TV3 has got rather excited that John Key recently met with Michael, Lord Ashcroft (best known for $200,000 reward for the return fo the VCs). Lord Ashcroft is a Deputy Chairman of the UK Conservative Party and Treasurer of the International Democratic Union.
Now I hope there is nothing wrong with meeting Lord Ashcroft, as I’ve done so a dozen times. He’s a very funny, very smart guy.
TV3 are trying to link the meeting into being like Winston getting donations from Owen Glenn. However the law is very clear – Lord Ashcroft can not donate more than $1,000 to a NZ political party directly or indirectly. Incidentally Owen Glenn can still donate as much as he wants, because Labour specifically changed the Electoral Finance Bill to allow foreign expats such as Glenn to still give donations even though they have not lived her for 40 years.
On one point TV3 have a fair point. Key was evasive when asked if Ashcroft has met with anyone from National, saying “Yes, I think they have”. He did give a more helpful direct answer to the question whether he had personally met Ashcroft, replying “Yes I have. I met him at my home”. By not giving the direct answer to the initial question, John makes it look like there is something to hide, even though there isn’t.