The Donghua Liu timeline – Damn lies, dirty tricks, and a docile media



Dirt Unit



The style of political journalism is an important issue as increasing political resources go into controlling news and there are fewer news media resources  available to cut through the spin. Such a situation plays into the hands of the Croby/Textor political manipulators. Their aim is not to create interested, intelligent and engaged citizens, because that is not in their clients’ short-term interests. Their job is easier if the public is ‘sick’ of politics, ‘bored’ by the election and not thinking hard about the issues – and not challenged by a strong, independent  media. Vote winning can then be the science of winning people over via vague feelings of self-interest, indignation, fear or jealousy.” – Nicky Hager, p262,  “The Hollow Men




11 April 2003:  David Cunliffe writes to Immigration NZ, on behalf on his constituent, Donghua Liu;

“I have been approached by my constituent Donghua Lui [sic] who is concerned at the time it is taking to process his Investment Category application.

Mr Liu’s [sic] application was accepted for processing by the Business Migration Branch on 13 August 2002.

Mr Lui [sic] wishes to set up a joint venture including Well Lee Ltd, Equus Hawk o8 ltd and Tan Long Property Development Co Ltd who will export large quantities of agricultural and horticultural products to China.

It is hope that products from the company will be available to the market in July 2003.

I am aware of the difficulties facing the Business Migration Branch of New Zealand Immigration Services in coping with the overwhelming numbers of applicants that have applied for consideration under these categories and the time taken to verify documents. However it would be very helpful to Mr Liu to be advised of an estimated period of time period [sic] in which he could expect a decision on his case.

Your assistance in this matter is appreciated.

Yours sincerely

David Cunliffe
MP for New Lynn”

2004: Donghua Liu granted permanent residency by then-immigration minister Damien O’Connor, against  official advice.

2006: Donghua Liu claims that he;

TDB Recommends

…visited Barker in Hawke’s Bay… having dinner with him at an exclusive lodge and then meeting for breakfast the next morning. Liu said he made a donation to Hawke’s Bay Rowing, which Barker was associated with.

(The claim is made eight years later.)

3 June 2007: Donghua Liu claims that he  supposedly won  a $15,000 signed book at a Labour Party fundraising auction.

In the same year, he also claims to have paid “close to $100,000” for four bottles of wine [‘Cold Duck’? – Blogger] at a 2007 Labour Party fundraiser.

(These claims are made seven years later, and the Labour Party says it cannot find any record of the alleged donations/payments. The date, 3 June 2007, is contained in a NZ Herald story, on 22 June 2014.)

Liu also claims;

That he spent $50-60,000 hosting then-labour minister Rick Barker on a cruise on the Yangtze River in China.

(This claim, also, is made seven years later.)

2010: Donghua Liu given NZ citizenship, by Immigration Minister Nathan Guy,  against official advice, and after lobbying by Maurice Williamson, then Minister for Building and Construction, and John Banks, then Mayor of Auckland. Maurice Williamson performs the citizenship ceremony the day after it is granted, in his electorate offices.

2 September 2011: The first stage of a proposed $70 million hotel project is opened by Donghua Liu, with Prime Minister John Key attending;

The project, which is the brainchild of Remuera businessman Donghua Liu, will involve the development of open spaces, high-value residential apartments, education facilities and a new five-star hotel.


Opening of Boulevard hotel project - john Key - Donghua Liu.

Opening of Boulevard hotel project - john Key - Donghua Liu - (2)jpg


“My vision is to create buildings and open spaces that fit with Newmarket’s already proud heritage and community and help promote New Zealand tourism to visitors from China and elsewhere,” Mr Liu, a New Zealand resident since 2004, said today.

2012: A business, owned by Donghua Liu, donates $22,000 to the National party.

April, 2013: Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse meets  with Chinese businessman Donghua Liu (which the Herald will report on 7 May 2014).

13 March 2014: John Key denies anything “untoward” in Donghua Liu receiving a ministerial waiver (from Guy Nathan) to become a NZ Citizen, which was followed later by a $22,000 donation to the National Party;

“I just don’t accept the proposition there’s anything untoward there.”

Key said a minister advocating a person for citizenship was “not at all unusual”.

Liu was a substantial investor in New Zealand and “lots of people get ministerial waivers”.

14 March: Donghua Liu arrested and charged with domestic violence assault on two women.

22 March: NZ Herald reports that Donghua Lui’s $70 million four-star hotel project has failed to materialise;

Liu also told Chinese media at the ribbon-cutting ceremony that his plans for the $70 million redevelopment of the former Carlton Bowling Club site was unlikely to go beyond the design stage unless the Government cut the $10 million threshold.

“Like many developers throughout the construction, our group is constrained by a lack of access to capital. An improvement to business migrant rules would allow the group to source the equity capital it needs from overseas, particularly from China,” Liu told a Chinese newspaper at the launch.

