Cunliffe tries to deflect over his secret trust

April 1st, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

On Breakfast on TV1:

:        Absolutely not. In fact there’s a huge difference between what I did, which was to open up a campaign trust that wasn’t even under the Electoral Act, it was an internal party matter, for a trivially small amount of money and said to all of the potential donors through the trustee, you must make yourselves public. The Prime Minister has done none of that. The Prime Minister’s trusts have taken millions of dollars over the last few years and he’s refused to name even a single donor. So I’m afraid the National Party is in absolutely no position to be high minded with me. I have done everything I can to be transparent and frankly, I’ve had about enough of National’s hypocrisy on that matter.

This is a bare faced lie. The Prime Minister, unlike David Cunliffe, does not have any secret trusts for donors.

The National Party used to have trusts for donors to donate through, but they were wound up in 2007 – long before John Key became Prime Minister.

Cunliffe just doesn’t get it. It’s the hypocrisy. He railed against secret trusts and then set one up himself. His party passed a law effectively outlawing the use of such trusts for political parties, and he went and set one up for his leadership contest.

Also the amounts of money are not trivial. The disclosure limit for personal donations and gifts is $500. His secret donors donated ten times the disclosure limit.

And he has not done everything he can to be transparent. He still refuses to name the two remaining secret donors. Rather than face the embarrassment of New Zealanders knowing who his donors are, he refunded the money. That is not transparency.

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67 Responses to “Cunliffe tries to deflect over his secret trust”

  1. queenstfarmer (755 comments) says:

    “I have done everything I can to be transparent” – oh, apart from using a secret trust to launder donations and refusing to disclose those donors.

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  2. queenstfarmer (755 comments) says:

    By the way, has anyone in the media asked Kim Dotcom whether he was a donor? Will he categorically deny it?

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  3. shoreboy57 (134 comments) says:

    Keep digging Cunners, keep digging

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  4. Manolo (13,516 comments) says:

    He’s a shameless liar and Chardonnay socialist. What else can be said about Silent T?

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  5. burt (8,024 comments) says:

    It’s different when Labour do it !

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  6. burt (8,024 comments) says:

    DPF

    How, legally, does he get away with not declaring who the donors were ?

    [DPF: Because all he has to declare to the Registrar of Pecuniary Interests is that the Trust is a donor, not the actual donors. That is why it was set up - to hide the donors]

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  7. mandk (875 comments) says:

    If it is true, as he said, that he told potential donors that they must make themselves public. then:
    a) Why did he allow the trust to take donations without an agreement that the names of the donors were disclosable? and
    b) Why hasn’t he subsequently lived up to the principle that the names of donors should be published?

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  8. thedavincimode (6,589 comments) says:

    Viscount Cunners, bullshitting home renovator of Marine Parade Herne Bay, maintains that his personal popularity will improve when people “get to know him”. The bit that he doesn’t get is that 92% of the population do know him and his faux personas (faux outrage in this case). His problem will be when the remaining 8% “get to know him”.

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  9. tvb (4,247 comments) says:

    There is arguably more objection to people donating directly to an MP than their party. Cunliffe has some rich friends who said we would like to help you with some money. Cunliffe said yes sure but we had better keep you secret so I will set up a trust to launder the money. This issue continues to dog Cunliffe Revealing the secret donor’s identity must be worse than having to keep batting away the issue.

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  10. burt (8,024 comments) says:

    Is it a requirement of becoming a Labour MP that you are sworn in agreeing that you will ignore the rules you pass for others to follow ?

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  11. SW (235 comments) says:

    Burt – it is because legally he doesn’t have to. You may not have noticed, but nobody is claiming anything illegal in what Cunliffe did. Stupid – yes, hypocritical – yes, illegal – no.

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  12. Keeping Stock (10,174 comments) says:

    On Newstalk ZB Wellington this morning, he took the lie further saying:

    “John Key’s got the best PR that money can buy. He’s got more money than God”

    He really is a shameless bullshit artist. Has he not done his credibility enough damage already with the “leafy suburbs” gaffe, when he himself lives in one of New Zealand’s wealthiest streets?

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  13. lolitasbrother (581 comments) says:

    Another clear reason why New Zealand will not elect Cunliffe

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  14. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

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

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  15. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

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

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  16. Henry64 (81 comments) says:

    In the same report this morning, Nadine what’s her name signed off thanking ‘David Shearer’ for his time for the interview. A minute or so later she realised her mistake lol

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  17. Alan (1,082 comments) says:

    “How, legally, does he get away with not declaring who the donors were ?”

    Because there is no legal requirement for him to do so, it’s really that simple. It’s an internal party election, the EFA doesn’t apply.

