DIRTY POLITICS EXCLUSIVE: The Donghua Liu Affair: One Year On

By   /   July 10, 2015  /   59 Comments

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The full story of the NZ Herald’s manufactured hate campaign against David Cunliffe – how can mainstream media get away with such dirty politics?

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composite header - donghua Liu Affair - v2

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1. The Stage is Set

Just over one year ago, the NZ Herald published a series of stories relating to a then-eleven year old letter written by then-Labour leader, David Cunliffe; alleged “big donations” made to the Labour Party by migrant businssman, Donghua Liu; and other assorted (and somewhat dubious) allegations of “impropriety”.

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NZ Herald - Businessman gifts $150k to Labour Party - Donghua Liu - David Cunliffe - letter for immigration nz

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NZ Herald - Businessman gifts $150k to Labour Party - Donghua Liu - john armstrong - david cunliffe resignation

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NZ Herald - Businessman gifts $150k to Labour Party - Donghua Liu - David Cunliffe - $100,000 bottle wine

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A time-line of events is outlined here: The Donghua Liu Affair:  Damn lies, dirty tricks, and a docile media

Judging by the activities of the office of the Minister for Immigration; TV3 journalist, Brook Sabin; NZ Herald personnel Shayne Curry, Tim Murphy,  Jared Savage,  and John Armstrong;  blogger Cameron Slater, and assorted right-wingers, it is also evident that there was a high degree of collusion between these parties.

One day before the Herald launched it’s “exclusive” that David Cunliffe had written an eleven year old letter on behalf of Donghua Liu, right-wing blogger “Barnsley Bill” (Russell Beaumont) posted this cryptic comment on blog, ‘The Dim Post‘;

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barnsley bill - russell beaumont - donghua liu - nz herald - the dim post

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Hours before Jared Savage’s story (David Cunliffe wrote letter supporting Liu’s residency bid) went live on-line at 2.29PM, Twitter chatter between the Herald’s Editor, Shayne Currie, and sundry right-wing characters were gleefully anticipating the release;

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shayne-curry-twitter-nz-herald-donghua-liu-david-cunliffe-immigration-nz1

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Some Tweets have been deleted by their authors – but the screenshot above is a permanent record of  the conversation. (Acknowledgement to  co-writer, ‘Hercules’, for uncovering this part of the story.)

But the ‘clincher’ was this post, on far-right blog, ‘Whaleoil‘, published at 12.57PM – an hour and a half before the Herald published Savage’s story at 2.29PM;

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donghua liu - nz herald - whaleoil - cameron slater - jared savage - david cunliffe

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See full story revealed here: The Donghua Liu Affair: The Players Revealed

Even the Prime Minister could not resist chipping in with his own “nudge, nudge, wink, wink” reference to being privy to more information, as he stated the following morning (19 June) after Savage’s story went live. As Savage reported;

Speaking from the East Lawn at the United Nations this morning, Mr Key said he had heard rumours that Mr Liu had given more that $15,000.

“I’ve heard the rumours and we’ll see what actually comes out but I’d be very, very amazed if the amount is $15,000,” he told New Zealand reporters.

Key’s reference to “$15,000” related to allegations made by the Herald that Liu paid that amount for a book autographed by then-Labour leader, Helen Clark. On 16 June, Savage wrote;

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.

On 22 June, Herald journalist, Bevan Hurley, reported on the now-mythical $100,000 bottle of wine;

Millionaire businessman Donghua Liu spent more than $150,000 on the previous Labour government, including $100,000 on a bottle of wine signed by former prime minister Helen Clark at a party fundraiser.

The embarrassing revelations are contained in a signed statement from Liu, which the Herald on Sunday has obtained.

The Herald’s sole informant was migrant businessman, Donghua Liu. (More on this point later.)

2. Retractions

But only three days later, as Labour hit back demanding evidence of Liu’s claims and pressure mounted on the Herald to “put up or shut up”, a new, revised, statement appeared;

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NZ Herald - Donghua Liu's new statement on Labour donations - Donghua Liu - David Cunliffe - $100,000 bottle wine

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Savage wrote;

Liu, to whom Labour gave permanent residency against official advice, says his earlier signed statement on the wine auction was “capable of two meanings” and after repeated inquiries from the Herald he says he wants to clarify what he spent the $100,000 on.

[…]

He said the figure was the total payments to Labour and its politicians which included the wine auctions, a $2000 donation to the Hawkes Bay Rowing Club, the Yangtze River trip and anonymous donations to MPs.

“I have no reason to inflate this number. It’s as best as I can remember,” said Liu.

The Herald’s back-tracking continued when this editorial appeared on 27 June 2014;

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NZ Herald - Editorial - Cries of bias will not stop reporting - Donghua Liu - David Cunliffe - $100,000 bottle wine

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The editorial bluster continued until the un-named author came to the salient point;

“At the weekend, the Herald on Sunday reported from a signed statement by Liu in which he appeared to claim he spent $100,000 on wine at a Labour fundraiser and $50,000-$60,000 hosting former Labour MP Rick Barker in China. The paper verified the document was from Liu and put its claims to Mr Cunliffe and the Labour Party.