“Without that improvement, it is likely that stages two and three will be stalled indefinitely.”

The same Herald article refers to right-wing commentator; National Party apparatchik, and professional lobbyist, Matthew Hooton, being hired by Donghua Liu, to change business migration laws in this country;

Liu hired consultancy group Exceltium, run by political consultant Matthew Hooton, to lobby the Government over the business immigration rules.

1 May: National Minister, Maurice Williamson forced to resign after attempts by him to influence a police investigation into Donghua Liu’s alleged assault case, becomes public knowledge.

3 May: Donghua Liu signs statement claiming donations amounting to $150,000 were made to the Labour Party, which the NZ Herald will report on 22 June.

7 May: NZ Herald reports;

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse has confirmed that he met with Chinese businessman Donghua Liu, and heard his requests for a change in immigration policy. 

Mr Woodhouse said Mr Liu – who was involved in National MP Maurice Williamson’s resignation – lobbied him in April or May at the businessman’s Newmarket hotel.

The minister said Mr Liu lobbied him to change the rules of the business migrant scheme.

“We traversed a range of … issues about how the investor category could be improved, and I took on board those issues.”

Mr Liu was seeking a new immigration category in which non-English speakers could pay less than the $10 million threshold.

May 8*: Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse is questioned in the House and by media about his meetings and any National Party association with Donghua Liu. Mr Woodhouse requests information on the file to see if there is anything relevant that he needs to know about.

The Herald [also] requests Liu’s residency file under the Official Information Act (OIA)

May 9*: In response to file review, Mr Woodhouse is verbally advised – among other things – of the existence of two Parliamentary advocacy letters regarding Donghua Liu, one from Mr Cunliffe and another from the office of Chris Carter.

Weekend of 10-11 May*: Mr Woodhouse informs Prime Minister John Key’s Office of the existence of the letters.

Week 12-16 May*: Mr Woodhouse’s office receives hard copy of letters.

Mid-late May*: Mr Woodhouse’s office provides copy of letters to the Prime Minister’s office.

16 June*: The Herald run story on Labour donations and connections. The Herald’s OIA request is declined on privacy grounds. The Herald puts in a refined OIA request for MP representations for Donghua Liu to Immigration NZ.

17 June: David Cunliffe denies ever having advocated for Donghua Liu.

18 June*: Immigration NZ release Mr Cunliffe’s 2003 Donghua Liu letter to the Herald

19 June: John Key says he had previously known about the 2003 letter;

“Can’t exactly recall, I think it was a few weeks ago.”

A Radio NZ report quoted Deputy PM, Bill English;

19 June morning:

But hours later on Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report programme on Thursday, Bill English had a different story, saying no one in Government knew about it until Wednesday. “As I understand it, it’s a response to an OIA (Official Information Act request) to the Immigration Service and we wouldn’t know a lot about what’s on their files,” he said.

19 June afternoon:

However in the afternoon, Mr English told reporters the letter had been sent to Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse some time ago as part of information he received from the Immigration Service after Mr Williamson’s resignation.

“For a number of weeks there were questions in the House about Mr Donghua Liu and you would expect a competent minister to get together the relevant information.”

June 19*:

• 2pm Mr Woodhouse denies telling Mr Key about the letters

• 3pm Mr Woodhouse says officials from his office briefed Mr Key’s office on the letters.

• 7pm Mr Woodhouse’s office says the minister himself told Mr Key’s office about the letters and his office also gave copies of the letters to Mr Key’s office.

19 June: Shane Jones denies he is the source of  revelations regarding David Cunliffe and Donghua Liu.

19 June: Key confirms he knows more about the revelations;

“I’ve heard the rumours and in the end we’ll see what actually comes out but I’ll be very very amazed if the amount is $15,000.”

Asked if it was hundreds of thousands of dollars, Key said: “We’ll see … that’s for the Labour Party to make clear to the New Zealand public.”

20 June: Blogger lodges formal OIA request to John Key, Bill English, and Michael Woodhouse;

This is a request lodged under the Official Information Act.

Please provide me with copies of all correspondence, minutes, notes, reports, and any other written or otherwise recording, relating to any and all activities surrounding the procurement; storage; and planned circumstances of the release of the letter between David Cunliffe and Donghua Liu dated 11 April 2003.

This includes a request for all communications relating to the letter between David Cunliffe and Donghua Liu dated 11 April 2003, which may have occurred between yourself; any and all staffmembers in your office; any member of the National Party; any blogger; any media person; and any other group or individual who was contacted on this issue.

Information may be emailed to me, or, if the file is too large, I can supply a postal address for hard copies.

-Frank Macskasy

21 June: Donghua Liu claims that  he has donated money “equally to Governments of both colours”.

22 June: NZ Herald publishes claim that Donghua Liu has contributed $150,000 to Labour Party. The claim is made in a signed statement by Liu. The Herald report states that Liu paid $100,000 for a 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.

