Has Labour made false returns like John Banks?

June 17th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

says it has no record of receiving money from the businessman and National Party donor surrounded in controversy.

The Herald yesterday revealed that – who received citizenship after lobbying from National minister Maurice Williamson – also paid $15,000 at a Labour Party auction in 2007 for a book signed by Helen Clark, the Prime Minister at the time.

Labour leader David Cunliffe yesterday also said Liu may have made another donation through the purchase of a bottle of wine. However, he was only aware of Liu’s potential donations through media reports.

Labour general secretary Tim Barnett said a check of the party’s records showed no donation from Liu under his name.

Well why not? Is Labour denying the donations?

However he said it was possible he made donations via a company or family trust, which was allowed under electoral finance rules at the time, or that donations were made at the local electorate level, details of which were not recorded by the party’s central administration.

The 2007 return doesn’t show any donations from a family trust, and the company donations are large known companies.

If it was made at a local electorate level, then the party is still responsible for disclosure. The head office gets notified of any significant donations.

If it was made to a candidate’s campaign, the the candidate has to disclose, and the threshold back then was $1,000.

Former Labour Government Internal Affairs Minister Rick Barker, who attended a dinner in China as a guest of Liu in 2007, yesterday said it was possible Liu made a donation through the purchase of one of several auctioned bottles of wine.

So how much was the donation, and who was it made to in Labour, and why wasn’t it disclosed?

If it was over $1,000 to a candidate or $10,000 to the party – then they are legally obliged to report the donation.

John Banks has just been found guilty of submitting a false election return.  Labour’s 2007 return looks very suspect unless they can answer the question of who was the donation made to in Labour, and was it declared – and if so, under what name.

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65 Responses to “Has Labour made false returns like John Banks?”

  1. tas (596 comments) says:

    But will anyone bother taking them to court?

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  2. dog_eat_dog (755 comments) says:

    Who else is missing from their 2007 Donation Return?

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  3. Chuck Bird (4,725 comments) says:

    Maybe someone in National could do a private prosecution. I sure there are a few lawyers who are National members.

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  4. burt (7,945 comments) says:

    It’s different when Labour do it.

    I think we just need to move on.

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  5. Floyd60 (88 comments) says:

    Banksie had to go – too many ‘errors’ over too long a period.

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  6. Redbaiter (7,836 comments) says:

    Graham Mcready will be right on to it, without a doubt.

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  7. Yoza (1,640 comments) says:

    The Herald yesterday revealed that Donghua Liu – who received citizenship after lobbying from National minister Maurice Williamson – also paid $15,000 at a Labour Party auction in 2007 for a book signed by Helen Clark, the Prime Minister at the time.

    Doesn’t this count as an investment, rather than a donation – I mean for all we know he could sell that book for $30,000 if Clark makes UN Sec.Gen. then goes on to negotiate an end to all wars and global poverty.

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  8. Rich Prick (1,595 comments) says:

    Unfortunately Red he’s busy suing John Key and others over the Banks affair. They guy does need to get another hobby though.

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  9. Captain Pugwash (97 comments) says:

    Is paying $15K for a book actually a donation? Anyway it probably went into auntie Helen’s NY shopping fund.

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  10. somewhatthoughtful (455 comments) says:

    Good point david, this does look dodgy. Now just let us know who was at Antoine’s and you’ve got moral ground to stand on.

    [DPF: If anyone at Antoine's had donated over the disclosure limit, their names would be disclosed. This donation was over the disclosure limit yet was not disclosed it seems. What part of that is hard to understand?]

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  11. mikenmild (11,158 comments) says:

    Does buying something at a fundraising auction even count as a donation?