On Wednesday, Liu provided the Herald with another statement, after being pressed for more detail, in which he corrected his previous implication that $100,000 was paid for a bottle of wine and limited his total spend on Labour and its MPs when it was in power to “close to $100,000”.

The Herald immediately published his clarification, with prominence on our website, where it remains, and amended the Herald on Sunday story online. The Sunday paper will publish a clarification this weekend.

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.”

On-line public commentary following the editorial was scathing and in no mood to be mollified by this Clayton’s apology (if that is what it was intended to be). No wonder it was eventually closed down.

3. Press Council Complaint & Consequence

On 5 July 2014, I laid a complaint with the Press Council regarding the nature and content of the Herald stories.  The  complaint referred to several Herald articles omitting to mention Cunliffe’s letter being eleven years old; that no evidence had been presented to support Liu’s claim he had paid $15,000 for a book , nor $100,000 for a bottle of wine; that the Herald had not released the full text of Liu’s signed statement, and other examples of misreporting and lack of evidence.

(Full text of complaint here.)

On 21 August 2014,  the Press Council deliberations yielded it’s decision.

Despite the complaint against the Herald being dismissed by the Press Council (hardly a surprise), it is noteworthy that the Council did issue one admonishment against the paper;

We accept in part the criticism from both Mrs Lyons and Mr Macskasy regarding the reliance on information from Mr Liu only, including his signed statement. It can correctly be distinguished from the Cunliffe letter released under the Official Information Act. We do not consider there is any obligation on a newspaper to publish it in full. While they were entitled to rely on such a statement as part of the factual basis when reporting the paper failed to adhere to a basic tenet of journalism…the need to have confirmation from a second source.

(Full text of Decision here.)

In fact, the entire series of stories emanated from just one man: Donghua Liu. Not only was the businessman’s story uncorroborated, but the Herald was reluctantly forced to concede that several of Liu’s “facts” were simply incorrect.

There is also the strange involvement of Cameron Slater, Russell Beaumont, and other sundry assorted right-wing characters, who were party to the Herald’s story.

On top of which was the even stranger fact that the Herald’s OIA request (made by Jared Savage on 16 June 2014) into Donghua Liu’s immigration was processed within 48 hours – a feat unheard of when it comes to Official Information requests.

(Full text of Immigration NZ letter here. Full story here.)

4. The Herald’s Promises of  more “evidence” and “details” to come

Part of the Herald’s defence was that the Donghua Liu investigation was on-going and more revelations were to follow. The following comments by the Herald’s then-editor-in-chief promised the following;

Tim Murphy, email to Frank Macskasy, 27 June 2014

“We are continuing to investigate the payments from Donghua Liu and the circumstances of his various migration approvals.”

Tim Murphy, email to Frank Macskasy,  4 July 2014

“We fully expect further details to come will show the  Herald’s earlier reporting to have, as we have known throughout, been accurate and soundly based.”

Murphy made similar commitments to the NZ press Council as part of their defence against complaints in the handling of Dongthua Liu’s allegations;

Tim Murphy, email, 7 July 2014 & NZ Herald statement to NZ Press Council, 15 July 2014;

“We stand by our report that a book was purchased and expect further ‘evidence’ of this to be made public shortly.”

Tim Murphy, ibid

“You seem to have accepted without question MP Rick Barker’s claim he attended only a staff party in China.  We do not accept this and expect further details of the hospitality for him and others in China to be revealed in due course.”

To date, no further evidence, nor details, have been forth-coming.

I wrote to Shayne Currie, the Herald’s recently-appointed editor, asking;

It is now one year on from the Donghua Liu Affair, which ranged from 18 June 2014, to 27 June 2014, when  several allegations were made regarding David Cunliffe, Rick Barker, and the NZ Labour Party.

At least one of those allegations (a so-called “$100,000 bottle of wine”) was retracted by your paper. Another allegation, of a so-called “$15,000 book signed by Helen Clark”, was never proven.
Two complaints to the NZ Press Council were, for the most part, not upheld, though your paper was roundly criticised for sole reliance on only one source (Donghua Liu), and not confirmed from a second source. The Press Council stated in it’s findings that this was a failure of a basic tenet of journalism.
On several occassions, the then-editor of the Herald, Tim Murphy,  stated that the investigation into this story was on-going and expected further details and evidence to emerge.
I refer you to statements made by Murphy;
[See statements above by Tim Murphy]
As it has now been exactly one year since the Donghua Liu Affair, are you able to advise me as to what further “details” and “evidence” the Herald’s “continuing investigations” have uncovered?
I will be seeking comment from other ‘players’ in this story, and felt it fair that I seek your comments as well, to present some degree of balance.
I will be happy to present any comment you wish to make, verbatim.

As this story is published, Currie has not replied to my emailed questions.