However, a Radio NZ report on the same day states that the money was paid for four bottles;

General secretary of the Labour Party Tim Barnett said the newspaper told him it was $100,000 for four bottles, not one, but even so, he does not have record of such a transaction.

23 June:

7.32am: NZ Herald editor, Tim Murphy, interviewed in Radio NZ’s “Morning Report“, and says that the Herald received a copy of Donghua Liu’s  3 May signed statement “on Saturday”. Murphy confirms that the document was a statement, not an affidavit. Murphy refuses to say how the Herald acquired the statement.

11.05am: Mike Williams, past-President of Labour Party,  states on Radio NZ’s “Nine To Noon” politics panel, that he is  not aware of any donation from Donghua Liu, nor any fund-raising event of Liu’s description, on the date Liu asserts.

“This, this,  supposedly happened on my watch.  And I’ve got a lot of problems with that. I think if anyone had paid $100,000 for a bottle of wine, I would know about it.”

Williams says that he and Party General Secretary, Mike Smith, were assiduous in record keeping and a donation of that magnitude could not be over-looked.

Williams also referred to Liu claiming that he donated “equally to Governments of both colours“, and suggested that if that was correct, that National had failed to properly report and account for $130,000 in donations.





If, as Mr Liu claims, he donated $150,000 to the Labour Party in 2007, why has no one come forward to confirm this event? $150,000 is a large sum of money and very difficult to forget. Even John Key, with the best of his brain-fades, could not help but recall such an event.


Mr Liu has signed only a statement, not an affidavit. There is a great deal of difference between the two forms of documents. A signed statement has very  little legal standing.

But a signed and witnessed affidavit is a legal document, as outlined in Section 197 of the Evidence Act 2006, to whit;


197 Solicitor may take affidavit or declaration

  • (1) It is lawful for any solicitor of the High Court to take the affidavit or declaration of any person in relation to any criminal proceedings that are certified in accordance with this section to be pending in any overseas court.

    (2) An affidavit or declaration referred to in subsection (1) must be intituled In the matter of section 197 of the Evidence Act 2006, and a declaration referred to in subsection (1) may be expressed to be made under the provisions of this section.

    (3) No affidavit or declaration referred to in subsection (1) may be taken unless the solicitor taking it has received a written certificate—

    • (a) from the overseas court that the affidavit or declaration is required for the purpose of criminal proceedings pending in the court; or

    • (b) from an overseas representative of the country in which the overseas court exercises jurisdiction that he or she believes the affidavit or declaration to be required for the purpose of criminal proceedings pending in the overseas court.

    (4) A certificate for the purposes of subsection (3)(a) may be given by any Judge or judicial officer of the overseas court, or by any Registrar or other officer of that court.

    (5) If a certificate is given under subsection (3)(b), the jurat or attestation of the affidavit or declaration must state the name and official designation of the overseas representative on whose certificate the affidavit or declaration has been taken.

    (6) In this section—

    affidavit means any affidavit or affirmation made before a solicitor of the High Court

    declaration means any written statement declared by the maker of the statement to be true in the presence of a solicitor of the High Court.

    Compare: 1908 No 56 s 48F(1)–(6)


Making a false declaration under the Act, is covered under Section 198;


198 False affidavit or declaration

  • (1) Every affidavit or declaration taken under section 197 is deemed to have been made in a judicial proceeding within the meaning of the Crimes Act 1961, and any person who falsely makes an affidavit or declaration of that kind is guilty of perjury or of making a false declaration accordingly.


Which infers that the signed statement which Liu made, and which the Herald claims to have in it’s possession, does not have the same weight as an affidavit.

If it can be proven that Liu was lying, he will suffer no legal consequences.

It may explain why Liu refuses, point blank, to swear an affidavit. Why has Liu not made an actual affidavit?


On 19 June, Bill English, John Key, and Michael Woodhouse, offered varying accounts when and how long, they had been in possession of the 2003 letter between Cunliffe and Immigration NZ.

It was not until some hours later that they amended their public statements.

Can they explain their discrepancies in the varying times they gave?


On 21 June,  Donghua Liu claimed that  he has donated moneyequally to Governments of both colours“.

But according to him, he gave $150,000 to Labour, and only $22,000 to National. That is not “equally to Governments of both colours” by any measure or definition. He (supposedly) gave $128,000 more to Labour than to National.

Can he explain that discrepancy in his statement?


On 22 June, NZ Herald journalist, Bevan Hurley, wrote that Liu paid $100,000 for a 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.

However, this was contradicted by a  Radio NZ report on the same day, stating that the money was paid for four bottles;

General secretary of the Labour Party Tim Barnett said the newspaper [NZ Herald]  told him it was $100,000 for four bottles, not one, but even so, he does not have record of such a transaction.

Can Hurley, or any other person working for the Herald, explain that discrepancy?