    [DPF: Yes, the difference between market value and the amount paid]

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  12. john (42 comments) says:

    What a laugh NOT.
    Here we are due to the early election capturing some of our small fundraising events within the regulated period counting the cost of the sausage rolls that are in someone’s freezer left over from last month lunch, valuing the donated fruit cake, scones and the grocery raffle prizes to ensure we meet the rules and these tossers don’t know if they were donated $15000 or more sometime at an event. What will the ladies make out of this event, $500-1000, what’s the risk to me as campaign chair huge, but I make sure everyone knows the rules.

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  13. Ross12 (1,211 comments) says:

    mikenmild

    KimDotcom thought he was making an investment with the money given to John banks.

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  14. MT_Tinman (3,033 comments) says:

    The communists are out in bulk this morning DPF.

    You’ve obviously got them and it’s hurting.

    Well done.

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  15. davidp (3,550 comments) says:

    I vaguely recall Cunliffe being outraged that Key hadn’t acted immediately to sack Banks when allegations were made against Banks.

    So in the interests of consistency, who will Cunliffe be sacking this week?

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  16. thedavincimode (6,573 comments) says:

    Heh, milky; $15k for a crate of Marque Vue?

    More likely it was received from Mr C Ash.

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  17. freethinker (683 comments) says:

    With a bit of luck Banksie will have a cell mate at Mt Eden.

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  18. Komata (1,138 comments) says:

    Now perhaps I’m wrong, and there is absolutely NO political-bias attached, but where is Penelope Bright in this? As by her own admission, she is an ‘Anti Corruption Campaigner’, and having recently set a very public precedent by her actions and determined ‘pursuit’ of Banks J., we should have by now had a full-length condemnation of the NZLP and a declaration of her intent to pursue this matter to its end.

    Shouldn’t we?

    Yet her silence is deafening!!

    So come on Penelope, enlighten us, advise us, indeed, ‘harrangue’ us (as you do) ad nauseum and ad infinitum about the injustice that has been perpetrated by the NZLP in this regard, and tell us that you, yes, you alone, in your self-appointed role as Penny Bright, ‘Anti-Corruption Campaigner, per excellence’, are going to pursue this matter to the bitter end.

    We’re waiting…..

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  19. mikenmild (11,158 comments) says:

    Just wondering how it might fit with the rules, DVM. Like a fundraising dinner, for example.

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  20. flipper (3,739 comments) says:

    Labour make a false return?

    Yeah… NAAAAH….

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  21. BeaB (2,067 comments) says:

    Antoines is irrelevant. They kept to the rules.
    In fact all parties have to do is follow the rules. The problem is Labour thinks the rules don’t apply to them while John Key has been transparent and squeaky clean about declarations. I know our local National electorate committee is scrupulous.
    Mike Williams reckons he knows everything about everyone so why isn’t he being questioned?
    This is a brilliant own goal from Labour and will have spiked their guns today in parliament.
    Unless they follow the same lame line that it’s different when they cheat the system.
    Just listen to Cunliffe on Morning Report today where he claims Labour does everything by the book. Has he forgotten the pledge card?
    And he cannot distance himself by saying he wasn’t the leader. He was a member of the cabinet. Slippery and tricky. No wonder NZ doesn’t like him.

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  22. john (42 comments) says:

    MNM
    Yes they do count. How do you do it? I forget the values off the top of my head but the value of the individual items and buyers are grouped under the name of the organizer and accounted for if the individual thresholds are not broken or if a purchaser does not exceed the annual threshold for party donations. In the event of individual accumulated donations they can be anonymous up to $1500 to a candidate and $15000 to a party, note however that this is an accumulation over the 3 year cycle so giving a $1000 a year for 3 years means the registration of that donation.

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  23. James Stephenson (2,071 comments) says:

    @mike- the total raised by the fundraising dinner is declared as a donation by the organiser of the dinner, the individual diners’ contributions fall below the level at which they need to be declared. IIRC from a dpf post the other day, if an individual makes a contribution above the threshold (such as winning an auction at that dinner) then that does also need to be disclosed.

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  24. BeaB (2,067 comments) says:

    ross12
    We now know John Banks couldn’t be bought. His refusal to do special favours showed us he is a man of integrity.