5. A response from Labour’s Mike Williams

Former Labour Party President, Mike Williams, was more forthcoming when I questioned him on the Donghua Liu Affair. On 8 July, Williams told me;

“I was incensed by this. Because if the Labour Party had picked up $150,000 I would’ve known about it.”

This was all founded on bullshit. There were no donations from Donghua Liu. Not a cent.”

Williams was scathing of the manner of the Herald’s reporting of Donghua Liu’s claims;

“This story was just total bullshit, it was front page bullshit. They kind of withdrew from it, but it did damage the Labour Party at a time when it didn’t need much damage.

There’s gotta be a withdrawal or apology, I would have thought.”

6A. Conclusion

In a previous chapter of the Donghua Liu Affair (The OIA Gambit), ‘Hercules’ and I wrote;

What appears to be an orchestrated  Beehive plot to dig dirt for throwing at Labour leader, David Cunliffe, ahead of a crucial parliamentary debate is revealed in a paper trail linking Immigration Minister, Michael Woodhouse, and the Parliamentary Press Gallery offices of the New Zealand Herald and TV3.

Hatched in National’s anticipation of a hammering in a debate on Wednesday 18 June (note the date) prompted by the resignation of ACT leader, John Banks, the plot was pivotal on having Cunliffe first deny helping Auckland businessman Donghua Liu with his residency application – before producing an eleven-year-old letter from Immigration’s files as proof that the Opposition leader was either a liar or had suffered serious brain fade.

On its own, the letter was innocuous…

…What is certain is that the real reason for the urgent 48-hour response to the OIA requests was to ensure that the Cunliffe letter was in the public domain by midday on Wednesday 18 June.

The same day that the government was facing a torrid questioning by the Opposition after the conviction and resignation of ACT MP, John Banks. A government that desperately needed a credible diversion. Relying on another beneficiary-bashing story from Paula Bennett was simply not tenable.

This was the a Dirty Trick of the highest order, involving an eleven year old letter; complicit media looking for another  easy sensational news story; Ministers with connections to right wing bloggers; and journalists who run with the pack instead of asking questions that might yield real answers.

As they say in law enforcement circles; Motive. Means. Opportunity.

The government had all three.

This was the real story behind the Donghua Liu Affair.

However, there is more to it than that.

The motivation of the National government to smear and destroy David Cunliffe’s credibility is fairly obvious. With National facing an election later that year (2014), a resurgent Labour Party led by a new leader was the last thing they needed.

But there were two other players in this Affair…

6B. Donghua Liu

As I wrote in a previous chapter on this Affair (The impending final act and curtain-fall in this smear-campaign), the Herald came into possession of the first of two statements by Donghua Liu (neither of which have ever been released publicly, despite ongoing demands for transparency);

The date on Liu’s “signed statement” – 3 May – was only two days after Maurice Williamson’s enforced resignation after being found out attempting to influence a police investigation into Liu’s assault on two women.

The close timing of Williamson’s resignation and the date on Liu’s “signed statement” was a critical mistake on the part of those responsible for this smear campaign. It ties the two events together. I believe Key’s senior media strategist, Jason Ede, and right-wing blogger, Cameron Slater were probably involved.

The motive for the smear campaign was an act of utu, in retaliation for Labour prosecuting revelations against Maurice Williamson.

Interestingly, the Herald political reporter who wrote the Donghua Liu stories made a passing reference to Maurice Williamson as well, in an email to me dated 17 July, last year;

It all started with queries about his citizenship while the Nats were in power, against advice, specifically after Maurice Williamson writing an email in support in 2010…it eventually led to Mr Williamson’s resignation as a Minister for intervening in a police matter and the discovery that Liu was also lobbying Immigration Minister Woodhouse to change policy. –  Jared Savage, email, Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 11:27 PM

From several media reports, it seemed clear that the relationship between Donghua Liu and Maurice Williamson was more than just a formal MP-Constituent relationship. They appeared to be good friends;

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Liu, who has close ties with the minister, was arrested in December last year following a domestic violence incident…  He had previously lobbied his colleagues to grant Liu citizenship against official advice. Liu’s citizenship was approved in 2010 by then Internal Affairs Minister Nathan Guy. He later made a $22,000 donation to the National Party. TV3, 1 May 2014

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National MP Maurice Williamson lobbied a ministerial colleague to give New Zealand citizenship “as fast as possible” to a wealthy businessman – then conducted the ceremony himself the day after citizenship was granted against the recommendation of officials.The urgent VIP ceremony, believed to have taken place in Mr Williamson’s electoral office, is another close link between the former Minister and millionaire property developer Donghua Liu, who has donated $22,000 to the National Party previously. – NZ Herald, 1 May 2014

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He [Maurice Williamson] later revealed that Liu owned a bach next to his family’s house at Pauanui, and the MP had used the property and performed minor repair work on the house when Liu was in China.“I’m a fan of being a handyman and the house was good to be able to use while we were doing it,” he told Campbell Live.Mr Williamson recommended the neighbouring holiday home to Liu when it went on the market.  He also said he had eaten dinner with Liu as part of a group five or six times. – Otago Daily Times, 2 May 2014

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When Williamson resigned his ministerial portfolio on 1 May 2014,  Donghua Liu no doubt noticed his friend’s misfortune, and conveniently  supplied his statement to the NZ Herald three days later.

