Ching says not me

June 26th, 2014 at 9:00 pm by David Farrar

A statement from :

  1. Today (June 26,2014) the NZ Herald’s report regarding me was incorrect. The Journalist Jared Savage didn’t consult with me before making the story. I don’t know who had made Mr.Liu to buy the wine and book for Labour Party. I reserve my right to sue the NZ Herald.
  2. To my best knowledge I didn’t took Mr.Liu to Labour New Lynn Office seeking  support for his immigration case. It’s better to ask Mr.Henry Mao of MMW Consulting (group) who was his agent in NZ to clarify this matter. He may know who had helped Mr.Liu to donate funds to Labour Party.
  3. After 2005  I was no longer a candidate for Labour, So It’s better to ask Mr.Raymond Huo or Ms. to understand any details of Chinese community fundraising function.
  4. In April,2007 I was invited to attend a fundraising party as a guest only. I was no longer an organizer for Labour to raise any funds after 2005 election.

This is interesting. Ching says Susan Zhu is the one to ask about fundraising from the Chinese community. Ms Zhu is a lawyer working for Presland & Co. Yes that Presland – the one who set up David Cunliffe’s secret trust for him.

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77 Responses to “Ching says not me”

  1. Nookin (3,455 comments) says:

    It gets more and more interesting. What legal firm did the declared money come from?

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  2. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (894 comments) says:

    Ka Ching!! – Cunliffe is out of jail with this statement….

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  3. NK (1,253 comments) says:

    I don’t get this. Presland is Cunliffe’s biggest cheerleader. A few weeks ago Cunliffe attacked Chinese investors into New Zealand. Zhu is one of the Chinese faction’s biggest fundraisinig organizers and she works with Presland.

    Cunliffe discredits and disowns Donghua Liu and Steven Ching disowns Labour. Labour places their sitting Chinese MP, Raymond Huo, at a precarious place on the party list.

    Yet amongst all of this, Labour claims to be the natural party for Chinese immigrants and still wants its money!

    Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.

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  4. dime (10,095 comments) says:

    so cunliffe is owned by a chinaman?

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  5. David Garrett (7,523 comments) says:

    Indeed Nick…I have, as they used to say, “drink taken”…so I need to be somewhat circumspect about Mr Presland…I will leave others to judge…He at one time thought it quite acceptable to act for my estranged wife in a suit against me…in that capacity he obviously had full details of my financial position…I believe – but obviously would never be able to prove – that he shared those details with, inter alia, one Philip Ure, who then shared them with all and sundry…

    Presland obviously thought knowing very personal details about me was most amusing…I think rather differently…My ex wife later sacked him….I will leave others to opine on the morality (he broke no rules) of what Mr Presland did…I can still see your shit eating grin at Waitakere Disctrict Court Presland…As they say, what goes around comes around…

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  6. thePeoplesFlag (256 comments) says:

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

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  7. RF (1,446 comments) says:

    Cunliffe and Presland a toxic couple. Thank god Labour are done for. Imagine if they had any part in running this country. It would be a bloody nightmare.

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  8. mara (794 comments) says:

    China is smart, loaded and corrupt. NZ is naïve, inexperienced and politically correct. What outcome would we expect other than what at we are seeing?

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  9. David Garrett (7,523 comments) says:

    Just what we need…another bush lawyer…When you meet old Greggie later, he will probably explain to what an allegation means … Oh how I would love him to sue me…

    Oh , and “oh, wait” and “Ummmm” are prepositions (ok, not strictly) to classic leftie posts…

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  10. David Garrett (7,523 comments) says:

    RF: I believe Presland was billed as “the man behind the man”….albeit before the latter (Cunliffe) shot numerous holes in himself… Oh Lord, I hope “the Man” sues me…

    Peoples Flag: Perhaps you could act for old Greg! Excellent…my address for service is 191 Kanohi Road Kaukapakapa…no, sorry, I don’t have an agent in town…you will have to come out here…

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  11. David Garrett (7,523 comments) says:

    Isn’t it amusing how the clever young lefties reveal themselves by their language usage??