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  25. WineOh (570 comments) says:

    So not only have they got their hands dirty again, but also have sh!t record keeping as well?
    Or are they going to try to pretend that since it was a ‘purchase’ transaction it doesn’t count as a donation & exempt?

    Queue all future fundraising donations- no longer actually donated but purchasing quangos like signed books, bottles of wine, and paintings at massively inflated prices.

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  26. burt (7,945 comments) says:

    Komata

    Now perhaps I’m wrong, and there is absolutely NO political-bias attached, but where is Penelope Bright in this?

    I commented a few days back that if she doesn’t like paying for water ( water meters yada yada ) then she shouldn’t live in a city. I think she’s moving this week.

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  27. Tom Barker (114 comments) says:

    “His refusal to do special favours showed us he is a man of integrity.”

    Maybe the price just wasn’t high enough.

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  28. Nick R (498 comments) says:

    Meanwhile, McCready (who had said he wasn’t going to do any more private prosecutions) has just filed new charges against the PM. Doubt it will go anywhere, but after he got Banks’ scalp, who would know?

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10166472/PM-officer-targeted-in-new-Banks-case-charges

    I guess that’s why DPF is trying the old “look over there” trick with this post.

    [DPF: 20 demerits and stop being a fuckwit. I hadn;t even seen that story until you posted it.]

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  29. burt (7,945 comments) says:

    James Stephenson

    @mike- the total raised by the fundraising dinner is declared as a donation by the organiser of the dinner, the individual diners’ contributions fall below the level at which they need to be declared. IIRC from a dpf post the other day, if an individual makes a contribution above the threshold (such as winning an auction at that dinner) then that does also need to be disclosed when it’s a National party dinner.

    There – fixed that for you.

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  30. burt (7,945 comments) says:

    Nick R

    Key will be fine for this prosecution. Precedent is set, he just puts parliament into urgency and retrospectively validates whatever he did and we all move on. Doing this is also likely to make his supporters say he’s the best PM ever.

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  31. mjw (289 comments) says:

    What was the law at the time on charity auctions? We cannot retrospectively apply current legislation.

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  32. Graeme Edgeler (3,272 comments) says:

    A prosecution is time-barred.

    Suspect this wasn’t declared for the same reason that the apparent $200,000 fundraiser (as reported by the NBR) run by National in 2007 wasn’t declared.

    There are quotes from the NBR article here: http://liberation.typepad.com/liberation/2010/12/pansy-wongs-dubious-solicitation-of-political-funding.html

    One donor apparently paid $50,000 for John Key’s tie. This seems pretty analogous to buying Clark’s book. My guess is that National’s fundraiser was washed through the Waitemata Trust, and Labour’s was done similarly, either the funds raised were all donated in the name of one of the other donors, or went through one of the lawyer’s trust accounts. If you’ve evidence it wasn’t, I look forward to seeing it, but, as I note at the beginning, it’s too late to do anything about it now. And of course, it was three Labour leaders ago!

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  33. KevOB (265 comments) says:

    The $15000 payment was not then a donation: it was simply the purchase for consideration of a possible $20 paperback bearing the then prime ministers signature. Who would attempt to assess the value of that and base a prosecution on it? Labour had a competent team of rortists in those days culminating in the pledge card biggie.

    There was talk publicly about that donation at the time if I remember right.

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  34. PaulL (5,961 comments) says:

    @Yoza:

    if Clark makes UN Sec.Gen. then goes on to negotiate an end to all wars and global poverty.

    I give Clark low odds of negotiating an end to all wars. However, given her track record in NZ, I’d give much better odds on her being able to create global poverty.

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  35. burt (7,945 comments) says:

    mjw

    What drugs are you on ???? – do you think that Labour have any concept of what the laws they passed in parliament say. They don’t need to be concerned about such shit, those pesky law things are for others. Labour only need to say ‘others did it too’, ‘the law is confusing’ or ‘it’s how we have always done it’. Then we move on.