Donghua Liu could not have been too happy at the downfall of his ‘mate’, and was eager to exact revenge against the Labour leader, David Cunliffe.

One of the few remaining questions is; who put him (Liu) up to it? Who could have prompted a migrant businessman, with poor command of the english language, to make a formal statement, and ensure it made it’s way to the Herald’s offices?

It had to be someone well-connected with the National government; who had experience with ‘dirty tricks’; links with media; and who has/had a working relationship with right-wing blogger, Cameron Slater (who, don’t forget, published Jared Savage’s Donghua Liu story on Whaleoil one and a half hours before it appeared on the Herald’s own website!).

I think we all know who fits that ‘job description‘.

6C. NZ Herald

If, as evidence indicates, the Donghua Liu story was a cunningly concocted smear-campaign run by the National Party to discredit David Cunliffe, they needed someone – a willing ‘patsy’ –  to make the allegations of “hidden donations”. That man was Donghua Liu, loyal friend of disgraced Minister, Maurice Williamson.

They also needed a compliant media outlet who could be ‘tipped’ off about Cunliffe’s 2003 letter on behalf of Donghua Liu. That media outlet would be the NZ Herald. More specifically, Jared Savage, who has admitted to regular contact with right-wing blogger, Cameron Slater.

How did Herald Reporter, Jared Savage, know to lodge an OIA request on 16 June 2014 with Immigration Minister Woodhouse’s office, seeking, “Any correspondence, including emails, letters or queries, from any Members of Parliament in regards to Donghua Liu’s immigration status prior to 2005″.

Why was Savage’s OIA request granted within 48 hours – a feat unheard off when it come to this government responding to OIA requests by journalists, bloggers, members of the public, etc. (See:  The OIA Gambit)?

Was the Herald knowingly complicit in a smear campaign against David Cunliffe?

This blogger thinks not.

In which case, what was the Herald’s involvement?

Simply put, National’s “black ops” team  manufactured a story against Cunliffe using a twelve year old letter, and a bogus statement (note; it was not a signed, witnessed affidavit, which has greater legal standing than simply a signed statement) by a friend of Maurice Williamson – Donghua Liu.

Through Jared Savage, the Herald was offered an “exclusive”,  despite having no corroborating evidence nor a second source to back up Liu’s claims – a fact pointed out by the Press Council as a critical mistake. Remember that the NZ Press Council, in it’s decision (see:  The Press Council’s decision) on complaints laid against the Herald, stated;

While they were entitled to rely on such a statement [from Liu] as part of the factual basis when reporting the paper failed to adhere to a basic tenet of journalism…the need to have confirmation from a second source.

There could be no “second source”. Because it was all a concocted lie.

Whether or not the Herald’s editor at the time (Tim Murphy), Shayne Currie, or Jared Savage suspected that the Donghua Liu story was a pack of lies is moot.

What is indisputable is that the Herald was handed – on a plate – an exclusive story that ultimately aided in the destruction of David Cunliffe’s political career.

For the NZ Herald, that was the “pay off”; an exclusive story. They were not going to turn away from such a sensational story – especially when a competitor such as TV3 could run with it.

Shayne Currie and Tim Murphy may have been aware that Liu’s claims were bogus, but they were willing to sacrifice their journalistic integrity to throw caution to the wintry winds of Wellington’s politics and run with it anyway.

The fact that the Herald’s current editor, Shayne Currie, has not made any form of reply to my email indicates that the Donghua Liu Affair  is a story that they would rather quietly ‘went away’.

It is a unusual when a media outlet will not defend it’s own and one has to ask the obvious question – why?

Because the Donghua Liu Affair, as reported by the Herald in June and July last year, was a fabrication from beginning to end.

Otherwise, where is the new ‘evidence’ and ‘details’ promised by then-editor, Tim Murphy? Like Liu’s claims, Murphy’s promises were empty.

 

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Addendum1

Tim Murphy was given an opportunity to answer questions relating to the Donghua Liu Affair. A near-identical email to the one sent to Shayne Currie has not been responded to.

Addendum2

On 16 June this year – nearly the exact anniversary of the Herald publishing it’s first Donghua Liu story on 18 June 2014 – all domestic violence charges were dropped against Mr Liu.