    “Oh wait…” “Ummm….” (always with more than one “m”…) almost like signatures…

    But I am certainly hoping Presland comes to serve his lawsuit on me personally…(He won’t chaps, but I will keep you posted)

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  12. polemic (460 comments) says:

    “Ka Ching” goes the money
    “Ka Chink” goes the wine bottle
    ” Ka Clang” goes the polls
    “Ka Clink” goes ……

    KDC will get a ” Ka Clink” as well but from a US Sherriff

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  13. davidp (3,587 comments) says:

    Over at The Standard, Presland (http://thestandard.org.nz/dear-john-armstrong/) is blaming the whole donations train wreck on the Herald. When I read it I thought this was a pretty transparent attempt to deflect blame, since Presland set up the secret trust that landed Cunliffe in donations hot water in the first place. Now it looks like Presland’s minion is Labour’s bag man to the Chinese community. Presland has almost single handedly dragged his leader and his party through the mud and is one of the biggest reasons they’re polling in the mid-20s, and he’s trying to blame the Herald for noticing what he has been up to.

    Presland is the gift that keeps on giving. I’d like to buy him a beer!

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  14. Grizz (610 comments) says:

    All these connections. Such a small circle of people. It is such a small world. To be frank however, I feel this is all a Beltway side issue. All it digs up are the levels of incompetence behind the scenes of an outfit that wants to rule. The reality is that people want results. The economy, jobs, reduction in Welfare dependency, good healthcare, education and importantly more money in their pockets that they can piss up against the wall. People have to decide if they are getting this from the current lot or if someone else is more capable of providing.

    From where I sit, it now seems like a contest between the current lot who are at least delivering something or the other lot who look like they would struggle to organise a piss-up in a brewery.

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  15. wreck1080 (3,956 comments) says:

    Cunliffe is neck deep in chinese conspiracies.

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  16. Brett Hudson (4,740 comments) says:

    So, let’s just try to unravel the David Cunliffe and Labour logic here…

    It would seem that Chinese money is all good unless it’s used to buy a house.

    Interesting moral compass David and his Party share.

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  17. Pete George (23,680 comments) says:

    The Herald addresses claims of political bias and plots in their editorial today:

    Editorial: Cries of bias will not stop reporting

    As others have stated Greg Presland has been promoting Labour’s anti-Herald attacks at The Standard:
    http://thestandard.org.nz/key-and-herald-embarrassed-as-liu-statement-changes/
    http://thestandard.org.nz/dear-john-armstrong/

    Other Labour activists have also attacked the Herald:
    http://thestandard.org.nz/take-action-against-the-herald/
    http://thestandard.org.nz/john-roughan-nz-heralds-white-elephant/

    The Herald responds to criticisms:

    Liu’s mis-statement, however, has been grasped as proof of Herald complicity in a plot against Labour. The claim is risible, across the range of political coverage but also explicitly over the Herald’s investigation of National and Labour and their damaging cosiness with Donghua Liu.

    We regret having reported inflated and conflated dollar figures.

    The core issue remains, however: At a minimum, removing Mr Barker’s China trip and a donation to a rowing club the MP’s daughter belonged to, Labour faces Liu’s claim that he made $38,000 in donations to the party and anonymously through MPs.

    We make no apology for seeking the truth behind political parties’ donations and possible cronyism. Inevitably, that hits raw nerves in election year.

    ‘Poor us’ laments about criticisms about donations and political attacks are very ironic coming from Labour.

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  18. mjw (399 comments) says:

    The Herald editorial today apologises for their misreporting on this matter.

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  19. SW (241 comments) says:

    DPF – you keep talking about a ‘secret trust’. This is a lie isn’t it? The Trust was not secret and was publicly listed. You could say donors to the trust were ‘secret’ – but secret trust is misinformation isn’t it?

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  20. Pete George (23,680 comments) says:

    SW – did Cunliffe openly advise he had a trust for donations? Or did he keep quiet about it?

    It would appear that a couple of his donors thought there some sort of secrecy.

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  21. itstricky (1,880 comments) says:

    If only you’d said “now that’s interesting; let’s look at that closer” when the Collins game was in play DPF.

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  22. Pete George (23,680 comments) says:

    Linking to this post at The Standard has resulted in a three month ban using an unrelated and very lame excuse.
    [lprent: I see you haven’t responded to my note on http://thestandard.org.nz/reverse-ferret-bites-pm-on-arse/#comment-838047. Bad idea. Banned 3 months. ]
    http://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-27062014/#comment-839764

    And another three month ban:
    [lprent: I see that you are continuing to astroturf. And I’m before my first coffee and feeling intolerant after reading the herald ‘editorial’. How unfortunate for you. Banned 3 months. Bye – see you after the election. ]
    http://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-27062014/#comment-839773

    Labour lackeys seem to be a tad sensitive to any criticism.

