShawnLH (3,295 comments) says:

    You wouldn’t know Cunliffe was in a any trouble at Stuff’s “news” site, which has two pol stories, both beat-ups on Key and Brownlee describing them as “slammed” and “humiliated in a very bizarre, over the top manner.

    Who runs Stuff again?

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  4. thedavincimode (6,531 comments) says:

    You do wonder if there is the odd Labour Party activist who is now sitting back an saying ‘Hey maybe even though the MPs in my caucus are not a total bunch of idiots after all, and we should have listened to them

    I think that’s what you meant to say.

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  5. Peter (1,578 comments) says:

    Is he a fake?

    Department of Redundancy Department called. They want their question back….

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  6. Nigel Kearney (864 comments) says:

    Someone with more talent than me needs to make up a song with the theme ‘He will always be tricky’ set to the music of Royals by Lorde.

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  7. Harriet (4,513 comments) says:

    “…..So, who is the real David Cunliffe?…”

    The new David, the old David, the new new David & Julia.

    Mr Craig and Mr Abbott are gay hating mysogynists.

    The Left is going to get a real hiding if the keep using the ALP handbook as a guide to winning elections.

    Afterall, it hasn’t done QLD any harm in not having any Greens MP’s and less than 10 Labour MP’s in their parliment. – Do Labour really think that National and the Conservatives are going to let that go unannounced?

    The electorate doesn’t know if Cunliffe is Arthur or Mather – or some fluid intersex character.

    And Labour doesn’t know either! :cool:

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  8. Simon (685 comments) says:

    Probably the unions have been funding their puppet Cunnlife.

    Funny thing is Cunnlife giving the trust orders like he owns it when he is only apparently a beneficary. Its the Trustees that run things. But its a sham trust anyway a puppet trust for a puppet Labour leader.

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  9. martinh (1,155 comments) says:

    Its great watching this Hrvard toff make himself look like a dick. What sort of a dick says he only lives in herne bay so his wife can breast feed and then continues living there. Hopefully he will grow back his beard so look even more unlikable.

    I can see why Key doesnt want Jones as leader

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  10. martinh (1,155 comments) says:

    Huevon
    I disagree- To be a cu%t you cant also be an idiot

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  11. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    This has got to sting for the far left. After suffering generally moderate Labour governments and oppositions back to at least 1984, they’re finally in the drivers seat. But, due to their own dishonesty and incompetence it is all crashing and burning in front of them. For a while there, every week yielded a few examples of Cunliffe incompetence that exceeded the incompetence level of the previous week. But now we’re seeing a state of continuous shambles where you have to check the news several times a day to keep track of the latest Labour Party incompetence and failure.

    It is like the “fail compilation” videos you find on YouTube, where a five minute video will combine fifty clips of people crashing their bicycles in to a single cacophony of continuous incompetence. In which case Cunliffe is the kid on a skateboard who tries to jump over a wall, but falls flat on his face. Presland is the drunk who thinks he can jump off a roof in to a swimming pool, but misses and lands on the concrete edge. And McCarten is the guy who drives in to a lake and is surprised that his car sinks.

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  12. Bill (90 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  13. Ross Miller (1,661 comments) says:

    As long as the ‘nice’ Mr Cunliffe refuses to address the accusation that crimdotcom was one of the two mystery donors the more he will appear fatally compromised.

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  14. fernglas (100 comments) says:

    Nigel Kearney @ 9:20

    Never saw a trust I couldn’t trust
    Never drove a car with any rust or rode a scooter
    I’m not proud of my address
    Or my run-down do-up mess
    No postcode needed

    But everyone’s like Hey Dave what’s that sound, have you fired another round
    Into your gucci loafers
    But I”m cool, no fool, I went to the right school
    Or so my CV tells me.

    But I’ll never be Royal, I’d be a catastrophe
    My caucus isn’t loyal
    And McCarten’s after me
    If I get to be ruler
    With the help of the working class
    I promise to be cooler
    And you all can kiss my ass

    Thx to Lorde

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  15. thedavincimode (6,531 comments) says:

    Bill

    Have a chat with your Doctor. You seem to be showing symptoms of Cunneritus.

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  16. Pete George (22,804 comments) says:

    Dotcom has said he didn’t donate to Cunliffe or to Labour.

    @KimDotcom

    I have never donated to the leadership race of @DavidCunliffeMP or to Labor, or the Greens, or NZ First. I support the #InternetParty!

