Liu granted residency by O’Connor the day before the 2005 election

July 3rd, 2014 at 7:07 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A former Labour Minister intervened three times in the immigration bid of including waiving the English language requirement for the millionaire businessman.

Damien O’Connor, in his role as the associate Immigration Minister, wrote three letters to Liu’s advisor Warren Kyd – the former National Party MP – before deciding to grant residency against the advice of officials the day before the 2005 election.

This is highly unusual timing. Why would you make the decision the day before the election? Most Mnisters will only make the most urgent of decisions once the election campaign is on, and Parliament has risen.

Even more unusual is that Damien O’Connor was fighting for his political life is a marginal seat. To take time out from campaigning the day before the election, and instead doing non-urgent ministerial work is very odd.

The West Coast MP has said he cannot remember why he granted residency to the businessman whose links to both National and Labour have created political waves this year.

Surely he remembers a case so compelling that he felt he had to make the decision on what could have been his last day as the Minister.

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27 Responses to “Liu granted residency by O’Connor the day before the 2005 election”

  1. Johnboy (15,602 comments) says:

    I suspect Dong claimed he was a coal miner! :)

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  2. wiseowl (835 comments) says:

    And now yet another political person involved in this story.

    Kyd as an advisor.

    Ignore the English speaking requirement?
    Why.Because he is rich?

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  3. Psycho Milt (2,368 comments) says:

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

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  4. wreck1080 (3,820 comments) says:

    My goodness, this liu is more powerful than the PM.

    I never voted for Liu, so how did this happen?

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  5. PaulL (5,983 comments) says:

    @PM: presumably that it’s a bad look to be taking donations from the guy, and then making a last minute decision to grant residency, particularly a grant of residency that required overriding official advice. It has the look of some sort of payoff.

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  6. OneTrack (2,838 comments) says:

    psycho – “And, your point? Presumably there has to be one in there somewhere – feel free to commit it to print…”

    Labour are hypocrites. Again.

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  7. goldnkiwi (1,179 comments) says:

    I wonder what else O’Connor did on that day? It does seem bizarre and other people must know the answers too. ;) Such fun.

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  8. MH (693 comments) says:

    In expectation of winning he’d just cracked open a bottle of Ace of Spades Champagne. C’est la vita briks.

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  9. Rex Widerstrom (5,330 comments) says:

    As much fun as it may be pointing and laughing at Labour, there’s something more important going on here.

    As wreck1080 says, Liu is wielding more power than the PM. Yet he got in to our country without knowing English – which every other migrant must – and at one point seems to have tried it with an altered / fake photo.

    Why?

    Either a large carrot – much larger than the relatively trifling $100,000 disclosed so far. Or a big stick.

    And if a foreigner has a stick big enough to intimidate the government of New Zealand, I’d quite like to know what it is.

    And in the meantime, isn’t it time he and his dodgy passport were examined with a view to ascertaining whether it was improperly obtained?

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  10. Johnboy (15,602 comments) says:

    He was a ten million dollar man Rex. Just like Kim. ..Poli’s getting hoist by their own petards are O such fun, specially in election year! :)

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  11. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,834 comments) says:

    God,how pissed must Labour be to find that their bitch gave money to the enemy. LMAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

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  12. greenjacket (437 comments) says:

    Immigration advised not to grant residency to Liu. So Damien O’Connor must have had a very good reason for granting residency. Damien O’Connor needs to come clean and state what that reason was. If he can’t provide a good reason, then the assumption must be that O’Connor granted residency in return for a cash donation, either to himself or to the Labour Party.

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  13. bringbackdemocracy (416 comments) says:

    Red Labour and blue Labour are as bad as each other in their dealings with this individual. Time for a change. A new broom sweeps clean. Bring on the Conservatives.

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  14. Keeping Stock (10,185 comments) says:

    @ Rex – Labour made a major mistake last week when it attacked Liu’s credibility, and suggested he was lying about his donations to Labour.

    Last weekend, Herald editor Tim Murphy dropped a big hint when he tweeted that suggestions the Liu donations story was unravelling were “premature”. In the meantime Liu lawyered up, and started gathering his evidence. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Herald is about to drop a large bomb on the Labour Party, right on the weekend of the party’s election-year congress.

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  15. Warren Murray (293 comments) says:

    The day before the election would not have been his last day as minister, ministers retain their warrants for some time after an election, but your point remains, it seems unusual, given it was not urgent.

    [DPF: It would be improper to make any decisions after the election, until a new Govt has formed]

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  16. polemic (430 comments) says:

    I suspect it was a classic case of …..
    Please help me today…..

    Ka Ching to ……..

    Ignore officials advice

    Ka Ching to the party

    Hey Presto

    Ka Residencing….

    or Vee hav vays of meeking sem tork !!