    And it’s a wee bit ironic they complain bitterly about media bias as they ban any views they don’t like.

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  23. Nostalgia-NZ (5,274 comments) says:

    Invest in the credibility of Liu at your peril which ever side of the political divide you sit.

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  24. tvb (4,494 comments) says:

    I think we have got a little hint who the secret donor is. I always thought the donor refusing his identity was a fig leaf to protect Cunliffe not that donor.

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  25. mjw (399 comments) says:

    The secret donor was the Waitemata trust. Or was it Wira Gardiner? Or maybe it was MFAT?

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  26. grumpy (270 comments) says:

    Pete George, I was the first mentioned – very touchy over there and protective of Mr Presland. I think we have hit the nail on the head. Presland has been the leader of attacks on NZ Herald to try and spike this story, probably knew all along it would lead to him. And he was the legal adviser who told Cunliffe to use secret trusts.
    Kaching!

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  27. Pete George (23,680 comments) says:

    Grumpy – I see that lprent’s trumped up excuse to ban you has been exposed at The Standard.

    And his ban excuse had nothing to do with the comment, which means he effectively censored the comment without giving any honest reason for doing so.

    It’s his blog so he can do what he likes but he and Greg lok like they are intent on running carefully controlled propaganda for Labour.

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  28. Pete George (23,680 comments) says:

    And yet more hypocrisy just posted by lprent:

    NZ Herald: Be journalists, check before ‘reporting’

    There is a self-serving anonymously authored editorial in the NZ Herald this morning “Editorial: Cries of bias will not stop reporting”. Well for a start the problem isn’t with the Herald reporting. The journalism on the story has been performed by amateur journalists and facilitated by incompetent editors who didn’t check the story. This probably including whoever wrote this pathetic editorial. It appears to have been an abrupt change from their usual competent style of journalism. Of course the question has to be asked about what caused this change?

    That’s from someone who allows his blog to be used by Labour to promote it’s agenda without identifying the source (as anonymous as the herald) during the regulated period of the election.

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  29. SW (241 comments) says:

    Pete George – your question doesn’t make sense to me sorry – do you mean did Cunliffe advise the public that he had a trust for people to make anonymous donations to? If so, in not sure, but suspect the answer is yes isn’t it?

    Regardless, it doesn’t change the fact that the Trust was made public, just not the new of people who donated to the trust. It’s bit a secret trust…

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  30. grumpy (270 comments) says:

    Pete George, yes, it’s smoke and mirrors time over at The Stranded. They really don’t like this subject at all – eh?

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  31. ross411 (865 comments) says:

    Pete George (22,296 comments) says:
    June 27th, 2014 at 8:05 am
    And another three month ban:
    [lprent: I see that you are continuing to astroturf. And I’m before my first coffee and feeling intolerant after reading the herald ‘editorial’. How unfortunate for you. Banned 3 months. Bye – see you after the election. ]
    http://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-27062014/#comment-839773

    It’s strange how those deeply invested politically are so out of touch. All they have to do is dismiss and ignore your post, and instead he describes how whimsically he bans an opposing (and inoffensive) point of view. It’s before his morning coffee. He’s intolerant because of something else and taking it out on you. And he’s petulant about it all in his justification.

    I can’t help but wonder how many non-shrill non-fervent reasonable Labour supporters this site has driven away from supporting Labour.

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  32. Pete George (23,680 comments) says:

    SW – the existence of the trust was ‘public’ but the use of the trust for campaign funds and the deliberate masking of donor’s identities was kept secret by Cunliffe as far as I’m aware – unless he volunteered the information but I’m not aware of him doing that.

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  33. lazza (382 comments) says:

    So who said that our Oriental friends are … inscrutable?

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  34. notrotsky (85 comments) says:

    Very interesting indeed.

    Are we sure of the authenticity of the statement from Ching ? it wouldn’t be the first time the flunkies at The Standard tried to run a distraction.

    If it’s genuine, Greg Presland, one of Labour’s very own hollow men, might have a wee bit of explaining to do.