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  36. burt (7,945 comments) says:

    PaulL

    Yep, global poverty – global equality – depends on how you view it.

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  37. PaulL (5,961 comments) says:

    @Graeme Edgeler: I was wondering what the statute of limitations was here. Is it based on the filing date, or based on the evidence coming forward of a problem? Is there any other law that this could be prosecuted under – false declarations perhaps?

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  38. kowtow (7,844 comments) says:

    Anonymously buying a book,tie or bottle of wine at a political fund raiser for tens of thousands of dollars isn’t an investment or donation.

    It’s money laundering.Corruption.

    We need a Royal Commission into political corrupt practises here in Aotearoa ,formerly New Zealand.

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  39. alloytoo (445 comments) says:

    @tom

    “Maybe the price just wasn’t high enough.”

    Well we know left wing parties go for about $3 Million don’t we.

    JK could take up a collection from his “rich prick mates”.

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  40. Graeme Edgeler (3,272 comments) says:

    I was wondering what the statute of limitations was here. Is it based on the filing date, or based on the evidence coming forward of a problem?

    Filing date. At the time, the time limit was 6 months.

    Is there any other law that this could be prosecuted under – false declarations perhaps?

    Unlikely. At the time, donation returns didn’t need to be accompanied by statutory declarations. This only happened under the Electoral Finance Act (which wasn’t then in force). Despite National saying they would keep the EFA’s heightened disclosure rules, this bit was left out of National’s replacement election donations law.

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  41. thedavincimode (6,573 comments) says:

    Ya see milky, now you’ve made me mention the cash for access scheme your mates ran at their conference.

    Although the comparison raises a good point. Is the nats ticket pricing so much higher than the liebour conference stalls because the nats are more corruptible and represent value for money, or was it because liebour are price-takers because they are just awful and nobody wants anything to do with them?

    Rhetorical question – because I know what your reply is – even if you don’t actually believe it.

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  42. mikemikemikemike (314 comments) says:

    Please stop trying to diminish John Bank’s fuck up by saying Labour did it to. The right are supposed to be better than that. It really has made for pathetic reading lately.

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  43. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Maybe the piece of shit McCready will have Fairfax journos fund a charge against Labour . . . Yeh Right!

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  44. ross001 (135 comments) says:

    Labour’s 2007 return looks very suspect unless they can answer the question of who was the donation made to in Labour, and was it declared – and if so, under what name.

    Actually, it is up to those making any allegations to prove they are true. Was a donation made?

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  45. ross001 (135 comments) says:

    it’s too late to do anything about it now. And of course, it was three Labour leaders ago!

    Yeah you’d think DPF would be talking about National’s policies. It’s safe to assume, then, that National’s performance isn’t worth mentioning.

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  46. Judith (8,211 comments) says:

    Here we go again, the perpetual game of tennis – your serve – now mine.

    They are all playing the game with the same amount of gusto (also known as dishonesty).

    I’m sure Labour has ‘forgotten’ to declare this – however, their forgetfulness doesn’t seem to be as severe as Banks, who was personally involved in the transaction process. Cunliffe, despite his looking like a chinless frog, I believe wasn’t actually physically involved – however, as he felt he was the better person than Shearer, it is his job to know – therefore we can officially say – he’s a bad boy too.

    However, like tennis, there is always at ‘tit for tat’ going on.

    Yesterday, Davidp suggested Ms Collins transport during her ‘Oravida’ visit was paid for by the Chinese government – if it was, that is fine, and a reciprocal agreement that is provided between nations. No problem with that.

    However, Keepingstock insisted the transport was provided by Stone Shi – and here comes the ‘tat’. A chauffered driven high class vehicle, even in China is not cheap, and the value of the ‘gift’ is such that it must be declared. If that is the case there doesn’t appear to be any record of Ms Collins declaring that ‘gift’.
    Okay – your serve !! :-)

    (when will you accept that they are all playing the same game – riding the pigs back – the winner is the team that discovers the most bad things about the other).

