Cunliffe on Key’s Cash for Access problem

Mr Key has been forced to confirm a National Party fundraising dinner at which he met Mr Liu was held at the businessman’s home.

Last year Mr Key was quick to spread rumours that Mr Liu had been a big donor to the Labour Party, even though there was no evidence he had given any money to the Opposition.

That came after Maurice Williamson was forced to resign as a minister when it was revealed he had called police after Mr Liu had been arrested on domestic violence charges.

After the Prime Minister visited Mr Liu’s home the businessman donated $25,000 to Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross’s 2014 election campaign.

The Labour Party MP and former leader David Cunliffe said Labour was hurt by last year’s allegations of its links to Mr Liu, and he was not impressed with the latest revelations about Mr Key’s links.

“I think it’s been a very disappointing issue. Disappointing firstly that the National Party was clearly telling porkies while they were on the take and secondly that media swallowed it uncritically,” Mr Cunliffe said.

Key responded:

“Actually as it turns out it’s not a fundraising dinner because the money was given back…No one asked that question (whether the dinner was at Mr Liu’s house)…We go to lots of different homes, we go to lots of different places.

“It’s not relevant. I mean in the end we’ve either gone to a fundraising dinner or we haven’t,” he said.

Mr Key said while he attended National Party fundraising events, including dinners, he had no knowledge of what money was raised.

But Labour Party leader Andrew Little said Mr Key’s answers on the matter were not convincing.

“Last year it wasn’t a Cabinet Club. Now we seem to think it was a Cabinet Club and then perhaps it wasn’t a Cabinet Club. It was in somebody’s home.

“It just goes to the way, I think, John Key deals with issues like this. It’s minimal information, minimal fronting up until other information comes out and then he opens up and we get a bit more of the truth. It’s not a very satisfactory way for our Prime Minister to operate.”

Mr Little said it looked like Mr Ross only returned the $25,000 donation from Mr Liu once National became embarrassed by its links to the businessman.

It was not a fundraiser because 13 months later they gave the money back?

So, if I take out a loan, it never was a loan once I pay the money back? ? Am I getting this logic right?

When you think about it, Key and Ross were having dinner and other meetings with Liu around the time all that information about Liu and the Labour Party came out.

I’m speculating, but Liu was brassed off with the Labour Party for stiffing him, so he used National to get some dirty laundry out. ? Including photos of the bottle of wine and certain Labour people being at functions that they couldn’t clearly recall.

And then National gets a $25k donation after Key has dinner with Liu’s family and friends at Liu’s home.

All seems good so far. ? Until it’s time for the National Party to declare the $25k. ? Panic ensues. ?Distance must be created. ? It wasn’t Key, it was Jami-Lee Ross who was the point man, and the donation was for his campaign, not for National, and certainly not to pay for John Key to come to dinner.

Heaven forbid.

And then, Ross held onto it but never found a reason to spend it. ?Because the National Party covered his election expenses instead. ?This allows Ross to refund the unused donation. ?Because even though there is no history of anyone ever given money back to donors, Ross is the kind of guy that thinks it is smart to 1) declare the donation and 2) pay it back.

Seriously, what’s not to believe?

Or perhaps the whole thing seems completely convoluted, strained and unbelievable because it’s trying to hide what really happened and the true reasons?

Naaah, I’m stirring again, surely.


– Brent Edwards, RNZ