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  35. SW (241 comments) says:

    Pete – for a start the ‘campaign’ was not a national election, so rules about the national election do not apply. The ‘campaign’ was an internal Labour Party leadership contest – lets not forget that some other parties have no democratic mechanism for selecting their party leader.

    Anyway, my understanding (which might be wrong) is that it was always public that if you wanted to donate money to Cunliffe for his leadership bid, and do so anonymously, you could by donating to the trust.

    Donations through the trust were made public, as was the trust. The donors names were not public like they would be for, if not for the trust, for any pecuniary gift over $500.

    Yes the donors identities were ‘deliberately’ masked you could say. But when you say ‘by’ Cunliffe, you actually mean kept secret by the donors themselves, Cunliffe may not have know these donors identities. Just like I can ‘secretly’ donate to a National Party politician outside of an election by donating to one of their many trusts.

    Was this a smart move by Cunliffe? Evidently not.

    Help me though mr fact checker, is it factually correct to call this trust a “secret trust”? Secret from whom?

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  36. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    SW

    Labour … democratic election process …. You are funny.

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  37. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    SW

    We know Labour wouldn’t use a trust to hide the identity of donors – they specifically passed laws to prevent that sort of thing – it’s not like it’s different when Labour do it.

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  38. SW (241 comments) says:

    Burt – I get you don’t like Labour, fair call. But they do have a ‘democratic process’ in how they elect their leader. It is restricted to members, unions and the caucus, but it is democratic in the sense that all their members get a say. Compare to National, straight caucus vote. You might think their way is shit, but are you disputing it is more democratic than a caucus vote?

    The laws passed placed rules around that but don’t outright ban donors using trusts to hide their identities. Hence no one is alleging that Cunliffe’s trust thing was illegal.

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  39. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    SW

    If you think some people effectively having 2 votes is democratic… Then I’m picking you’re a self serving unionist yourself.

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  40. Pete George (23,680 comments) says:

    grumpy’s ban has been rescinded when it was pointed out to lprent that he had not done some basic checking before banning.

    That make’s lprent’s post “NZ Herald: Be journalists, check before ‘reporting’” even more ironic.

    The comment that was censored hasn’t been reinstated though.

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  41. SW (241 comments) says:

    Haha no mate, not a unionist. Ignoring the obvious that for some parties everyone except a caucus member gets no vote, ‘effectively’ having 2 votes seems a stretch (something that is no doubt your opinion but cannot in fact be made out). The union members don’t get a second vote do they? Their union gets a say on their behalf.

    Democratic means to give people a chance to choose their leaders. How do you think National compare to Labour with that in mind (ignoring that National may be a far better party in all other respects)?

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  42. SW (241 comments) says:

    Pete – are you going to answer my question above?

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  43. ross001 (218 comments) says:

    Pete

    I’m not sure why you want to post on the Standard given your views, or even have the time to post there given your role as fact checker extraordinaire.

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  44. Viking2 (11,553 comments) says:

    Oh you want some good oil on Greenpeace. Good reading here. Seems they are liars,cheats, incompetents et al.
    Such fun.

    Greenpeace losses: leaked documents reveal extent of financial disarray
    Emails and meeting notes show group’s finance department has a long history of problems in its handling of the £58m budget

    Some staff are concerned at being moved from Dutch wages to lower, local wages at regional operations

    and much, much more.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jun/23/greenpeace-losses-financial-disarray

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  45. Pete George (23,680 comments) says:

    “Help me though mr fact checker, is it factually correct to call this trust a “secret trust”? Secret from whom?”

    NZ Herald, 3 March:

    Labour leader David Cunliffe has confirmed he used a trust to deal with donations to his leadership campaign in last year’s run-off for Labour’s top job.

    Yesterday Mr Cunliffe refused to say whether a trust was used or whether he had declared donations in the Register of Pecuniary Interests as from a trust or from the original donors.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11213046

    Refusing to say suggests Cunliffe didn’t want to be open and honest about his use of a trust.

    NZ Herald 4 March:

    Mr Cunliffe’s admission comes after a week of questioning by the Herald which revealed the Register for Pecuniary Interest required Labour’s leadership donations to be declared.