If, as a 22 March NZ Herald story stated, that Donghua Lui’s $70 million four-star hotel project has failed to materialise, what action has this government taken on what appears to have been a breech of the business migration visa conditions (?)  of Liu’s residency and subsequent citizenship?

What guarantee can there be, that migrants given residency and citizenship, under the Investor Plus (Investor 1 Category), and Investor (Investor 2 Category), who promise to undertake specific developments,  will carry out their obligations?

What sanctions and remedies are available, should migrants given residency and citizenship, under the Investor Plus (Investor 1 Category), and Investor (Investor 2 Category), who promise to undertake specific developments, fail to do so?


On 22 June 2014, Labour Party president, Moira Coatsworth categorically stated;

No-one has provided any documentary evidence to us that contradicts our records.

We continue to call on Donghua Liu and any third parties who might have information about these allegations, including the Prime Minister, to place what they know into the public domain or to refer to the regulators.

We have had no approaches from the Electoral Commission or any regulatory agency. We have always cooperated with regulators, and will always do so when required.

The same Herald story reveals that the Herald refuses to provide a copy of Liu’s signed statement to the Labour Party, which Coatsworth says,

“We consider this to be a denial of natural justice.”

7a. Why has the Herald refused to provide a copy of Liu’s signed statement to the Labour Party?

7b. Why has Liu refused to provide evidence of a $150,000 payment/donation to the Labour Party?

7c. How was Liu’s alleged payment made? Cheque? Bank transfer? A suitcase stuffed full of money? (Even a cash payment could be proven by showing when and where a withdrawal of that amount was made.)

7d. Can Liu provide witnesses to the event?

7e. Why has the Herald not made the statement public?


Liu claims he signed a statement on 3 May 2014, to the effect that he “donated” $150,000 to the Labour Party.

8a. Why did he feel the need to make such a statement?

8b. Did someone else prompt or request for him to make such a state?

8c. Why did Liu not offer a copy to the Labour Party?

8d. Who else has a copy of the statement?


9a. Who else knew about the 2003 letter, before it was published by the Herald?

9b. Was the Herald ‘tipped of’ about the letter before it lodged it’s OIA request?

9c. What was the involvement of John Key, Bill English, Michael Woodhouse, and Key’s chief of staff, Wayne Eagleson, in this affair?

9d. What active role did  Mathew Hooton have, in this affair?

9e. What active role did  the head of Key’s media team, Jason Ede, have in this affair?



How does Liu reconcile his claims for the date of the Labour Party fundraiser being held on 3 June 2007 (as reported in a NZ Herald story, on 22 June 2014) when the Labour Party can find no record of any such event occurring on that day?


Will the Police proceed in their prosecution of Donghua Liu?

Or will charges for assaulting two women be dropped “for lack of evidence”?


And perhaps the last question – the most important question – why hasn’t the media been asking these questions?



  • Donations via Electoral Commission

If New Zealanders cannot stomach state funding for political parties, and the elimination of private donors to parties, then the next best thing – Plan ‘B’ – is that all donations,  or fund-raising over a certain amount ($1,000? $5,000?), be channelled through the Electoral Commission. The Commission would duly record each donation and donor’s details, and pass it on to the relevant party.

This might not be the solution to the problem of unrecorded donations, but it might  be a helpful tool. It would certainly give the Commission an opportunity to make immediate, further enquiries relating to a specific donation. Eg; a fund-raising dinner at Antoinette’s in 2010, which raised $105,000 from twentyone donors, but which was recorded only as a ‘lump sum’ donation from the restaurant – without naming all twentyone people who gave money.

This might offer an additional measure of transparency to the donations system.

Any party avoiding the system would do so at it’s peril, eventually being found out.

  • Cancel Investor Visa (Investors 1 & 2 Category)

It is perhaps time for the Investor Visa (Investors 1 & 2 Category) to be reviewed, and dumped.

The system appears to be open to rorting, with a residency-for-donations system in place that has been exploited by National (and Labour?).

But it is not just that Donghua Liu gave $22,000 to National, and was subsequently  granted citizenship.

We have also seen the case of Susan Chou, of Oravida Ltd, whose company  donated $200,000 in two amounts in 2010, and $156,600 to the National Party in three lots, throughout 2011 (31 May, 22 November,  and 30 November). A month later, on 27 January 2012,  National Government ministers approved Shanghai Pengxin’s application to purchase sixteen Crafar farms in receivership.

Oravida, as many will recall, was the dairy company at the center of a recent scandal involving Minister Judith Collins and her husband, David Tung. Tung also happens to be a company director of Oravida.

If this is not corruption, then it certainly has the perception of it.

Whether Labour has also exploited the business migration scheme is unknown. Liu’s claims may be real – or an utter fabrication and part of a very cunning smear campaign against Labour, during an election that promises to be close-run.

