The Herald reports:
A wealthy Auckland businessman, whose links to the National Party led to a minister’s resignation, also made a secret $15,000 donation to the Labour Party – and hosted a Cabinet minister at a lavish dinner in China.
The Labour Party has previously accused the Government of “cash for access” deals with Donghua Liu, who received citizenship after lobbying from National minister Maurice Williamson and whose hotel was later opened by Prime Minister John Key.
But the Herald can reveal Liu, 53, also paid $15,000 at a Labour Party auction in 2007 for a book signed by Helen Clark, the Prime Minister at the time, according to a party source.
The source said Liu also hosted Rick Barker, the then Internal Affairs Minister, at a dinner in his hometown of Chongqing.
Mr Barker, who is now a regional councillor in Hawkes Bay, confirmed he was a guest at the dinner and also visited Liu’s cement company while on holiday in China.
But he said he was not aware Liu was a Labour donor and he was not in China on official business as a minister.
“I went to China to catch up with some friends of mine, see some sights … and I made a side trip to Chongqing – I had not been to the city before.
“I was in the city a short time. Mr Liu showed me his business and that night, I attended a dinner which seemed to be a dinner he had put on for all his staff.”
However, Mr Barker could not remember how he came to be invited to visit Liu in Chongqing.
He said it was “probable” he also had dinner with Liu in New Zealand.
“I am trying to recall events of over seven years ago, so it’s a little challenging. But it can’t have been a regular event, because if it was I would recall that. In fact my contact with Liu fell away quite quickly.”
Political donations made at fundraising auctions or dinners are not recorded individually, but the total amount raised is declared.
That statement is not correct.
If a donation at an auction or dinner is larger than the disclosure threshold it must be declared with the identity of the individual who made it.
The disclosure limit in 2007 was $10,000. Liu donated $15,000 to Labour. The party should have declared him as a donor.
Also the article says the total amount raised at the dinner was declared? Where? In Labour’s 2007 return the only donors listed are:
- three law firms on behalf of anonymous donors
- four corporates
- Chhour Lim Nam for $25,000
- Steven Wong for $19,000
So was the $15,000 part of the last two?
National declared its donation from Donghua Liu, which is the correct thing to do. The transparency of revealing significant donors allows the scrutiny which has occurred. However once again Labour is exposed as concealing the names of its donors.
Why did they not disclose Liu as a donor in 2007? The threshold was $10,000.