    Now, can anyone actually tell me whether any of the parties propose that GST will change in the next three years, will our nuclear free status be altered, or whether I can expect to pay more for prescriptions etc? Or do we have to base our vote on who the least dishonest MP is?

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  47. wreck1080 (3,778 comments) says:

    I don’t understand why left wing supporters are bringing up some national dinner at antoines .

    Labour imply that breaking the law is justified, as long as National party also does so (even though labour are incorrect on this). This is an attempt to distract from the issue.

    Each case needs to be dealt with separately. This red herring is typical of the deceitful behaviour coming from labour and does them no favours in the public eye. They need to man up, confess, move on. Rather than drag it out on the approach to the election.

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  48. Keeping Stock (10,161 comments) says:

    BeaB said

    Just listen to Cunliffe on Morning Report today where he claims Labour does everything by the book.

    Would that be the same book that was signed by Helen Clark and sold to Donghua Liu for $15k?

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  49. Judith (8,211 comments) says:

    @ Keeping Stock (9,985 comments) says:
    June 17th, 2014 at 10:44 am

    LOL – you’re being very witty this morning. That actually made me laugh!!

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  50. Judith (8,211 comments) says:

    wreck1080 (3,640 comments) says:
    June 17th, 2014 at 10:43 am
    I don’t understand why left wing supporters are bringing up some national dinner at antoines .

    Labour imply that breaking the law is justified, as long as National party also does so (even though labour are incorrect on this). This is an attempt to distract from the issue.

    And yet, when National use the excuse that Labour has done ‘it’ – it is acceptable? Can you please explain how that is that labour are incorrect, are you implying it is correct for National to do it?

    Each case needs to be dealt with separately.

    No it doesn’t, there needs to be an independent enquiry into these types of situations and rules adjusted if necessary, to ensure that it ceases, and the government gets on with running the country – instead of the MP’s looking only slightly better than the Rimutaka inmates.

    This red herring is typical of the deceitful behaviour coming from labour and does them no favours in the public eye.

    They all need to ‘man’ up and confess, including Collins (even though she is not a man). Or, we need to investigate the entire lot and make what ever changes necessary to ensure there is no incentive for this type of corruption FROM ALL OF THEM.

    Rather than drag it out on the approach to the election.

    Exactly who is dragging it out? They are all guilty of that one – this thread being a prime example.

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  51. Judith (8,211 comments) says:

    @ kowtow (7,263 comments) says:
    June 17th, 2014 at 10:02 am

    I totally agree. They are all at it and it is distracting from the things that should be of concern.

    If the system is so slack that it allows for constant fiddling of the books – then the system needs to be tightened. And some one needs to remind these MP’s who pays their bloody wages and therefore, who they are answerable to.

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  52. Komata (1,138 comments) says:

    KS

    No, that would be the book she signed AFTER practising her signature on the piece of art she presented as being ‘all her own work’ (which it wasn’t)…

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  53. BeaB (2,067 comments) says:

    Judith said
    “a chauffered driven high class vehicle, even in China is not cheap, and the value of the ‘gift’ is such that it must be declared.”

    Actually, in China anyone with any money or influence or position has a car and driver.

    It is one of the joys of visiting friends, being chauffeured everywhere and then the driver (usually ex-army) sitting at the banquet with you, rather than waiting outside as in the West.

    I think you are getting a bit desperate. John Key has an excellent record of making declarations transparent (the first PM to do so) and expecting quick corrections if mistakes are made as they often are (shock horror) by non-perfect human beings.

    Perhaps it might be more instructive, rather than working yourself into a lather over a ride in a friend’s car, for you to take a close look at the Labour Government’s gifts, perks, expenses, donations and declarations. All done before Key opened them to scrutiny. I bet there’s a rich resource for you to agonise over.