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  17. Keeping Stock (10,099 comments) says:

    @ Pete George – but did he give money to a third party to donate anonymously on his behalf?

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  18. Ross Miller (1,661 comments) says:

    I trust the word of crimdotcom as far as I could throw Cunliffe. The Kraut can’t even spell Labour. Keeping Stock has it about right.

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  19. Pete George (22,804 comments) says:

    I doubt whether he would have donated to Cunliffe, not sure why he would see a need to. At that stage he must have been working on his own party.

    It’s more likely to have been shy individuals or unions.

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  20. justmy opinion (8 comments) says:

    If the trust is not controlled By David Cunliffe, how come he can decide and announce that it will pay money back/ Why does he seem to have been involved in finding out whether donors were happy to have names released when the whole point was he was supposed not to know who the donors were?

    Even if Kim Dotcom’s denial is taken at face value, it does not say anything about people or entities or people. A Trust giving to a trust?

    Can someone ask some questions on this?

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  21. thedavincimode (6,531 comments) says:

    The dots between the Rena party and Dotcrim are already joined as evidenced by Curran skulking up to the kraut’s place and their ICT policy release/blunder. The timing though, doesn’t support a Dotcrim donation to Viscount Cunners’ campaign. So there must be some other dirty work afoot.

    Maybe what has until now looked like appalling form from Banks will turn out to be a stroke of genius on his part. Was this what Banksie had in mind? :)

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  22. Pete George (22,804 comments) says:

    I don’t think there’s any point in asking questions on it. Cunliffe has both sidestepped it by saying he has paid back the anonymous donations, and left the speculation book wide open. He has chosen that and will have to live with it.

    tdm – yes, I think Curran’s visits are probably a separate issue. She certainly wasn’t in the Cunliffe team but she’s deputy to his spokesmanship for IT so it’s complicated as to why Curran colluded with Dotcom. I presume she would have told Cunliffe the source of her policy.

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  23. tvb (4,202 comments) says:

    Cunliffe ran a dishonest leadership campaign which involved him concealing who was funding him keeping his house secret as it was needed for breast feeding purposes and his personal wealth. This does not sit easily with his far left campaign. Well it has caught up with him. He did not understand the level of scrutiny the alternative PM gets and thought he could fool us.

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  24. Paulus (2,500 comments) says:

    DotCrims donation would be through one of his Companies so he could honestly say “I” did not contribute.

    Will he use the money he gets back to pay some of his creditors ?

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  25. tvb (4,202 comments) says:

    On reflection it would have been better if all this was aired during the campaign. Running a gentleman campaign has now caused a problem. If one of the candidates is being dishonest it might have been better to have it out rather than it coming out now and causing a major problem. Cub life could gave been formidable but now he just seems tricky with more no doubt to come.

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  26. David Garrett (6,400 comments) says:

    justmy: Here is a very basic Trusts 101…To constitute a trust there must be three elements: 1) the settlor (who establishes the trust in the first place); 2) at least one trustee (who may be, and often is, the settlor; 3) beneficiaries (who may include the settlor and trustee). If only one person fulfils all three of those roles, you have no trust. The usual structure is a settlor who is also (but need not be) a trustee, at least one additional trustee, and at least one additional beneficiary.

    In theory, the trustees use the trust’s funds for the benefit of the beneficiaries…how exactly and in what circumstances they disburse trust funds depends on the contents of the Trust Deed, and – at least in theory – their views on how best to carry out the settlor’s wishes as expressed in the Trust Deed.

    But here’s where it gets tricky…there is almost always another person behind the scenes called “the appointor” who has the right to hire and fire trustees. THAT person in reality controls the trust, since if the trustees dont follow his “suggestions” they will simply be removed and replaced by someone else.

    So here’s my guess – and it can only be a guess – of the structure of Cunliffe’s latest trust:

    1) The settlor – could be anyone; 2) the Appointor – Cunliffe himself; 3) the trustees – Presland and one or more others, possibly including Cunliffe but it may not; 4) the beneficiaries – Cunliffe and others, perhaps his family, the Labour Party or some office holder of it, or what he perceives to be his loyal lieutenants, who can theoretically benefit from funds donated to the Trust.

    So, to answer your question, the reason Cunliffe can decree the remaininng anonymous donations should be returned is that he is almost certainly the appointor, and the trustees answer to him.