    National also hides it’s funders, let’s get a group of people to rock up to Antoines for dinner, pay $5k each and then have the restaurant make a donation, effectively hiding who the money came from.

    Here’s a question, was GST charged on the $5k cost of the meal ? If not then did the money really come from Antoines or was it just a donation that should have been declared from the dinner.

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  18. RightNow (6,839 comments) says:

    Is Cun’liffe already sick of the job? He’ll probably have to bring his own dead fish to parliament, I can’t really see anyone else wanting to take the poison chalice at this time.

    ross69 “yap yap yap”

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  19. anticorruptionnz (202 comments) says:

    Today i received a letter from Nathan Guy effectively condoning the fact that a secret trust ran a law enforcement authority

    It was so secret that no one knew who the law enforcement authority was.

    New Zealand allegedly the least corrupt country takes secret trusts to a whole new level we hide behind fiction we condone lies and prosecute any one who questions .

    Hans Christian Anderson’ s stories were a lot more believable l that the garbage our so called leaders ask us to believe.

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  20. alwyn (400 comments) says:

    Out of curiosity, and I really cannot face listening to TV1′s rubbish what did the person interviewing him say?
    I would expect something along the lines that “Isn’t it awful how the National Party are smearing you” and “Well John Key is an unmitigated crook and a liar” etc.
    As far as TVNZ is concerned David C is the much more saintly younger brother of Mother Teresa.
    He is also the most brilliant mind New Zealand has ever produced and would, but for his sacrifices in becoming an MP have been the head of Boston Consulting, having retired as head of Trade and Industry and having been Dean of the Business school at Harvard.
    He will, no doubt, be of shortly to collect the Nobel prizes for Peace and Economics, being the only person to get two prizes in the same year.

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  21. stephen2d (67 comments) says:

    Ross 69: I am pretty sure you can find out who the guests at Antoine’s were. Is that a secret fund? What about Labour charging for “booth space” at the Labour conference or “dinner with Sir Ian” to fund the party coffers? Enough with your hypocrisy!

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  22. Tom Jackson (2,504 comments) says:

    Weren’t Labour’s rules that leadership donations were supposed to be anonymous?

    Isn’t it a case of Labour’s internal rules being inconsistent with rules for general elections as opposed to internal, leadership elections?

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  23. prosper (139 comments) says:

    Ross 69. Anyone can have dinner with John Key at Antiones even you. You don’t need to be invited just front up and pay $5000. It’s a fund raiser.

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  24. alwyn (400 comments) says:

    Alan @ 1.34pm.

    Cunliffe’s money doesn’t have a damn thing to do with the EFA.
    MPs are required to declare any gift they personally receive that is worth more than $500.
    He will be declaring the money he got. is just that he is going to say he received it from the “bribes and kickbacks” trust and he doesn’t know who gave the trust the money.
    There is a difference for money received by a party. There the limit is, I think, $15,000. Nobody who went to Antoines gave that much and even if they had given the money directly to the National Party, and you will note it went to National not Key, it wouldn’t have to have been declared.

    Actually you don’t need this explained to you. You know it very well but, being a supporter of the lying lefties you just lie. I suppose one must expect it from a Cunliffe supporter as he does it routinely and copying his practices is supposed to be the sincerest form of flattery.

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  25. Fisiani (993 comments) says:

    The Cunliffe will simply claim that a Secret Trust gave him money and that they paid it back to two mystery people. He will never be transparent about their identities.

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  26. ldypen (30 comments) says:

    “trivially small amount of Money”, well I suppose it is to those that live in leafy suburbs… another fail!

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  27. OneTrack (2,813 comments) says:

    “Cunliffe just doesn’t get it.”

    There’s your problem, right there.

    Sorry lefties. You should have stuck with Shearer (or Goff). Too bad Russel vetoed that for you.

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  28. dime (9,663 comments) says:

    “Key is one tricky fella and a hypocrite”

    Sorry my blind comrade, “tricky” is already taken.

    by who you ask? well, hes a chinless, lying scumbag who is backed by the union and hated by his own caucus. he lives in a shitty “do up” in herne bay that cost 2.5 million. hes ok with that though and can get by on his family income of 700 stacks a year. but only just. he would much rather live in glen eden with micksavage, but he has to be close to his wifes workplace… cause his kid was breast feeding 8 years ago…

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  29. kiwi in america (2,476 comments) says:

    Tom
    It’s not hard for ordinary kiwis to grasp Cunliffe’s hypocrisy. He railed against the National Party’s use of trusts to hide donors PRIOR to Key becoming PM and then set one up for himself. He can mumble all he likes about it not being against the rules of the leadership contest yada yada but he can’t escape the fact that he’s been hoist by his own petard. It explains why he’s polling the lowest of any Labour leader on the issue of trust in the TV3/Reid Research poll.