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  54. Judith (8,211 comments) says:

    @ BeaB (2,030 comments) says:
    June 17th, 2014 at 11:01 am

    But I wasn’t talking about John Key – I’m sure he is very particular about his books, given that the wolves are constantly at his door.

    The statement was that she was given the use of the transport – or that it was provided for her. That is a gift. That gift must be declared. Had that gift not be given, then she would have had that transport paid for, from our coffers. Which if that was the case – she would have used our money to pay for her transport to the private dinner. Either way she is in the wrong.

    My example is merely to point out how they are all on the pigs back and feeding from the trough. There is only one person that appears to be in a lather, and that is you dear – who seems unable to accept that National MP’s are no better than the others when it comes to not playing exactly by the rules.

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  55. ross411 (283 comments) says:

    flipper (3,377 comments) says:
    June 17th, 2014 at 9:35 am
    Labour make a false return?

    Yeah… NAAAAH….

    I don’t see why they need to. They basically just ignore the rules anyway. Even their chief of staff Matt McCarten just took taxpayer money and fraudulently gave it to the Labour party. I can’t understand why the IRD didn’t prosecute him for tax fraud, since he admitted as such in a newspaper article.

    Yes, I bring this up often in the comments here, but those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, and all that.

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  56. ross411 (283 comments) says:

    BeaB (2,030 comments) says:
    June 17th, 2014 at 11:01 am
    Judith said
    “a chauffered driven high class vehicle, even in China is not cheap, and the value of the ‘gift’ is such that it must be declared.”

    Actually, in China anyone with any money or influence or position has a car and driver.

    Thank you for calling someone out, on their made up nonsense. Many people on this blog just say any old nonsense which they’ve never looked into, whether it be about Mother Teresa (actually a sadistic embezzler) or China.

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  57. Brian Smaller (4,013 comments) says:

    Please stop trying to diminish John Bank’s fuck up by saying Labour did it to. The right are supposed to be better than that. It really has made for pathetic reading lately.

    The right are always being held to standards of behaviour by the left who don’t have any.

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  58. Nigel Kearney (902 comments) says:

    I don’t care where Labour or National get their money or how much. Law breaking may be of interest to some but the laws in this area are much too restrictive so I’m fine with turning a blind eye to it.

    This is only an issue because of ministers interfering in immigration decisions, which seems very common but should just not happen ever. It’s no different than interfering in a police decision to prosecute.

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  59. itstricky (1,678 comments) says:

    Wow, that was a bit rough of Mess. Farrar. 20 demerits for what exactly? How did he/she know whether you had seen the other story or not? Why doesn’t mikemikemike get the same treatment? I’m usually quite relaxed about the whole ‘open discussion’ thing and watch with interest reports of censoring on other blogs.

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  60. mikemikemikemike (314 comments) says:

    Hey!! don’t try and taint my good name!

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  61. lilman (909 comments) says:

    jUDITH,labour switched on their computers early I see !!!!!

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  62. Judith (8,211 comments) says:

    Actually, in China anyone with any money or influence or position has a car and driver.

    As you point out, anyone with money, influence or position has a car and a driver – but Ms Collins doesn’t live in China, and if the use of the car she used was GIFTED to her – the value of that ‘gift’ being over the limit, and therefore should be declared.

    I fail to see where your last point does anything but confirm my argument. Thanks for that. :P

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  63. OneTrack (2,729 comments) says:

    mjw – “What was the law at the time on charity auctions? We cannot retrospectively apply current legislation.”

    Unless you are the Labour government. Then you can do anything.

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  64. OneTrack (2,729 comments) says:

    burt – “Yep, global poverty – global equality – depends on how you view it.”

    And government supplied clothing – in grey, one size fits all.

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  65. itstricky (1,678 comments) says:

    Sorry mikemikemike – just an example ;-)

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