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References

NZ Herald: David Cunliffe wrote letter supporting Liu’s residency bid

NZ Herald: John Armstrong: Cunliffe’s resignation may be in order

NZ Herald: Businessman gifts $150k to Labour Party

The Dim Post: June Polls – Barnsley Bill

Twitter: Shayne Currie @ShayneCurrieNZH

Whaleoil: BREAKING – David Cunliffe’s career, such as it was, is over [ UPDATED ]

NZ Herald: Key on Liu-Labour Link – More to come

NZ Herald: Under-fire donor gave to Labour too

NZ Herald: Donghua Liu’s new statement on Labour donations

TV3: Maurice Williamson resigns as minister

NZ Herald: Maurice Williamson conducted citizenship ceremony himself

Otago Daily Times: Williamson used Liu’s holiday home

NZ Herald: Editorial – Ministers and immigration shouldn’t mix

Fairfax media: Jason Ede still has Beehive access

NZ Herald: Jason Ede resigns from the National Party after Dirty Politics scandal

NZ Herald: Collins resigns – Jared Savage and Fran O’Sullivan respond

NZ Herald: Domestic violence charges against millionaire businessman dropped

Previous related blogposts

The Donghua Liu Affair:  Damn lies, dirty tricks, and a docile media

The Donghua Liu Affair threatens to unravel – PM and NZ Herald caught up in a dirty trick campaign?

The Donghua Liu Affair: the impending final act and curtain-fall in this smear-campaign

The Donghua Liu Affair: The first step to a complaint to the Press Council

The Donghua Liu Affair: responses from NZ Herald and Prime Minister’s Office – Is the PM’s office fudging?

The Donghua Liu Affair: Evidence of Collusion between the NZ Herald and Immigration NZ?

The Donghua Liu Affair: the Press Council’s decision

The Donghua Liu Affair: The OIA Gambit

The Donghua Liu Affair:  The Players Revealed

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Dirt Unit

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59 Comments

  1. Kingi says:

    As far as I know, John Campbell was the only journo to try to track down Jason Ede, who is still hiding under his rock. Why hasn’t he been dragged out and held to account? Well done Frank for keeping this story going. The Herald… what can you say? You just want a big Monty Python foot to come down on the lot of them, don’t ya!

    • Thanks, Kingi.

      Folks might want to tune in to Radio NZ’s ‘Nine To Noon’ show, at around 11am this coming Monday. Mike Williams will be discussing this issue on the Political Panel.

      More to come on this?

      • dougal says:

        You really do great articles Frank…

        Big question is, why does labour not sue Liu and the Herald for defamation?

  2. CLEANGREEN says:

    Simple answer frank We are intentionally “Dumbed down by MSM.

    The media is now owned by these Bilderberg NAZI styled Groupies.

    http://freedom-articles.toolsforfreedom.com/us-germany-eu-no-grexit/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheFreedomArticles+%28The+Freedom+Articles%29

    See how powerful they are here with their intentional weakening of the Greek economy and Government, staging of the Greece issue.

    They don’t want Greece to stand on their own feet because they want TO OWN IT ALL, not unlike what they are doing now to NZ. under comrade Key ….

    Quote; “it’s agenda is to weaken all world leadership but their own”. It is also, according to a U.S. law called the Logan Act, [15] illegal:

    http://twochurchesonly.com/supmat/03/most_influential/bilderberg_group/list_of_bilderberg_attendees.pdf

    List of Bilderberg participants 4

    New Zealand

    • John Key (2011-2012), Prime Minister of New Zealand

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Bilderberg

    No Bilderberg meeting agenda has ever been made public. “It is the epitome of low-profile dark ops, a shadow government hidden in a doorway.” According to critics and close observers, it’s agenda is to weaken all world leadership but their own. It is also, according to a U.S. law called the Logan Act, [15] illegal:

    Quote from;
    http://freedom-articles.toolsforfreedom.com/us-germany-eu-no-grexit/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheFreedomArticles+%28The+Freedom+Articles%29#sthash.MvQIaAPb.dpuf

    The US and Germany-Led EU are not about to allow a “Grexit”

    or a Greek exit of the European Union, and probably not even a Grexit of the Euro either. The fact the Greek people voted a decisive “Oxi” or No to further austerity in last Sunday’s referendum is, unfortunately, irrelevant to the real power at the top. The EU was the brainchild of the Bilderberg Group and Nazis who had worked under Hitler such as Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands (a former Nazi SS officer) and Walther Funk. Let us also recall EU founder Jean Monnet, friend of Jesuit and Bilderberger Joseph Retinger, who went on to be called the “Father of Europe”. He described the secret agenda of the EU from the start in a letter to a friend on April 30th, 1952: “Europe’s nations should be guided towards the super-state without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps, each disguised as having an economic purpose, but which will eventually and irreversibly lead to federation.”

    • iain mclean says:

      Cleangreen;
      You can say it, but many may not believe it.

      Nazi’s in the Whitehouse,Pentagon,Westminster,EU and Beehive!

      Interesting link,thank you.

      Cheers.

  3. Blake says:

    Thanks Frank, great work. Just shows again how much the govt. owned media and biased journos like John Armstrong keep the public confused and ill informed.
    Dirty Politics at its ugliest. The local media gets away with it because people are apathetic and not informed and they assume we are being told the truths AND because our govt. owns most of the media now. They dictate the terms and the info so again, we have to seek out the truth. Your piece here is a very good resource and thanks again. Cunliffe was victim to an obvious smear campaign and was treated horribly and we, as a nation, should be ashamed that we allow such hypocrisy and lies and manipulations. Ole Boys Network at it again. Why not start a mass boycott of The Herald ?