    Mr Cunliffe initially refused to confirm a trust was used for his campaign – a mechanism which effectively allowed him to avoid the disclosure of individual donations in the register. After admitting to using a trust a day later, he said it was “common practise” in politics and was not illegal.

    Asked if he would have taken the step of voluntary disclosure today had it not been for media pressure, he said he had been reflecting on it over the last week.”

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

    “Mr Cunliffe’s admission comes after a week of questioning” sounds like he was trying to be a bit secretive doesn’t it?

    Mr Cunliffe said it was an error of judgement to use the trust. It had meant he did not have to disclose donations in the Register of Pecuniary Interests.

    That sounds like he tried to keep donations secret from the Register of Pecuniary Interests.

    It looks like Cunliffe tried to keep his Trust secret from the public.

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  46. SW (241 comments) says:

    Re his ‘admission’ taking a week, it seems to me more like bad political judgement and an inability to make quick political decisions. This is one of Cunliffe’s major weaknesses.

    ‘That sounds like he tried to keep donations secret from the Register’ – is a pretty odd statement considering the media found out about this by looking on the register!

    So again, this became a story exactly because the trust was public and not ‘secret’. To sound like a broken record, the ‘secret’ is/was the names of several donors (and quite small donors one might add).

    So yes or no Pete, is it accurate to call this a ‘secret trust’ when in fact the Trust was disclosed on the Register and is part of the public record?

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  47. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    SW

    You must be the most reasonable and considered apologist ever to comment here.

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  48. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    Mr Cunliffe’s admission comes after a week of questioning by the Herald which revealed the Register for Pecuniary Interest required Labour’s leadership donations to be declared.

    But they were not… I know he gave the money back … Like if I got caught speeding I would simple reverse the car a few K’s and drive the road again a bit slower. The cop would say … OK you are fine now – carry on.

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  49. altiora (279 comments) says:

    @ SW: you entirely misunderstand what the “secret” in “secret trust” refers to. It can refer to a trust that is secret in the sense of the trust being hidden that is true. But the term is more commonly used to refer to trusts set up to keep the donors hidden from sight. Hence Labour used to attack National’s Waitemata Trust as secret too: because while its existence was public knowledge, it was created so as to keep the identities of some of National’s donors hidden from public knowledge. That sort of trust was outlawed by Labour on the basis that the public should be able to know donor’s identities and judge accordingly.

    This is the rank hypocrisy of Cunliffe: he had no problem using a device that he and his colleagues had derided as wrong. And when found out, he didn’t say it was not a “secret trust” because it was declared. Instead he resorted to the lawyer’s argument that only secret trusts for election campaigns were banned and not for “leadership primaries”.

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  50. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    altiora

    Oh no, that was a secret trust … Labour and Winston have/had trusts that are not secret because they are registered. Labour’s trust was registered so couldn’t be secret. Pin-head dancing is the specialty of people who flout the spirit of the law but stay technically within it.

    This is the rank hypocrisy of Cunliffe: he had no problem using a device that he and his colleagues had derided as wrong.

    It’s different when Labour do it.

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  51. Pete George (23,680 comments) says:

    SW – it certainly looks like there was secrecy involved, including deliberate secrecy intent by Cunliffe and his trustees.

    Do you think there’s no secrecy involved with the GCSB because we know they exist?

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  52. SW (241 comments) says:

    Thanks for the backhanded compliment I guess Burt. I wouldn’t call myself an apologist, but I think there has been a fair amount of ‘happy mischief’ in the lead up to this election.

    For full disclosure, I’m an undecided voter and I’m not politically involved at all. My views are mostly centre left I guess but depends on this issue.

    Anyway, ‘but they were not’ – yes they were, the trust has been declared on the Register for many months.

    He gave some of the money back, but not all, and that doesn’t mean that he didn’t declare the Trust. What he didn’t declare was all the people who donated to the trust, which he didn’t have to.

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  53. altiora (279 comments) says:

    SW: He gave some of the money back, but not all, and that doesn’t mean that he didn’t declare the Trust. What he didn’t declare was all the people who donated to the trust, which he didn’t have to.

    And it’s that failure to declare the identities that makes the trust “secret”, and it is that aspect that Labour and the Left generally have been so critical of, on the basis that it could be a cover for “cash for influence”.

    Judith Collins didn’t have to declare who she had dinner with! Since when has that been an argument in politics? And why defend Cunliffe who is clearly inept and not Prime Minister material?