The only way to eliminate any possibility of inappropriate activities such as citizenship-for-donations, and other favours-for-donations, is to dump the business migration scheme once and for all.

It is simply too open to abuse.

  • Extreme caution  with relations with business people

If the Oravida scandal;  Kim Dotcom saga, and Donghua Liu mystery have shown anything, it is that ministers of the crown should exercise extreme caution when dealing with members of the business community. Especially businesspeople from cultures where “gifting” for political patronage is considered the norm.

After the wounds inflicted on Judith Collins and David Cunliffe, and the destruction of John Banks’ and Taito Phillip Fields‘ political careers, it would be a very, very foolish Member of Parliament or Minister of the Crown, to try his/her luck with secret dealings.

We are simply too small a country.

  • The C.R.E.E.P.** Team

It is my sincerest, honestly-held  belief, that the Donghua Liu Affair has been a carefully orchestrated dirty trick, designed to smear the leader of the Labour Party, David Cunliffe.

It is my sincerest, honestly-held  belief, that it was not orchestrated by anyone within the Labour Party, such as the ABC faction. Their careers would be gone by breakfast if it could be shown that any of them were responsible, in part, or whole.

It is my sincerest, honestly-held  belief, that this smear campaign was orchestrated deep within the National Party, and that at least two well known National Party apparatchiks were involved.

It is my sincerest, honestly-held  belief, that Donghua Liu was persuaded to participate in this scheme around early May, when he signed his statement. It is my sincerest, honestly-held  belief, that he was offered, in return, that charges against him for assaulting two women, would either be dropped, or “no evidence presented” at the Court case.

It is my sincerest, honestly-held  belief, that this smear campaign was designed as ‘utu’ for the forced resignation of Maurice Williamson. Donghua Liu signed his statement two days after Williamson’s resignation.

Therein lies the clue: Donghua Liu signed his statement two days after Williamson’s resignation. Because Williamson’s resignation left some very, very angry people who could barely wait to exact revenge.

It is my prediction that the truth will come out very quickly on this issue, and it will destroy National’s chances to win this election – much like “Corngate” nearly  destroyed Labour’s chances to win the 2002 general election.

This will end John Key’s career.




* Timeline info  taken from NZ Herald story, Woodhouse ‘clarifies’ story on Cunliffe’s Liu letter. Hat-tip, Martyn Bradbury, from blogpost, Cunliffe can’t remember an 11 year old letter and has to resign but Woodhouse can’t remember a 6 week old letter he told Prime Minister about and isn’t resigning?

** CREEP – Committee to RE Elect the Prime minister (See: Watergate)



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

Fairfax media: David Cunliffe advocated for Donghua Liu

NZ Herald: Businessman ‘donated to Governments of both colours’

NZ Herald: Businessman gifts $150k to Labour Party

Fairfax media: Key – ‘Nothing untoward’ in citizenship waiver

NZ Herald: Businessman in citizenship row up on violence charges

Radio NZ: Labour has no record of reported Liu donation

NZ Herald: Labour Party hits back at donation claims

Otago Daily Times: Losing patience with politicians

NZ Herald: Citizenship, then $22k for Nats

Scoop Auckland:Share PM to open first stage of Donghua Liu’s $70m Newmarket redevelopment project

NZ Herald: Weeds choke $70m dream

TV3: Maurice Williamson resigns as minister

NZ Herald: Labour Party hits back at donation claims

NZ Herald: MP confirms meeting with Donghua Liu

TV1 News: Cunliffe – ‘I did not tell a lie’ about Liu

Radio NZ: Cunliffe accuses Govt of smear campaign

NZ Herald: Woodhouse ‘clarifies’ story on Cunliffe’s Liu letter

Radio NZ: PM and deputy at odds over Cunliffe letter

TV3: Shane Jones denies he is Cunliffe source

Fairfax media: David Cunliffe digs in amid rumours, poll woe

NZ Herald: Businessman ‘donated to Governments of both colours’

Immigration NZ:  Migrant Investment categories

NZ Herald: Businessman gifts $150k to Labour Party

Radio NZ: Morning Report – New Zealand Herald stands by its story

Radio NZ: Nine To Noon politics panel

Legislation:  Evidence Act 2006

Radio NZ: Labour dismisses Liu donation claims

Immigration NZ:  Migrant Investment categories

TV3:  Key not talking about fundraising dinner Govt Ministers rubber stamp Overseas Investment Office approval of Shanghai Pengxin’s Crafar farms bid

Previous related blogposts

National’s fund-raising at Antoine’s – was GST paid?

Doing ‘the business’ with John Key – Here’s How (Part # Rua)

Other blogposts

The Standard: The middle of Queens birthday weekend? Yeah right!

The Daily Blog: Cunliffe can’t remember an 11 year old letter and has to resign but Woodhouse can’t remember a 6 week old letter he told Prime Minister about and isn’t resigning?