    • Gadflys Dad says:

      Good idea Blake. I started my own personal boycott of the Herald back when they fired Malcolm Evans for his cartoon about the Israelis. I did read other peoples copy of the Herald or down at the library but over the last few years it has turned into a complete rag with nothing of importance or merit in it so now I don’t bother with it at all.
      The only good thing about this is that you can tell everyone to ignore what’s in it. It is just complete bullshit!

      • Blake says:

        I agree. I do not click on the Herald anymore. Time is to valuable to waste it on media that is more about supporting this govt. and putting out biased propaganda than in giving us the truths and good creative cartoons like those of Malcolm Evans. Fran and John must have raw chapped lips now from all the kissing up they do ! !

      • adam says:

        It makes good toilet paper when you soak it long enough. The herald that is…

  4. wild katipo says:

    And of course the Prime Monsters orifice acting in the capacity of the Prime Monster knew nothing at all bout this at all.

    Nothing at all.

    They just kept on whistling inane tunes as they went about their day to day penchant for pork. And more and more pork.

  5. Joe says:

    Excellent article.
    Been wondering if and when anybody is going to raise that topic again. Cunliffe was indeed innocent of any wrongdoing. He had nothing to hide. Cunliffe even attended a fair grilling session on Campbell Live the very same evening, as soon as he landed in Auckland coming back from Wellington after being subjected to a fabricated and orchestrated nasty campaign by the right. During his interview with John Campbell, it was evident and very obvious Mr Cunliffe had nothing to hide. He fronted up; something that the other side never does.
    Bill English, Woddhouse and Brownlee did an amazing performance attacking David Cunliffe in parliament in an attempt to try and diffuse the attention from the case of John Banks. Mr PM was doing his bit from NY.
    Quite disgusting performance.
    Time that everybody responsible or contributing to this cheap fabricated campaign to be held accountable.

  6. e-clectic says:

    It’s all very tacky.

    The spin-off effects are the real problem – a cynical, turned-off populus – as detailed by Nicky Hager in Dirty Politics. In short, they get their dirty trick to work and then gain from its exposure. Exposure isn’t enough, this needs redress.

    • Blake says:

      AND WHY IS THIS NOT BEING RE-FOCUSED ON ?
      WHY IS THIS NOT BEING TAKEN TO COURT ?
      WHY DID LABOUR JUST LAY DOWN AND ACCEPT IT WITHOUT A FIGHT ?

      WHY DO THESE CROOKS GET AWAY WITH IT TIME AND TIME AGAIN ?
      I KNOW WHY, BECAUSE ” WE THE PEOPLE ” HAVE SURRENDERED OUR POWER AND JUST ACCEPT THINGS AS THEY ARE. NO GUTS ANYMORE AS WE HAVE HAD IN THE PAST WHEN THERE WAS MORE FIRE IN OUR SPIRITS FOR JUSTICE AND FAIRNESS FOR ALL. SAD TIMES, SO INFURIATING THAT THESE CRIMINALS IN POWER JUST KEEP ROLLING ALONG AS IF NOTHING MUCH OF ANY IMPORTANCE HAPPENED. QUESTION THEM ALWAYS.

      Thanks again Frank, keep up the great work – you are appreciated.

      • Thanks, Blake.

        Kep an ear to Radio NZ this Monday, at 11am. Mike Williams may be raising this concern on the Political Panel.

        • lucy says:

          Have been trying to listen and can’t hear it was focused on Phil Twyford! I am listening to it now and he never seems to get much time Hooten tends to hog 3/4’s of the time and I keep going to sleep as he is sooo tedious

  7. XRAY says:

    Key started the ball rolling on Cunliffe by accusing him of being “tricky”. It came out of the blue, a subtle little reference months before the Herald decided being the National Partys bitch was preferable to maintaining subscribers with the fake 100k bottle of wine slur. So it was well choreographed and signalled in advance.

    To me as a profit oriented business supping with the National Party to preserve John Key will cost you dearly, if Mediaworks and The NZ Herald are anything to go by. And as we now all know from Dirty Politics the filth that was the campaign against Cunliffe mirrored many similar smears that all eminated from the PM’s office, and that particular one is still in business.

    Expect more of the same if not worse.

    Oh, and John Key caught making it up again, regarding advice from IRD and Kiwisaver. Who really believes there’s a surplus?

  8. Nick says:

    Great work, Frank. And actually rather hard for even our media to ignore. Most of the links and inferences seem irrefutable.
    Pity most people have the concentration span of a gnat with Alzheimer’s or they might even begin to understand the implications.

  9. mary_a says:

    Excellent work Frank and again thank you for keeping the pathways open re these sordid contentious issues.

    Msm is up to its eyeballs in dirt and slime, thanks to its kowtowing to FJK’s every whim, to the extent now I’m beginning to think media must run everything past FJK for approval, before publishing or broadcasting! Everything we read seems to be so sanitized, getting more so of late, particularly that concerning NatzKEY!