    I would have a lot more respect for Labour and the Greens if they weren’t such brazen hypocrites. While I think the Waitemata Trust was wrong, and agree those sorts of trusts should be banned, National were at least open and honest about what they did.

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  54. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    SW

    Anyway, ‘but they were not’ – yes they were, the trust has been declared on the Register for many months.

    At the time of needing to file the details he had accepted the money. After that event he gave it back. Come on, tell me how declarations on the register don’t cover a specific time period….

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  55. SW (241 comments) says:

    Pete – that is not an answer and I’m not engaging in fake comparisons.

    Again, yes or no, is it factually correct to call a Trust on the publicly available pecuniary interests Register under David C’s name a ‘secret trust’.

    If you haven’t noticed, I don’t disagree that the names of people donating to that trust were ‘secret’ and not public. Nor do I dispute that this is want DC wanted. But as it turns out, that is perfectly acceptable under the law, it just was politically naive to think it wouldn’t be used against him.

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  56. SW (241 comments) says:

    Burt – he gave it back because he didn’t want to name the people who wanted to remain anonymous. He didn’t give it back because he had to, was forced to, or because it wasn’t declared properly.

    It was a judgement call and a political decision, not a legal one.

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  57. altiora (279 comments) says:

    SW you are trying to avoid wrestling with the fact that the term “secret trust” is used in political discourse for many years to refer to trusts where the identities of donors are kept hidden. Used not only by Kiwiblog commentators, but also politicians from all parties.

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  58. Pete George (23,680 comments) says:

    Register of Pecuniary Interests 2014

    Hon David Cunliffe (Labour, New Lynn)
    4 Beneficial interests in, and trusteeships of, trusts
    Bozzie Family Trust
    Investment Custodial Services Limited (not a named beneficiary)
    TR Trust (not a named beneficiary)

    http://www.parliament.nz/resource/en-nz/00CLOOCMPPFinInterests20141/2e04287ad20ee5da12a308149e59bb16d7f47ce5

    That doesn’t look like it is very open about the use of a trust for political donations.

    Especially seeing Cunliffe’s reluctance to admit he used a donations trust when questioned about it one could suspect he had thought he might be able to keep it secret.

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  59. SW (241 comments) says:

    Altiora – no the distinction with Judith was that she did not declare a ‘conflict or perceived conflict’ as she was required to. That’s different to following the rules and declaring something, but not going further than is required because it is politically stupid not to.

    I’m not defending Cunliffe, I’m challenging DPF’s continually use of ‘secret trust’ to a non secret trust. Other than that, I don’t disagree with everything else you have said.

    Your explanation above though was one I hadn’t thought of, perhaps DPF is using that incorrect terminology because left wing people have done so in the past (hypocrisy though?).

    Speaking of Pete, after challenging me calling a director’s company ‘their company’ asserting that was ‘not appropriate and inaccurate’, you sure hell seem less concerned about a more obvious example of incorrect terminology!

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  60. SW (241 comments) says:

    Pete – well I suspect cunlife thought he could keep the donors names secret, rather than the actual fact of donations.

    Again though, you can always donate to a politician this way anonymously, provided it is outside an election period and the Trust is declared on the register.

    An internal leadership campaign is not the same as a national election

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  61. altiora (279 comments) says:

    SW you’re now using the Cunliffe defence: it wasn’t a national election. It all doesn’t matter. It is the perception that matters. In this case, that Cunliffe has something to hide; and not only that that Cunliffe is a hypocrite: secret trusts are wrong when National does it, but OK when I do it. As I say, the left has railed against these sorts of trusts on the basis that they are covers for “cash for influence”. And the amazing thing is, that Cunliffe could have simply put this issue to bed by disclosing who donated.

    Labour have tried to construct a meta-narrative about National’s “dodgy donation practices” and “crony capitalism” and they are now finding, and rightly so, Labour’s practices are being investigated to see if they are calling the pot black. And they don’t like it — standards seem to be things others’ have imposed on them by Labour.

    As for Judith Collins, your comments beg the question: was there a conflict of interest involved in the dinner? Labour didn’t know because it had no information about who the guest was. And strictly speaking, the Cabinet Manual is not law — it is set of political rules.