Lorde wants you to vote

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 23 June 2014.



= fs =



  1. Excellent summary! The right-wing media have planted a perception but what interest do they have in unearthing the truth? It would only prove them – with their haste to publish unsubstantiated claims and baying for blood – to be Tory puppets and they won’t be in a hurry to display that!

  2. Excellent summary Frank.

    Like you, I am totally CERTAIN that this is a orchestated ‘dirty tricks’ campaign, orchestrated by right wingers, as part of a “Hollow Man” style election campaign designed to discredit Labour and buy another term for the regime.

  3. Well, let me think, what highly placed minister with an autocratic bent was clearly not at her personal best around that time and appeared to take Maurice’s resignation personally…

    As you say Frank, the Gnats have really shot themselves in the feet this time – Cunliffe’s letter was proper and detached – what prodigy of self-deception makes them think that conspicuously working with Liu now to tarnish Labour proves anything more clearly than an ongoing improper relationship.

    Some of the cyclopean trolls may buy it, and of course the credulous hacks at the Herald – but conspiring with Liu to defame Cunliffe? They couldn’t’ve picked a less credible target for their fit-up.

    • JFA (JUST F(LAM)ING AWESOME) Frank – superb piece of research and REAL journalism. The headline is far too kind on the MSM. I say “docile” is way too PC.

      Rabid. Corrupt. Biased. Fox-like. Tripe-like. TeaParty-like are closer to the truth about the currnt crop of Kiwi Press. “The Truth” itself -that piece of vile filth rag morphed into Whaleoil blog and so the rest of the Free Press (sic.) has slithered down to take up the vacant space left when “The Truth” folded.

      The Fourth Estate aren’t immune, as UK’s ‘News of the World’ found out. I’m sure there are some anxious calls to lawyers and cronies as I type, as political commentators and hollow men manipulators begin arse-covering and slithering back under rocks and out of the light of day.

      I wonder who will get thrown under the bus on this one? Maurice has gone (too many gay-rainbow speeches and letters supporting wife-beating Dung). What about Manipulator Murray? If he is thrown under the bus, it gives creepy Colin a chance to win a seat?
      So much shit, not enough wheelbarrows. 99 days to go.

  4. Below is the first comment posted for The Sunday Herald’s editorial…
    “The latest revelations that Labour has received very substantial funding from Mr Liu, according to his sworn affidavit, are shocking. If the revelations are true, and there is no reason to doubt their veracity at this point, then Labour’s hypocrisy is breathtaking. Furthermore If the funding has not been declared then a crime may well have been committed. The Police and the Electoral Commission must investigate urgently. As for Cunliffe, his response to his troubles appears to have been to blame his staff, as he did before over his mishandling of the baby bonus announcement, and to threaten his parliamentary colleagues with scabdom. Such a person is not fit for public office.”
    nightoftherealm – 01:26 PM Sunday, 22 Jun 2014
    “Night” is so dark she/he can ‘t even tell an affidavit from a statement!

    • @yogibare, are you for real? Wasn’t it Mr John Key who blamed his staff over the “Dunne Leaks” then proceeded to fire his chief of staff, christ do your homework, Frank has put the facts on the table, the least you could do is acknowledge this, or dispute with your facts.

      • djohnr_john – if you go back and read Yogibare’s post, you will find he/she has posted a rabid right wing comment from yesterday’s NZ Herald.

        The comment is not that of Yogibare.

        • Thanks for clarifying that for any other sloppy readers out there, Mary_A.
          I made this comment about “nightoftherealm”, the person who posted the comment in the Herald- “Night” is so dark she/he can ‘t even tell an affidavit from a statement!”
          I didn’t expect any TDB readers to not know a paste from a post!

            • I just read your Herald’s posts, Frank, unfortunately “night’s” comment is first out the blocks whereas yours are now at the bottom of a long list. Perhaps the Herald should have a reply system similar to here at TDB, where one’s response appears directly under the original post. On the other hand a suspicious mind could think there’s method in their madness!
              Here’s the latest, if your can be bothered to stick your oar in again…(amused to see this person has the gall to go by the handle “Freethinker”, or have I missed some breaking news)
              “It was NOT an affidavit it was a statement, thank the Herald for misleading the public.”

              It was a sworn Affidavit stop telling lies. Lui signed an Affidavit that he has given $150,000 to labour, either he has sworn falsely, labour has not declared the $150,000 which legally they must or someone within the labour party did a runner with the money so both labour and Liu are telling the truth, any which way a crime has been committed.
              Free Thinker – Picton – 01:33 PM Tuesday, 24 Jun 2014

    • Seems VERY obvious to me that “NightOfTheRealm” is probably part of the dirty tricks orchestrated campaign that lies behind this. That comment that he/she posted in the Herald, jumping in at NUMBER ONE right under the editorial, is far too “convenient” to be just a casual comment that was made up on the spot.