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  17. RightNow (6,844 comments) says:

    “Kaching” sounds familiar. It’s bad from either party but the point is Labour are guilty on this one. Glass houses and all. Three more years girls

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  18. lilman (934 comments) says:

    This MP is a real tosser,people rate him,Ive dealt with him on 2 occasions,both times he was insulting,borish and failed to mount an argument that was defensible.
    Simply put his attitude was weak,his reasoning poor.
    He was inept and admitted in the end although the policy he was defending was wrong,his hands were tied.
    A joke and were still paying him.

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  19. big bruv (13,571 comments) says:

    I do wonder how much pressure O’Connor came under from people high up in the Labour party to approve this residency. While Klark was to smart to have her grubby fingers all over this it would not surprise me to find out that somebody very close to dear leader decided that O’Connor was going to grant this residency and that was the end of the matter.

    It would be just like Klark to want to insulate herself from any future fallout.

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  20. WineOh (609 comments) says:

    The timing of this reeks to high heaven.

    Remind me, did O’Connor actually contest that seat in the election- there must have been a call from someone saying “if you don’t win your seat, this is the last chance you’ll have…”

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  21. tom hunter (4,576 comments) says:

    And now this other episode – What is “nasty” about building a bridge? – begins to make a lot more sense also. Here’s our host’s interpretation of that rather unConnorish attack on Brownlee the other day in Parliament:

    One can certainly criticise the roading projects as pork-barrel politics. I have no dispute with people characterising it as that.

    But how on earth is that the sign of the campaign being “dirty” or “nasty”. O’Connor’s speech in Parliament against Gerry Brownlee was personal and nasty. But funding a bridge is not dirty or nasty. O’Connor is trying to make himself a victim.

    My interpretation of O’Connor’s statements is that he intends to run a dirty nasty campaign, and is trying to convince people National is doing the same.

    I think the interpretation now is that Damian O’Connor knew that a sword was hanging over his head and the lashing out we saw was fear. He’s no-mates inside the Labour party and if he has to be sacrificed to make this story go away then Labour will put that down to the general election loss anyway and look to win the West Coast back later on – with a candidate more acceptable to Wellington HO. From their perspective a win-win even as they fall short of gaining the levers of power.

    But I genuinely can not comprehend how anyone can rationally call a bridge funding decision dirty and nasty. It’s just hysteria.

    Fear can manifest as hysteria DPF. In this case the fear may be genuine.

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  22. freemark (520 comments) says:

    How many of the ABC’s will remain at the trough if Labour reaches 20% this year? How many are in “safe” seats?

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  23. altiora (221 comments) says:

    It’s all going to come out in the wash. This is great!

    More seriously though, the Liu affair (together with DotCon) suggests that we need to make three major reforms in order to guard our democracy against corruption:

    1. Allow political donations only from individual (ie not corporates, trusts, unions, churches etc) citizens;
    2. Strip the Minister of Immigration of any ability to act contrary to Departmental advice not to grant citizenship or permanent residency; the Ministerial discretion should be vested in a retired High Court judge or a committee.
    3. Establish an anti-corruption commission with kick-ass powers.

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  24. Igotta Numbum (446 comments) says:

    Of further interest, and in light of Brash’s Orewa speech, did we see an increase in the number of citizenships granted in the 6 months leading up to the 2005 election?

    Liu might be the tip of the iceberg.

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  25. burt (8,044 comments) says:

    That 2005 election …… It produced NZ’s first retrospectively validated PM. A very disgraceful time for Labour.

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  26. tvb (4,261 comments) says:

    This is very odd indeed. I suspect he was told by somebody else to do this so he did. Leaving it until the day before the election does not look good. But paperwork can slip in the run-up to an election especially when he is busy doing that. He probably made some time on that last day to clean up a whole lot of paperwork before the caretaker rules kicked in post election.

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  27. altiora (221 comments) says:

    I don’t think it is “very odd” tvb. I suspect Labour just wanted to ensure its side of the bargain was met in circumstances where electoral defeat was nigh. I am just hoping that National hasn’t also got waist deep in similar muck.

    We must change the immigration rules to stop dubious wealthy foreigners buying their way into this country.

    Liu may claim that he was entirely benign in his motives, and he is entirely correct that it is for political parties to declare his donations, but he is someone who has been brought up in a country where political patronage is the norm and secured by “favours”. I doubt Liu is perspicacious enough to see that, whether deliberately or not, he was acting in a manner considered perfectly normal in China yet not accepted by the NZ public (at least). And this all leads me to believe that the Department had perfectly sound reasons along with his lack of English skills, to consider that he wouldn’t be a desirable permanent immigrant.

    I feel sorry for the many good Chinese immigrants in this country, who moved to New Zealand in order to escape the political patronage system, and fear an upsurge in anti-Chinese sentiment if there are further dodgy wealthy Chinese businessmen whose interactions with NZ’s political system are similar to Liu’s.

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