    And briefly, something else …

    John Banks – charges dropped –

    Donghua Liu – charges dropped –

    Both men with close connections to FJK!

    Or is my cynical age worn shrinking brain going into overdrive again?

  10. Andrewo says:

    David who?

  11. reason says:

    The Herald were proud players in the national party dirty politics hatchet job they did on Labour.

    Not only was their front page printing orchestrated fabricated smears against Labor …..

    At the same time John key was having dinner at Dong Liu s house and large donations to the national party were given ……. but we never got to hear about that at the time.

    The news that the Herald provided was lies ……

    And the truth was hidden.

    The Herald seems more likely to join in with corruption rather than expose it ……………… much like tv3 seems to have become.

  12. iain mclean says:

    Frank;
    Your skills to the fore again. Well done.
    Litigation is the only redress.

    Cheers.

  13. iain mclean says:

    It’s time to TURN ALL MSM OFF!
    A world wide trend.

    Get any semblance of news left from RNZ or it’s web site.
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/
    Morning report is archived for quick perusal.

    Better still, http://www.scoop.co.nz/
    Our own independent news clearing house.

    For world news,http://rt.com/news/
    The closest you will get to any real truth from MSM.
    Professional journalism,shows and documentaries.
    No wasting a third of your time with adds.
    No ‘celebrity culture’ and sport. Time/mind saver.

    And off course,Martyn’s TDB.
    With access now to Evening Report,a new local independent website
    with some good articles, to complete a ‘golden triangle.’
    eg;http://eveningreport.nz/2015/04/20/who-calls-the-shots-acne-isotretinoin-ii-big-pharma-research/ Must read for all parents and others.
    You will not find that in our MSM.

    For your health,http://www.mercola.com/
    The top global site to keep for life,literally.

    To confirm/research any info from above;
    http://globalresearch.ca/
    Huge data base and video pool.(on right)-the real info/visuals on Ukraine.

    Martyn; Congratulations for annex of Evening Report.
    Gives TDB a big lift. Well done.

    Cheers.
    – See more at: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2015/07/07/rachel-glucina-pebbles-hooper-and-cameron-slater-the-mediaworks-dream-team/#sthash.4sYBBlfR.dpuf

  14. mickysavage says:

    Good post Frank. Your work on the subject is really valuable. A couple of points I would like to emphasise:

    1. Cunliffe had bugger all to no notice that the letter was going to be released under the OIA. There is a convention that prior ministers are given proper notice when a new Government intends to release something under the OIA. Things looked messy for the first few hours because they had no idea about the letter or the context or even what the Herald was talking about. Proper notice would have allowed Cunliffe to reply properly but of course this was not the intent.

    2. I was really fascinated that National had reorganised its return of donations so that instead of news of Liu’s actual donation of $25k being announced the day before Williamson resigned it was announced after the election. So we had a big drama about a donation that was not made but we could have had a huge drama about a ministerial resignation and a donation that was made.

    Anyway keep up the good work.

    • Thank you, Micky.

      You’re absolutely spot-on about the short notice given to Cunliffe that his letter was going to be made public under an OIA request by Jared Savage. The point was made in one of the previous chapters on the Donghua Liu Affair (forget which one).

      It essentially left him embarrassed as the media hounded him like a pack of wolves smelling blood. None of them asked Real Questions as to where the twelve year old letter had come from and the circumstances under which it had been released.

      • Anne says:

        “On 16 June this year – nearly the exact anniversary of the Herald publishing it’s first Donghua Liu story on 18 June 2014 – all domestic violence charges were dropped against Mr Liu.”

        12 months on the complainants were paid off?

        The disgusting behaviour not only destroyed Cunliffe’s political career it also played a major role in destroying his marriage. The bottom of the barrel is too good for all the protagonists including Maurice Williamson and of course John Key.

        • Winnie says:

          Am I allowed to say that All Blacks and Chinese seem to be treated leniently for alleged domestic violence incidents?

          We have the Maori All Blacks.

          Are we likely to see fewer or more domestic violence charges if New Zealand Rugby sanctions a Chinese All Blacks team in 2022?

          A polite, tic question posed

          [Winnie, for the life of me I can’t see what relevance your post has to Frank’s story. Have you posted on the wrong page by accident? Can you enlighten us please? – ScarletMod ]

  15. anker says:

    So appreciative of your work Frank. Is it worth re-submitting to the Press Council?

    What about writing a book??

    Cunliffe was treated appallingly. I am very sad that he isn’t our PM>

    • Anker… Book? The thought has crossed my mind…

      • anker says:

        Yes! Yes! Yes! Frank……definitely a book………..

        Time the truth came out about the smears against DC!

        • wild katipo says:

          Frank – yes to the book.

          Your articles are worth every bit of it. In the same league as Mr Hagar , in-depth ,concise , readable.

          Moreover , solid fact.

          And there is a wealth of data available here on the Daily Blog with links etc as a resource as well as the historic media resources. Strongly recommend the idea ,….in fact there are a number of individuals here , who ,- could either write individually or as a collaborative team on a book /series books of some sort.