      That is a carefully-crafted political statement, written by a professional spin merchant type person, pre-written before the Editorial was published, and we can fairly conclude that whoever wrote that is an active conspirator, an active part of this whole “Hollow Man” style campaign of dirt, perpetrated by a “hit team” that has links to the National Party, possibly one of those Natz “apparatchiks” that you refer to, or someone working with them on the same dirty tricks campaign.

      Expect more of this kind of thing as the election campaign unfolds, carefully coordinated with a National Party Crosby Textor style PR blitz, designed to blacken the image of the left wing parties.

      From the timing of that comment, right at the top of the comments list, I suspect that this Hollow Man team has some kind of inside links to the Herald, though that is speculation on my part.

      This is going to be a VERY DIRTY campaign!

  5. A great timeline Frank. Thanks. If someone like the smug Joyce was to read it he would scoff and deny all fingerprints present alongside John Key’s. Can you imagine them sniggering away at their cleverness? I can.

    • Oh Ian 5 votes for and 2 votes against. John and Stephen didn’t like your call about their fingerprints being all over this muck-raking and illegal affadavits.

      Chinese businessmen (especially the wife-beating ones and illegal affadavit-signing ones), should be sent back to China – Tienamin Square would be a good spot for Dong like them.

      Hmm when is Winston going to cut loose and play the race-card? He’s been awfully quiet. Has Brendan passed on some insider info for John Key’s top drawer, to be passed on to Slater?

  6. Excellent commentary of events Frank. Thank you.

    Has your request for information been acknowledged? Look forward to updates on this one.

    An interesting point re msm is this. While the NZH has had this issue plastered all over its front pages in one form or another for days on end, Fairfax media on the other hand it seems, has been very quiet on it. Could this be it wants to distance itself from any legal repercussions likely to arise, when it is proven Liu’s statement was a deliberate set up job to discredit Cunliffe and Labour?

  7. Great work Frank!

    Not being a lawyer, can anyone explain to me how defamation and slander would or wouldn’t apply in this instance, please?

    I’m guessing that, as Liu’s statement itself hasn’t been put out in to the public domain, and that it’s not specifically defaming an individual, this might have some relevance perhaps?

    I would have thought that if the Labour Party itself can’t be slandered (again, a guess), then whoever in the LP who was responsible for declaring the supposed donation at the time, could justifyably claim to have been unfairly maligned?

    These are only my thoughts – I’m just curious to know if this could have anything to do with the bastards not actually putting up the letter for scrutiny?

    • Tim, that thought has crossed my mind as well.

      It seems strange that thev NZ Herald has possession of Liu’s signed statement (not an affidavit, as some right wingers claim), but are not releasing it.

      The Herald released the 2003 letter written by Cunliffe at near light-speed – but strange have not followed suit with Liu’s statement.

      For a media to with-hold information seems, unusual, to put it mildly.

      The questions are why;


      What has the Herald to hide?

      Could it be that the statement is actionable? And that if the Herald published it, they could be liable to a defamation lawsuit as well?

      These things add to the overall impression that this Affair simply does not add up.

      When the public are denied access to information and are left with more questions than answers, than something is seriously amiss.

      And the Herald is right in the middle of it.

      Tim Murphy, if you are reading this – we demand some answers.

  8. Fantastic Frank, pity majority of NZ’ers don’t get to see this from main stream media, or people like Radio Live’s, Sean Plunket, Duncan Garner, TV3 Paul Henry, etc etc. What amazes me is that there seems to be no Media outlet that supports Labour or the left, people like Winston don’t get the credit they deserve, National are always relating there systems to the “Trickle Down ” effect, yet they show no respect to our elder statesmen, Wisdom does trickle down.

    I see Mr John Key tonight saying that he is looking at working with NZ First, Well isn’t that the ultimate flip flop, What will Winston do?

  9. “It is my sincerest, honestly-held belief, that he was offered, in return, that charges against him for assaulting two women, would either be dropped, or “no evidence presented” at the Court case.”

    This is utterly ridiculous and really an embarrassment to this blog. This type of rubbish belongs on some loonies moon landing conspiracy page.

    What actual evidence do you have to back up this claim?

    • Don’t be a dick Tobez – one doesn’t need evidence to have a sincere honestly held belief. As for ‘some loonies moon landing conspiracy page’ – yes, John Key’s best mate Colin has some wacky sincere honestly held beliefs that belong there – as do all manner of God botherers and neo-liberals.

      That said, if a guilty plea has been entered, we still have an independent judiciary (no thanks to the Minister) which is unlikely to allow the case to be withdrawn. However, you can bet the farm on an expensive lawyer being wheeled in front of the Court to argue a case for a discharge without conviction.

    • “This is utterly ridiculous and really an embarrassment to this blog. This type of rubbish belongs on some loonies moon landing conspiracy page.”