    But let’s not be distracted by what is legal or not; the fact that something is lawful does not make it right in politics. This is your problem: you are forgetting that we are judging this by political standards, specifically what do Cunliffe’s actions tell us about his integrity and judgement. That is the same standard applied to all politicians. For example, Bill English and his perfectly “legal” housing allowance….

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  62. Pete George (23,680 comments) says:

    This is what is required under Appendix B: Pecuniary and other specified interests

    8 Contents of return relating to member’s activities for period ending on effective date of return
    (1) Every return must contain the following information for the period specified in clause 9:

    (b) a description of each gift received by the member that has an estimated market value in New Zealand of more than $500 and the name of the donor of each of those gifts (if known or reasonably ascertainable by the member)

    http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/rules/standing-orders/appendix-b/00HOHPBReferenceStOrdersAppendixBBPart1/part-1

    It does not relate to election periods at all, and internal leadership campaigns don’t circumvent any requirement.

    Cunliffe chose to return two gifts of money to avoid naming donors as required in order to retrospectively comply with requirements. It doesn’t allow for using a trust to keep donor identities secret as Cunliffe clearly attempted to do.

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  63. SW (241 comments) says:

    Altotia – look I don’t disagree with you. As I’ve said, I’m not defending the politics of it all.

    I think breaching the cabinet manual though, while not law, is something that shouldn’t be diminished.

    Well now you make a better point Pete. But please correct me if I’m wrong Pete, isn’t the name of the ‘donor’ here the trust, and that is an acceptable form of disclosure? I know it is different for trusts that donate to political parties, but that isn’t the law for MP donations is it?

    Is there a requirement that ‘donor’ must be a person rather than an entity?

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  64. SW (241 comments) says:

    What your failing to recognise Pete is that he did declare the donor, but the donor was a trust. For some reason he thought that would be all good politically, it wasn’t and for obvious reasons in my view.

    That doesn’t make the trust secret, it makes the donors secret. I can get why he would want that in the context of an internal leadership contest, but it obviously was a stupid call.

    He then delayed making public statements until he had figured out whether all the donors were happy to have their names released. Some were and some weren’t – for the ones that weren’t he gave them their money back.

    Is there anything about that summary that you think is inaccurate?

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  65. Pete George (23,680 comments) says:

    A trust is no more a donor than a bank account. The use of trusts to hide donor identities was clamped down on by a Labour Government that Cunliffe was a part of.

    Cunliffe decided retrospectively that he should either name donors or reimburse them.

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  66. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    SW

    Still no answer to the inconvenient fact that during the reporting period a donation of over $500 (which must not be anonymous) was received and the donor is know to the trustee’s. It has not been declared. Giving it back outside of the reporting period somehow changes the reporting requirement ????

    Can you defend him over that technical detail ?

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  67. SW (241 comments) says:

    Pete George – the Labour Govt clamped down on the use of trusts donating to Political Parties, not individual MPs. A trust is not the same as a bank account.

    No Burt, you are just misunderstanding why the money was returned. Read my answers above as to why the original donors names did not need disclosed – it was because the trust was the donor.

    A technicality I agree, hence why I’m defending him and saying it was politically stupid. It just wasn’t against the rules.

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  68. altiora (279 comments) says:

    SW: I’m going to try one more time, no one disagrees that it wasn’t against the rules to not disclose. That is not the point! He has something to hide, he has been shown to be inept and a hypocrite. End of story.

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  69. Pete George (23,680 comments) says:

    It was against the Pecuniary Interests rules. That’s why Cunliffe reacted.

    The problem was that Labour made some leadership contest rules (which Cunliffe ciomplied with) without properly considering wider implications of (Pecuniary Interests) rules that took precedence.

    It would be nonsensical if parties could make up their own rules that allowed them to ignore Parliamentary rules.

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  70. SW (241 comments) says:

    Yea agree – up until the point that what they did was against the Pecunuary Interests rules.

    If you can show me that a Trust cannot be the donor disclosed on the Register then you can change my mind. But many MP’s disclose that Trusts gift them money, and this allowed under the rules. Like I said, the rules are different in terms of Trusts donating to Political Parties.

    altiora – haha read the comment by Pete just below yours! He showed poor judgment – he didn’t show he had something to hide, it was Labour Party who thought all this was ok (for various reasons).