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  30. rangitoto (221 comments) says:

    “His problem will be when the remaining 8% get to know him”

    Well maybe his mother will still vote for him?

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  31. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    ross69: Eff off back to the rainbow room with your perverted Labour mates. You are fighting a losing battle, backing the biggest lying loser Labour has ever had the misfortune to nominate to take them to an election success. You are coming out with absurd and ridiculous ruses to try and help “Tojo”, who even Labour’s caucus detest.

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  32. alwyn (400 comments) says:

    Tom Jackson @1.41pm

    “Weren’t Labour’s rules that leadership donations were supposed to be anonymous?”

    Well no actually, at least according to Lprent at the Standard. What you are saying is simply a repeat of Cunliffe’s B.S
    According to Prentice, who is a self declared Labour member the party ALLOWED the donations to be anonymous, they didn’t insist on it. The idea that they were required to be anonymous is just another bit of crap from DC.

    The requirement that the donations be declared has nothing to do with it being an election. It is one of the Standing Orders of Parliament and is designed to prevent corrupt dealing by the MPs. Obviously here Cunliffe, in hiding the people he is beholden to is circumventing the Standing Orders and hiding possible corruption.
    As far as comparing the rules of a small private organisation to the Standing Orders of Parliament do you really argue that the party rules can over-ride the Standing Orders of the House? Get real, please. If you say that I suppose any party could simply declare that the law doesn’t apply to them and ignore all laws.
    Come to think of it that was pretty much the way the last Labour Government behaved.

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  33. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Nobody who went to Antoines gave that much and even if they had given the money directly to the National Party, and you will note it went to National not Key, it wouldn’t have to have been declared.

    You’re missing the point – Key wants donors named. But he hasn’t named his…has he got something to hide? Saying that donations don’t “have” to be declared is dancing on the head of a pin.

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  34. Sofia (829 comments) says:

    Rather than face the embarrassment of New Zealanders knowing who his donors are, he refunded the money. That is not transparency.

    The money was accepted and held for a while, so what else is not quite transparent is whether that money was actually used and the sum returned was taken from any other account.

    Register of Pecuniary and Other Specified Interests of Members of Parliament
    Explanatory notes – 2012/13 :
    … A gift is something given to, or for the benefit of, a member. This includes gifts received while travelling on official ministerial or parliamentary business, whether or not you retain possession of them.

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  35. thedavincimode (6,589 comments) says:

    ross

    No, you’re missing the point. Cunners has ignored the current rules requiring disclosure. Key played by the rules. Game, set, match. EOS.

    If Viscunt Cunners wants to play this game, he really needs to come clean on liebore’s prior donors also.

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  36. queenstfarmer (755 comments) says:

    @ross69, that’s because they weren’t his donors. Anyway, we all know the Labour Party’s position on fundraising dinners: https://twitter.com/CTrevettNZH/status/442102673890762753/photo/1

    The damage to Cunliffe is done. He used a secret trust – that he hypocritically rails against other people using – to launder donations made to him personally.

    And when his little secret was busted open, he again dodged transparency by refunding the money to allow him to hide his funders’ identities.

    Little surprise that only 8% of the population wants him as PM.

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  37. thedavincimode (6,589 comments) says:

    In fact, this thread is inappropriately entitled. It should read: “Cunners lies over secret trusts”.

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  38. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Still no names of those who donated to National? This is harder than I expected. :)

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  39. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Little surprise that only 8% of the population wants him as PM.

    Only 2% wanted Helen Clark. How did that work out?

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  40. wreck1080 (3,801 comments) says:

    typical labour clown, can’t take a look at the big picture, laugh, admit the crime , and get on with it.

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  41. srylands (392 comments) says:

    Ross you are being obtuse. The electoral law is clear:

    “Party donations and contributions to donations of more than $15,000 (incl GST) are required to be declared in the party’s annual return of donations..”

    If you want the law changed, lobby Labour to commit to changing the limit when elected. Because they haven’t done so.

    Whether donations are made in cash or via a fund raising dinner or via selling rides on a bouncy castle – it does not matter. What does matter is whether such PARTY donations are more than $15,000. Are the Greens and Labour planning to disclose the details of all donors making donations of less than $15,000? No. So what are you on about? The fact that the donors you refer to were at a public dinner makes them more likely to be exposed. If you wanted to be a secret donor of $5,000 you would write out a cheque. You would not go to a high profile dinner in a high end eating place.