      I could ask you the same thing; what actual evidence do you have to back up this claim?

      • Tobez Mackire is probably a right wing troll, maybe with links to the dirty tricks team. That is MY “sincerely held belief”, which I will continue to hold until proven otherwise!

        • IV, the whole point of having an opinion is that it doesn’t have to backed up by any evidence…

          1. A belief or conclusion held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof: “The world is not run by thought, nor by imagination, but by opinion” (Elizabeth Drew).

  10. As so often your work in collating all this information, and drawing the logical conclusions is impressive, Frank!

    Yes, it is a dirty campaign, and Donghua Liu appears to be cooperating with National Party operators, possibly ones also in regular contact with their Nat Party command givers, if not Key himself, certain people around and close to him.

    This is part of that “top drawer” he referred to in an earlier interview, and he did then mention as a warning, that he had ample “information” on Labour MPs, that would not be in their interest to be made public.

    It shows what kind of PM we have, leading the government, and who goes out selling the interests of everyday New Zealanders, when going on his boot licking missions to Washington and some other places.

    There will be the other ones, like certain right wing bloggers, involved, and this will not be the end, what we saw last week and weekend.

    Yes, we need a new party funding system, that at least puts more tight controls on donations from wealthy persons, and from big and not so big business players. Perhaps after all we should have the funding go through the taxpayer, so these self serving lobbyists are cut out.

    I agree that we need to tighten immigration criteria for the business migrants, and it was a concern to me, that not so long ago they abolished the requirement that migrants needed to be fluent in English. That is just a small aspect, but there must be other checks and requirements, that must be rigorously enforced.

    Donations from new business migrants should perhaps be disallowed full stop, for at least a period of 5 years after residency and possibly also citizenship is granted. That could stop some possible attempted “influencing”.

    Ministers should also be stopped from making any recommendations on immigration cases, where they had personal involvement of whatever type with the applicant for residency. They should perhaps only be relying on advocates and witness accounts, and what paper evidence may show.

    Otherwise, I think the law is already fairly clear and tight, it just needs to be enforced.

    I think Labour have in the past, when in government, been exposed to their ministers making some wrong or ill advised decisions, same as National and their ministers, and it is perhaps for Labour a good opportunity to show they are drawing a clear line with their past, and now could stand for what I just suggested, to change the law accordingly, to avoid such sagas and conflicts of interest.

    As for Judith Collins, I wish we would get more information on her dealings, and that she can be held to account, as she has been let off too lightly by the PM. She should not be a minister anymore, after what we have learned already.

    In all these events, the media have shown how unprofessional and superficial they are, they do not bother analysing stuff, and go for every top headline story, on the slightest bit of suspicion and smell of a “scandal”, even when there is totally insufficient evidence. New Zealand media is gradually reaching gutter status, that is in some corners at least. I thought that place was reserved for one Cam Slater.

    • Ministers should also be stopped from making any recommendations on immigration cases, where they had personal involvement of whatever type with the applicant for residency. They should perhaps only be relying on advocates and witness accounts, and what paper evidence may show.

      Ah. I knew there was an extra point I wanted to make. Thank you for reminding me, Marc.

  11. It’s probably time to look at what is okay and what is not where political donations go and coming from foreigners who have no right to vote, for my money, has to cease. In fact, I would go so far as to say, that the only people that should be entitled to donate are registered, legitimate voters. We are leaving ourselves wide open to far too much corruption from cultures for whom this is normal

  12. Wow, makes the media in this country look like partisan blind cowards. It is truly incredible no MSM reporter has revealed the truth about the Natz dirty tricks team. Cowards, gutless cowards.
    Well done The Daily Blog.

  13. Excellent work. This column will be referred to again and again as the story unfolds. As will for different reasons, John Armstrongs “Cunliffe must resign” column.

    10 years on the HollowMen are still at it.

  14. What is most revealing is that New Zealand has a prime minister has taken up the role of passing on gossip and rumours to the public.

  15. ALL THE PROGRESSIVES – reading this and other posts, while you are so right, the wider public does NOT read this, does NOT even know about all this, and Labour and others are again FAILING ABYSMALLY to communicate their messages, it does NOT reach the voters!

    You have to rethink, reorganise and send messages out not just to the converted, but to the wider public, and without the so totally BIASED mainstream media (MSM), you will not get there easily.

    It is time to rethink and develop a working strategy, as the poll just out on TV3 just proves again, the brainwashed, misinformed public follow the “winners”, Key and Nats, like loyal NZ sheep do follow the head ram, they do so, because they know no better (lack of true information!).

    What a bloody mess, and the smear campaign referred to here has sadly worked, done damage, no matter it was based on lies and on misinformation.

    New Zealand is NOT a democracy, due to lack of INFORMED voters and thus democrats. You may as well establish a proper dictatorship, as the privately owned and controlled, corporate media already make sure this place is run like a dictatorship!

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