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  71. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    SW

    I’m not at all misunderstanding why the money was returned. The donor wanted to be anonymous, or Cunliffe wanted the donor anonymous or both – so they returned it or they would need to declare the donor. Nobody is disputing that. Let’s agree that is what it is, and not re litigate that fact eh.

    But, what about the timing. The money was in the Cunliffe’s hands during the reporting period. He returned it after the return was due. So, it seems simple to understand he had the money during the reporting period. Why has he not declared it in that reporting period ? Why is this not enforced by the register ? What point is there in having both rules and a register when money can be laundered in and out of the reporting period with impunity ?

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  72. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    SW

    you have apologised yourself into a circle.

    If you can show me that a trust cannot be the donor disclosed on the register … Well of course it can. But donations over $500 need to be individually identified – if known. This is kind of why Cunliffe returned the money – right ?

    Not because the trust couldn’t be declared as a donor, but because a law Cunliffe helped to pass set a limit on anonymous donations. Big brave ‘we’ll show National and that trust of theirs what’s what’ Labour assisted by Cunliffe made that rule. He walks right thru it.

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  73. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    SW

    You asked earlier what I think about National’s process for electing a leader. Sure it’s not democratic, it’s not claiming to be.

    Sort of like this trust situation eh. National didn’t pass laws requiring donations over $500 be identified, Labour did. Who delivered on the intention?

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  74. SW (241 comments) says:

    Burt – look mate I appreciate your responses.

    I’m honestly not trying to be a fuckwit, but I don’t agree that the money HAD to be returned. The people who donated over $500 didn’t need to be individually identified – all that is required is that the trust, who was the entity that gave Cunliffe the money over $500, is identified.

    If you look through the register you will notice there are plenty of trusts that have provided ‘gifts’ over $500 to MPs. You will also notice that there is not a further declaration of where that the money actually came from. It’s because that info isn’t required.

    The ‘rule’ that you are referring to would by in the electoral finance act – not the rules that govern MPs pecuniary interests.

    Do you get my point? He returned the money as a political measure, not avoid breaching his disclosure obligations. He had already disclosed the trust, which led to questions from the media, which led to a backtrack from Cunliffe.

    None of this I support, my advice to Cunliffe would have been to only take donations where people are willing to be named. Let’s put this in perspective, it is an extremely small amount of money that we are talking about (in the context of man on Cunliffes salary).

    Do you honestly think he is that shady he just had to hide a few thousand dollars tops? It seems to me he just got bad advice, didn’t think it through, then didn’t handle it well when challenged. Probably why he won’t be PM.

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  75. burt (8,309 comments) says:

    SW

    Ok, so the rules that govern the pecuniary interest register – they must say something like.

    Complete the return and anything you would rather not declare, don’t. If you’ve had money for months and months and it’s a political embarrassment, don’t declare it if you can hide it in other ways.

    Here was me thinking the politicians had responsibilities under the rules governing the pecuniary interest register when really they can use it to launder cash for anonymous individuals. Using a specifically Labour term to describe this…. Take cash from rich pricks and later on give it back to them as a cheque from a legitimate trust.

    Yep, surely nothing to see here – it’s time to move on.

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  76. SW (241 comments) says:

    No Burt, the rules say you must declare the donor, but the donor can be a trust (for gifts to MPs).

    You keep saying he hang onto the money without declaring it ignoring that he did declare it – but the declarations was the trust and not individuals who gave money to the trust.

    To use your language, a rich prick can keep their name hidden from the public by giving to an MPs trust rather than directly to the MP. However, if an MP received say $200,000 through a trust in this way, you would hope the media would be asking that politician some serious questions.

    If you don’t like the rules then argue for a change. Ironically, I’m sure Labour would rather change these rules than National – you do realise National benefits far more from anonymous donations than Labour right?

    I just hate this fake cheerleading that goes on from both sides – national bad labour good and vice versa. I don’t know why it is so difficult for political reporters to get the facts then write a story rather than write a story and make the public figure out facts from their own reading afterwards.

    Look at yourself Burt, for some reason you thought Labour wrote a law that they didn’t, you seem to think a party that let’s it’s members have a vote to choose their leader is undemocratic, and you still think Cunliffe broke the rules when that has never even been seriously alleged.

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  77. goldnkiwi (1,513 comments) says:

    Bet Bevan knows ‘everyone’.

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