          I think you’d find the NZ public is ready for it. And needs it badly. It would also help change the narrative in educational facility’s such as University’s …..then we would have traction.

          There is a vast amount of material that could be presented. And people still read books.

      • mary_a says:

        Go for it Frank. You have plenty of well documented and supported evidence against this corrupt government and cronies!

        If nothing else, a book might at least wake up a few dopey Kiwis to what is going on right before their dozy eyes!

      • anker says:

        Prepared to give you a donation (all-be-it modest not corporate) if you do Frank

        • mary_a says:

          Ditto Anker. Count me in to help support Frank’s book, should he decide to go for it.

  16. Grant says:

    There were actually multiple campaigns wagered against David Cunliffe before and after he took the leadership.
    Campaign ‘Tricky’.
    Campaign ‘Gaffe’ and
    Campaign ‘Donation’ to name but a few.
    A large number from all sectors of the journalist fraternity were involved.
    Part of a journalists training requires the highest standards in ethical behaviour, where absolute truth is the only datum.
    Failure to adhere to this , as with any other profession or trade should result in de registration.
    Based on what is on record, there is going to, and needs to be, a big ‘clean out.’
    There is plenty of evidence to suggest that truth didn’t even enter the picture with a lot of the reporting that was going.
    There was a lot of fabrication, supposition, cut and pasting to screw a story and subliminal messaging.
    David Cunliffe was absolutely shafted! No doubt about that.
    You are going to get journalists and commentators who were culpable in buying into the deliberate misinterpretation of the Woman’s Refuge speech , saying ” he shouldn’t have said he was sorry for being a man”.
    This is of course is absolute bullshit and a weak excuse for their bad behaviour.
    The mass corruption that is about to be exposed, and clearly influenced the outcome of the last election, can only have one result for the sake of NZs’ credibility and that is another election!

    • Crikey says:

      not to mention slamming him for spending 3 days with his sons IN NZ LOCATION, whilst Key was swanning around in Hawaii PRIOR to election campaign, and was that a Labour MP who talked to the press about that? I am still enraged about that disgusting piece of propoganda

      • wild katipo says:

        And the most reprehensible of all – wearing a RED TIE !!!

        Heaven forbid !!! – the mans parading around in a RED TIE !!!

        Call out the Special Units !!!

        Bring in the Army , Navy and Air Force !!! Fire Brigade and Police !!!- and while were at it – declare a state of national emergency !!!

        The mans armed with a RED TIE !!!!

        ( And with clowns like that for media – we certainly are not far from being the banana republic of the South Pacific – I kid you all not !!! )

      • Grant says:

        David Cunliffe was actually working in Queenstown and had the temerity apparently to go skiing with his family in the weekend.
        This apparently was a cardinal sin and according to the media showed that he couldn’t be trusted, was ‘Tricky’ and yet another ‘Gaffe’.
        The sheep like ‘commentators’ all jumped in saying it was most unleadedership like to spend time with your family.
        They could have said, “what a great example David has shown to the Dads of New Zealand by finding a bit of ‘family time’ in amongst his relentlessly gruelling schedule.”
        But they CHOSE not to.
        Key of course was the greatest thing since sliced bread and ‘deserved’ to be sunning himself in Hawaii for 12 days.
        The media CHOSE to talk positively about Key and negatively about Cunliffe.

    • Wensleydale says:

      True. Cunliffe wasn’t just “interrogated” over his alleged misdemeanors, he was tied to a wagon wheel and flogged raw, over what essentially amounted to a great big bucket full of nothing. It was a feeding frenzy orchestrated by Key’s “Black Ops” team aided by a complicit media and a Prime Minister who would probably laugh if he saw a pensioner hit by a bus.

      The whole affair was nauseating from beginning to end, and I feel nothing but the deepest sympathy for Cunliffe and his wife.

  17. Kim dandy says:

    In regards to this blog – lest we forget.

  18. Darth Smith says:

    boycott all key newspapers and key media we don’t need to listen to there bullshit there dinosaurs there obsolete and the faster they go under the better they don’t have a monopoly on distribution any longer

  19. downwithnats says:

    There should be a truly independent TV channel with the freedom to call them to account–Loudly. TDB is good but visual media rules.

  20. papa tuanuku says:

    great story. i did get lost in the detail though. think about how you could make it more concise or easy to follow in an onine context. i ended up looking for a conclusion, instead of scanning all the data, and even this was a bit difficult to find. just alluding to some tricks of the trade.

  21. […] blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 10 July […]

  22. Kingi says:

    Hopefully you will see this comment Frank, even though the post appeared a while back.
    it is still going on. In an article on stuff at

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/70228394/Fourteen-tenants-one-toilet-Donghua-Liu-s-slum-rental
    The following caption appears under a photo of Dong;
    “Donghua Liu’s colourful recent history includes an electoral donation scandal which embarrassed several politicians.”
    Cunliffe is mentioned later in the article, but nowhere is there an explanation of the “scandal” or the politicians that it embarrased.



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