A wealthy Auckland businessman, whose links to the National Party led to a minister’s resignation, also made a secret $15,000 donation to the Labour Party – and hosted a Cabinet minister at a lavish dinner in China.
The Labour Party has previously accused the Government of “cash for access” deals with Donghua Liu, who received citizenship after lobbying from National minister Maurice Williamson and whose hotel was later opened by Prime Minister John Key.
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.
The source said Liu also hosted Rick Barker, the then Internal Affairs Minister, at a dinner in his hometown of Chongqing.
Mr Barker, who is now a regional councillor in Hawkes Bay, confirmed he was a guest at the dinner and also visited Liu’s cement company while on holiday in China
But he said he was not aware Liu was a Labour donor and he was not in China on official business as a minister. . .
Political donations made at fundraising auctions or dinners are not recorded individually, but the total amount raised is declared. . . .
Kiwiblog corrects that last statement:
. . . If a donation at an auction or dinner is larger than the disclosure threshold it must be declared with the identity of the individual who made it.
The disclosure limit in 2007 was $10,000. Liu donated $15,000 to Labour. The party should have declared him as a donor. . .
This is yet another Labour failure to abide by the disclosure rules.
There is another interesting aspect to this story – it comes from a party source.
That points to instability and unhappiness in the party’s ranks and raises some questions:
Who knew about the donation then who is in caucus now or still active in the party?
Why didn’t s/he/they warn the MPs attacking National over Liu that they were throwing stones from a glass house?
What has prompted the source of the story to talk now and what else does s/he know that the public ought to know too?