    The above is an attempt to reduce Trusts 101 to simple terms…but I am no expert in the field, and someone else in the brethren may well differ in some respect or other with what I have said. Someone else will certainly know more about trusts than me.

    I hope that helps.

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  27. edhunter (495 comments) says:

    My 2c is that it’s because he is a c*nt.

    I actually find them quite useful and with a bit of a trim & some maintenance you can transform most into something I’d happily play with, an asshole on the other hand, well no about of trimming & maintenance can hide the fact that the only thing that comes out of it is shit.
    To quote the great Dick Johansonson “If you fuck me in the ass you’re gonna get shit on your dick.”

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  28. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    Pete George>It’s more likely to have been shy individuals or unions.

    Everyone knows that unions donate money to Labour. It is hardly a secret. And being “shy” is no excuse… the law doesn’t say donations have to be declared unless the donor is shy or doesn’t want to.

    John Banks is being prosecuted for a breach of electoral finance law. Cunliffe has accepted donations using a secret trust and refuses to disclose the names of the donors. For the law to have any sort of consistency, he needs to be charged and tried. As part of this process, we need to discover the names of these shadowy Cunliffe donors and figure out why they are so determined to avoid the requirements of NZ law.

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  29. RF (1,271 comments) says:

    Is the dude Bill the same one that frequents the standard. A very bitter lefty.

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  30. s.russell (1,563 comments) says:

    Secrecy in a trust of this kind can have two purposes
    * so the beneficiary does not know who has donated and claim freedom from undue influence as a result of it. This is easy to circumvent of course. You send a donation of $10,003 dollars to the trust, and tell the beneficiary that you have done so. The trust reports the donation amount which (in fact) confirms the donor
    * so the identity of the donor does not become secret. This might be to avoid embarrassing the beneficiary. But it might also be to avoid embarrassing the donor (eg my husband would kill me if he knew I gave money to Cunners)

    Cunliffe may or may not know the identity of the donors. The trust won’t tell him if the donors don’t allow it. If he does not know he can’t tell. If he does, but they want to remain secret (maybe for their own personal reasons as above), he could tell, but then would have committed a massive breach of trust, having promised secrecy. He’s caught either way and hoist by his own petard.

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  31. annie (537 comments) says:

    Intelligence and judgement seem to sort independently at gametogenesis, and having truckloads of IQ doesn’t always mean having a good amount of competence. Mr Cunliffe seems to be a classic case.

    The burning question is: what does this say about Treasury, MFAT and the quality of business “consultants” if Mr Cunliffe was apparently so successful in those fields?

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  32. twofish (75 comments) says:

    The solution to this situation – giving back funds to those who don’t want to be named – has nothing to do with Cunliffe’s intent, which apparently was to carry on in defiance of Standing Orders before being ‘found out’.

    The John Banks issue is local government, while Cunliffe is central, but is there any other difference?

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

    What’s bad for Labour is good for NZ. More please Mr Cunliffe.

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  34. David Garrett (6,400 comments) says:

    God save us…I just flicked over to the Stranded for my six monthly lightning look…(Yes, I know, Off for a shower now)…Apparently TV3 is a “neoliberal propaganda vehicle” and Patrick fucking Gover is a lackey of the capitalist right!! Bloody hilarious…

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  35. Mags (38 comments) says:

    Just had a UMR poll call, how likely are you to vote for Labour 0 , what is your opinion of John Key 10, what is your opinion of David Cunnliffe 0, why? Because he is incompetent and in idiot

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  36. srylands (386 comments) says:

    “Apparently TV3 is a “neoliberal propaganda vehicle””

    How very odd. To the extent that I ever thought about it.. I would describe TV3 news as left wing flake.

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  37. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    John Key couldn’t lie straight in bed. There’s history between the serial liar and TV3.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10718054

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  38. srylands (386 comments) says:

    Ross you are in an Alice in Wonderland world.

    The most honest, straight, popular political leader of our generation becomes a “serial liar”

    A flaky left news show becomes “neoliberal”

    An extensive, generous welfare system becomes “hard right beneficiary bashing” and a cause of “child poverty”

    A highly progressive tax system where higher earners prop up the country becomes a tax system rorted by “rich pricks”

    What happens when the bubble bursts, or the clock strikes midnight, or whatever brings down the delusion? I can only think that there are going to be some deeply bitter and disillusioned comrades.

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