    Engage your brain.

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  42. SW (235 comments) says:

    Thedavincimode – as pointed out above including by DPF you are mistaken. DC did follow the rules (he only had to declare the Trust).

    It is somewhat hypocritical of him to hide donations that way considering he was against National hiding election donations through trusts in the 2000s.

    He has not breaches the rules, he has simply
    breached standards of political common sense.

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  43. queenstfarmer (755 comments) says:

    Only 2% wanted Helen Clark. How did that work out?

    Not well: Labour lost that election – but thanks for the reminder ross69! :-)

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  44. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Ross 69: Has “Tojo” repaid his donation to Slobcom? The obese slug has paid a few creditors recently, thought the money may have been from the rainbow champion!

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  45. Pete George (23,312 comments) says:

    Only 2% wanted Helen Clark. How did that work out?

    Good for Clark five years later. The current Labour don’t seem to be as patient with their leaders.

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  46. slightlyrighty (2,499 comments) says:

    Ross69. The $5000 diners at Antoines are hardly anonymous doners. It’s hard to eat a meal with a bag on your head!

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  47. alwyn (400 comments) says:

    Perhaps, Ross69, you will extend your query to all parties. Labour at least won’t thank you for that.

    Parties are required to declare donations that exceed a certain amount, I think $15,000 that they receive from a single organisation or organisation.
    They do NOT have to declare amounts that are less than that. If I, for example, were to give $100 to the McGillicuddy Serious party they would not have to declare it in their returns. If I gave them $20,000 they would.

    Are you demanding that every donation , no matter how small, should be declared? Really?
    The Labour Party certainly don’t think so. They never campaigned for that, and neither did any other party.
    The principle is that LARGE amounts must be declared and that is all that any party pushes for.
    In the case of MPs the amount they receive, as a gift is $500. That is laid down in the Standing Orders of the House. It has nothing to do with elections, it is presents they receive that personally benefit them.
    If all Cunliffe’s friends had given him a donation of $100 each towards his campaign he wouldn’t have had to declare them.
    On the other hand he wouldn’t have very much to help him campaign as he has very few friends. It is like the old song
    “To know, know, know him
    Is to loathe, loathe, loathe him
    And I do, and I do” etc, as sung by a chorus of four million New Zealanders.

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  48. thedavincimode (6,589 comments) says:

    SW

    My recollection is that the rules were changed a couple of years ago to set a disclosure threshold and stop secret multiple donations over the threshold so that beyond that threshold, declaration was required. Our headmaster points out that National stopped the use of trusts before Key was leader.

    My understanding of Cunners problem (well, one of the many problems he has) is that he has received a donation over the threshold under the new regime and his repayment of the mystery amounts doesn’t avoid his obligation for disclosure which arises at the time of receipt.

    Now I may well be wrong about this because I haven’t looked up the rules and whenever I see Cunners weaselling on this, I’m generally too busy laughing to pay attention to the fine detail.

    If in fact the new rules do only require the disclosure of the trust, then that would render them toothless in addressing the concern of hiding multiple donations from a single donor so as to circumvent the donation threshold rule. If that is the case however, then so be it.

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  49. greenjacket (435 comments) says:

    Cunliffe seems to be a pathological liar. He did this the other day with BS claims about regional unemployment – he just lies, even when there is no apparent benefit for it.
    The question I have is how on earth a person suffering from mythomania managed to become leader of the opposition.

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  50. Zapper (965 comments) says:

    So Cunliffe thinks $5000 is a trivially small amount of money. I wonder how many weeks it takes some of the people he claims to be the only one who cares about to earn that trivially small amount. I’m sure those making mortgage re-payments of $5K a month and having little left over will be rushing to the polls to vote for this clown’s party.

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  51. davidp (3,557 comments) says:

    If the secret donors donated money for Cunliffe to spend on his campaign, then presumably Cunliffe spent it on his campaign. So how can he pay it back to them several months later? Paying it back later implies it was never spent on the campaign, but was sitting around in a slush fund.

    So my question is: Why was Cunliffe maintaining a secret slush fund? What was he going to spend the money on? Were all the uses legal, or was this the NZ equivalent of the union slush funds that got Julia Gillard in to trouble in Australia?

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  52. SW (235 comments) says:

    Thedavincimode – In short you are overlooking the difference between a donation to a political party and a donation to an individual. Remember that these donations were not to Labour, so the EFA does not apply.

    There is a rule that personal donations over $500 must be declared but there is no rule against using a Trust to keep a donors identity secret. Obviously if any politician has a large sum donated by a Trust the media can make noise about it (case in point Cunliffe).

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  53. thedavincimode (6,589 comments) says:

    SW

    Then that is an appalling oversight that drives a train through the EFA. In effect, fishing and racing industry deals live on.

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  54. prosper (139 comments) says:

    Ross 69 if you are desperate to know who is donating to National go the next dinner. These are usually advertised through the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary and similar organizations. In case you don’t have the $5000 hang around the doorway. The time is 7.30 for 8.

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  55. doggone7 (755 comments) says:

    “John Key’s got the best PR that money can buy. He’s got more money than God” ????????????

    Cunliffe obviously doesn’t read the stuff on here that people like DPF put out. If he did he would realise that Key IS God!

    As Ross69 said,” The $5000 diners at Antoines are hardly anonymous doners. It’s hard to eat a meal with a bag on your head!”
    The astonishing thing, but hardly surprising on here is the hypocrisy about what some are calling hypocrisy!

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  56. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    prosper: Ross69 would get in for nothing, being a left-wing leech, he would crawl under the door mat.

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  57. RightNow (6,839 comments) says:

    ross69:

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  58. Komata (1,142 comments) says:

    So THAT’S what a NZ labour party caucus meeting looks and sounds like!! I’ve occasionally-wondered.

    Thanks.

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  59. SW (235 comments) says:

    Thedavincimode – perhaps, but I’m not so sure. The EFA put limits and rules around private spending on political parties for national elections.

    ‘Fishing and racing’ deals for individual MPs is a different issue captured by different rules. If they wanted to make large donations to individual politicians through a trust then you would hope questions would be asked of the MP receiving the large trust donations (like questions put to cunliffe). As far as I know, there hasn’t been any examples of a large trust donation to an MP.

    It’s funny this has backfired so much on Cunliffe and Labour. Their leadership election was far more transparent and democratic than the way National chooses it’s Leader. Yet, this mishandling has given people the opposite impression.

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  60. Im Right (3 comments) says:

    I hope National know who the 2 donors that got their cash back….and round about August…’leak’ the names, the more embarrasing the better!

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  61. OneTrack (2,813 comments) says:

    burt – “Is it a requirement of becoming a Labour MP that you are sworn in agreeing that you will ignore the rules you pass for others to follow ?”

    No, its more just an assumption that rules for the proletariat. dont apply.

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  62. OneTrack (2,813 comments) says:

    ross69 – “Only 2% wanted Helen Clark. How did that work out?”

    So you are saying that Labour will be spending another 3 years in the wilderness – like Clark did before her fortunes changed.

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  63. Johnboy (15,564 comments) says:

    I listened to the smarmy prick on Tim Fookes this morning. He admitted by implication that under his inspired leadership Labour is an also ran and the only hope they have of ever occupying the treasury benches again is with the squeaking, scrawny little Aussie ginga and his bunch of weirdos calling the shots and a cobbled together mob of the rest of the lefty losers propping the whole pile of shit up.

    The swarm of earthquakes you can feel is Big Norm spinning like a fucking top! :)

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  64. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (836 comments) says:

    I am sure the TV1 host who interviewed Cunliffe would not have said anything to point out he was lying….TV1 is Labour branch.

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  65. kiwi in america (2,476 comments) says:

    Key is being quite cunning here. He’s needling Cunliffe on a periodic basis to come clean with his secret donors and Cunliffe bites every time. Each time he digs deeper – this time he blusters, lies and lashes out with more ‘rich prick’ rhetoric not realizing that he goes on the record. If the trusts issue comes up in the debates, Key has him over a barrel and can run any number of devastating lines. And if Cunliffe tries the same stunt he did on Newstalk ZB about Key’s secret trust, Key will nail the lie. Cunliffe is banking on low information voters easily conflating Key’s blind trust holding his assets with National’s previous use of the Waitemata and other Trusts to hide donations pre-2007. The media aren’t quite so gullible and. despite some running interference for him, enough know this has been a major poll deflating issue for him and say so.

    The TV3 poll shows this is a hugely vulnerable area for Cunliffe and if he had an ounce of political nous he’d not even go there each time Key goads him. The Nats know that Cunner’s hubris wins out every time.

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  66. MikeG (413 comments) says:

    I guess Cunliffe was just channelling Key in telling bare faced lies:
    http://polity.co.nz/content/key-self-parody-about-lying-mk-2

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  67. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Are you demanding that every donation , no matter how small, should be declared? Really?

    From memory, Antoines donated $105K care of some 21 patrons. I wasn’t aware that is small donation, but maybe in the company you keep it is. John Key still hasn’t disclosed the names of any of those donors…we are talking about a small number of donors. Why is he hiding their names?

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